The Epitaph

AP statistics classes under investigation

By Gianella Ordoñez

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Over the past two weeks, an ongoing investigation of two AP Statistics classes has been occurring, regarding an incident where students were caught cheating on an exam.

AP statistics teacher Angie Esswein declined an interview on the situation but did comment on her initial reaction.

“Cheating on a test can feel like betrayal to a teacher after one works hard to write fair and accurate assessments and teaches the material that is covered on the test,” Esswein said.

After one student took a picture of a ¨cheat sheet¨ they created with answers to the test, it was sent to a group of students on various social media platforms, who then proceeded to continue to spread the image. Some students used the cheat sheet to prepare for the exam, while others chose to ignore it.

Word eventually got out to administration, which has identified all the students who were involved and given out consequences to these students, AP statistics students Sidney Cheung and Sylvie Xu said.  

Dean Steven Puccinelli said that with cases like these, the administration usually looks at whether it is their first offense. Then it is his job to talk to the student about academic integrity and what consequences they will be facing.

For first offense students, the consequences vary from a zero on the assignment or test to a student’s semester grade being lowered a full letter grade, or even suspension from school depending on the extent of the violation, according to the FUHSD Academic Honesty Policy.

In situations like this one, all students who were involved in any way were ultimately found at fault and given certain consequences depending on the extent of their involvement, Puccinelli said.

Xu was sent the photo by a classmate in a group chat, but denies using it for the test.

¨We all try really hard for this class … and the fact remains we did not cheat and they did not believe us,¨ Xu said.

Puccinelli gave more insight on integrity and how it has to be upheld from multiple perspectives which makes it difficult to trust what the student says.

¨Even if a student denies it … the integrity of the test is compromised [we] cannot trust that this is your information,¨ Puccinelli said.

Xu will be facing consequences regardless because she came into contact with the photo and for the fact that she knew about the situation but failed to report it, Xu said. This is in line with the protocol that Puccinelli described.

Puccinelli said when a student has knowledge of a violation of academic integrity they should report it because then they will also be found at fault.

Xu’s grade will be lowered a whole letter grade. Sbe believes the consequences are unfair and alternatives should have been put in place for those who did not cheat.

“We offered alternatives…we [were] willing to take the test [again],”Xu said.  

Puccinelli said that the only person can truly know what happened is the student themselves and he described the meaning of academic integrity.

¨Integrity is about being able to look at yourself and know in your own heart if you’re doing right or wrong,¨ Puccinelli said.

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About the Writer
Gianella Ordoñez, Senior Opinion Editor

Gianella is a second-year staffer and one of The Epitaph's Senior Opinion Editors. Her passions are music, photography, writing and sports. On her free...


4 Responses to “AP statistics classes under investigation”

  1. Anonymous on December 4th, 2017 8:52 pm

    Wow, quite amazed at the prevalence of this incident. Considering how many were implicated, I wonder if this behavior extends further than one small Stats test.

  2. Aaron Fukuoka on December 5th, 2017 12:08 am

    Though I am an AP Statistics student, allow me to clarify that I had no affiliation with the recent scandals. Perhaps other students shared my experiences: we were unreasonably suspected of a crime we were unaware of. As a party indirectly affected by the foolish actions of a student, I believe that all of the Statistics students were been entitled to a detailed synopsis of the case. Had we been better informed beyond “A student cheated on the exam”, us students could have assisted in solving this. All in all, given the length of time it took to resolve this issue and the measures taken, I would go as far to say that this matter was handled in an unprofessional manner highly unfitting for Homestead High School.

  3. Anonymous on December 5th, 2017 8:55 pm

    I think this article of other people perspectives on how students academics can be looked at by accusing them of cheating in a certain way is wrong.

    If you want to peruse your academic goal and move on to do better things in the future. Well I wouldn’t say cheating is the only option. Just graduate and win at any cost.

  4. Toby Key on February 27th, 2018 8:38 pm

    “I don’t know if Charlie’s silence here today is right or wrong; I’m not a judge or jury. But I can tell you this: he won’t sell anybody out to buy his future!” – Lt. Col. F. Slade, Scent of a Woman (Film, 1992)

    While this comment is very late, it is quite obvious that after the first word was leaked to administration, everybody was more than eager to save themselves rather than preserve their integrity. There are rumors that the first student to report the incident left the office with their grades and record unscathed, as the others involved were brought in for inquisition and were punished accordingly. While administration believes reporting these incidents is a display of integrity, selling out your own classmates in an incident such as this, especially for a reward or reprieve, shows one’s true lack of integrity. What kind of integrity is implicated by selfishly giving up your acquaintances and friends? While it is still necessary to report incidents that could endanger students, something like this cheating incident only shows the disgusting self-preserving side of human nature. Administration would have found out in all due time, and the perpetrator would have been punished accordingly, but compelling students to protect themselves by tearing down their classmates does not show integrity. The only result is the students giving up their fundamental honor that binds them together as a civilized people. This isn’t to say the test scores shouldn’t have been canceled, but encouraging such dishonorable behavior does not build integrity, it destroys it.

    The film referenced above is a compelling story with a compelling message: Those who give up others for their own benefit only lose their integrity as humans, but those who stand by their comrades preserve it.

    It is certainly unfitting to promote a loss of integrity, and even less so to reward it.

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