Mid-Year Cheating Scandal Causes Longterm Backlash 

AP Lang Students Required to Retake Multiple Choice Questions

Cheating+may+be++ubiquitousn+at+SHS.+We%E2%80%99ve+all+witnessed+it%2C+and+many+students+have+partaken+in+some+form.+However%2C+cheating+during+this+year%27s+AP+Lang+mid-year+exam+was+unprecedented

Cheating may be ubiquitousn at SHS. We’ve all witnessed it, and many students have partaken in some form. However, cheating during this year's AP Lang mid-year exam was unprecedented

Aidan Morley, Staff Writer

For most AP classes, the mid-year exam offers a chance to expose students to an abbreviated version of the College Board assessment they’ll be taking in May–a chance to learn strengths and weaknesses so AP teacher can create a curriculum best tailored to the students’ needs. 

Sadly, nearly half of the students currently taking AP Language and Composition are now suspected of cheating on this year’s mid-year exam. Students were able to do this by searching the questions after receiving the packet containing the multiple-choice section along with the rhetorical analysis (Q2) essay prompt, which the students were given before the mid-year exam week. AP Lang teachers were hoping to give students more time to complete the exam, so they gave the essay portion during a regular class period (prior to mid-year exam week). The multiple-choice section was to be completed during the mid-year exam period. In the past, students were challenged to complete both sections of the exam in 90 minutes during the exam week. 

Simply searching the year of the exam, students were able to find the questions as well as the answer key for the multiple-choice questions they would be answering in the mid-year a few days later. Remembering the answers might seem like a challenge, but this posed no problem to those nefarious students who simply created a song to memorize the correct responses. 

 Teachers were immediately alarmed when an unprecedented number of students scored exceptionally well on the traditionally low scoring multiple-choice section. In addition, over the course of the weekend following mid-year week, several AP Lang students reached out to their teachers regarding the cheating that had taken place. Several teachers also overheard students talking about cheating on the exam. In response, SHS administrators consulted with Superintendent Ron Griffin before sending a letter to students and parents regarding the situation. 

Unsupringsinly, teachers all around the school have expressed their disappointment: “The worst thing is no one has the moral compass to say something,” AP Statistics teacher Jamie Forde said during an interview, expressing his opinion and outrage. To deter students from cheating, Forde requires his students to sign the bottom of each test pledging that they neither received nor gave aid during the test. 

Going forward, it is unclear exactly what will result from this widespread cheating incident. An immediate impact was already felt across the school, as all AP Lang students were mandated to retake the multiple-choice section of the exam during H-Block on Thursday, January 30th, following mid-year week.

National Honor Society advisors Andrew Roberts and Sharon Mohr are currently in the process of determining what type of punishment is necessary for a scandal “unprecedented in school history,” as Roberts put it. Punishments could be as lenient as probation or as severe as barring certain students from joining NHS; however, this is unlikely. 

AP Lang teachers have conveyed remorse in making it possible for students to cheat on such a massive scale. “There was no way to see this coming,” according to English teacher Catherine Hall. Plans are already in the works to change the way mid-year exams are conducted in the future.

Interestingly, many students are blaming their teachers for the academic dishonesty committed by AP Lang students this year. 

Troubling, but perhaps not surprising–a cheating controversy so vast and intricate begs an important question: What can be done to maintain academic integrity at SHS?