Chi­nese stu­dents in Iowa ac­cused of cheat­ing

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS AMERICAS - By HEZI JIANG in New York hez­i­jiang@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

More than 30 Chi­nese stu­dents at the Univer­sity of Iowa have been ac­cused of cheat­ing on an on­line exam and could face ex­pul­sion.

The rev­e­la­tions came af­ter Proc­torU, a na­tional proc­tor­ing service that pro­vides iden­tity ver­i­fi­ca­tion for the univer­sity’s on­line cour­ses, alerted the school that at least 30 stu­dents en­rolled in on­line cour­ses may have at­tempted to cheat by hav­ing oth­ers take their ex­ams.

The cases were dis­cov­ered through dis­crep­an­cies in IDs pro­vided by the test-takers in one or more ex­ams, and in some cases, in mul­ti­ple cour­ses, univer­sity spokes­woman Je­neane Beck wrote in an e-mail to China Daily.

The univer­sity did not iden­tify the stu­dents as Chi­nese, but var­i­ous China-based media did.

“The univer­sity takes the is­sue very se­ri­ously and is re­view­ing the mat­ter care­fully. If it is de­ter­mined a stu­dent has cheated, the univer­sity will take ap­pro­pri­ate dis­ci­plinary ac­tion, which may in­clude ex­pul­sion or sus­pen­sion,” Beck wrote.

The topic has be­come a hot one on in­ter­net plat­forms, in­clud­ing Zhihu — China’s equiv­a­lent of Quora.

“As an in­ter­na­tional stu­dent who con­sis­tently re­ceives e-mail ads from exam im­posters and home­work ghost-writ­ers, I’m so glad the school is tak­ing ac­tion,” said Li Xun.

“Good Job, Univer­sity of Iowa,” said a user, who said he was an un­der­grad­u­ate stu­dent at the univer­sity and wanted to re­main anonymous be­cause some of his friends were in­volved in the cheat­ing.

“Some cheat­ing op­er­a­tions were un­be­liev­able,” the stu­dent said. “They put the ads on poster boards, in cafe­te­rias and even out­side the in­ter­na­tional stu­dent of­fice.”

The univer­sity has wel­comed in­ter­na­tional stu­dents in the past few years, and a ma­jor­ity of them are from China. In a CNN re­port last year, the reporter de­scribed Iowa City as “a town where bub­ble tea shops out­num­ber Star­bucks”.

“State fund­ing is go­ing out the door,” said Sarah Gar­dial, dean of the Iowa Busi­ness School, where an in-state un­der­grad­u­ate stu­dent pays $9,519 for an aca­demic year while an in­ter­na­tional stu­dent pays $29,659.

“The fund­ing model ac­tu­ally en­cour­ages us to take a higher per­cent­age (of in­ter­na­tional stu­dents). That’s why we started down that path.”

More than 2,500 Chi­nese stu­dents were en­rolled at the univer­sity in fall 2015, and more than 2,000 are pur­su­ing un­der­grad­u­ate de­grees.

Chi­nese stu­dents pay an es­ti­mated $70 mil­lion a year in tu­ition to the Univer­sity of Iowa and pump an es­ti­mated $100 mil­lion into the lo­cal econ­omy, said the CNN re­port.

Some ar­gue such door-open­ing low­ered the qual­i­fi­ca­tions of stu­dents, many of whom do not have the lan­guage skills needed in class and seek short­cuts to good grades.

The Univer­sity of Iowa Chi­nese Stu­dents and Schol­ars As­so­ci­a­tion is­sued a state­ment ask­ing the pub­lic not to “la­bel all Chi­nese in­ter­na­tional stu­dents with pla­gia­risms”.

“Most of us worked very hard in this for­eign coun­try that’s thou­sands of miles from home... only we know how many all-nighters we have pulled,” wrote the group.

The univer­sity takes the is­sue very se­ri­ously and is re­view­ing the mat­ter care­fully.”

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