Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

The Big Q Blog

Dangerous Curves

Francesca thinks about turning in her classmates for cheating.

Francesca is taking an introductory chemistry class this quarter with a bunch of people from her dorm. Knowing that chemistry is not her strongest subject, she studies regularly. Before the midterm, her friends from the dorm go out partying, but she stays up all night going over the material.

Francesca goes into the exam feeling somewhat confident. She knows the professor will grade on the curve, and she will probably do better than her dormmates, who have hardly cracked the book. During the exam the professor leaves the room temporarily. While he is gone, Francesca notices Nick, a guy from her dorm, sneakily pulling out his IPod and consulting a crib sheet he has downloaded. He then passes the IPod over to Chloe. Both of them notice her watching, and wink at her.

Should Francesca inform the professor of this cheating? Won't her dormmates suspect she was the "snitch"? She has to live with these people for the rest of the year.


Here are some resources you might find useful

A Framework for Ethical Decision Making

Cheating in College is Widespread - But Why?

What Does It Really Mean to Curve Grades?


Photo by Jixar available under Attribution- Non Commercial- No Derivs License.



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