Reports from the Honor Committee are always worth reading. Here (pdf) is the latest, from 2013 — 2014 academic year. Comments:

1) The last two years have featured 34 and 30 cases. That is about double the average of the proceeding decade. Are Williams students cheating more or is the College more diligent in catching them?

2) The Committee deserves praise for being so transparent in telling us what happened and why. Example report:

A sophomore was found to have violated the Honor Code by using the answers of another student to complete her work on a take-home exam in Chemistry, and also by submitting an incorrect time log on the exam. The sanction was failure in the course with disciplinary probation until graduation.

Transparency is wonderful, because it both discourages future cheating and helps build community consensus about unacceptable behavior and the appropriate punishments therefrom.

3) But even more transparency would be better. In some reports (as above) they make clear the gender of the student. That is good! If cheating is more male than female (or vice versa) then we have a better idea about where to devote our educational efforts. Another location for increased transparency is reports like this one:


Seems obvious to me that these students had more in common than this class. Isn’t it highly likely that they were on the same sports team? As always, we don’t need to know the names of the students and we don’t want so much information that they are identifiable. But we need more data if we are to reducing cheating. If lots of cheating seems connected to team membership, then we ought to know that fact. Similarly, if international students are more likely to be charged — perhaps because foreign high schools have different standards — we need to know that as well.

What is your favorite case from 2013 — 2014?

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