Close to 150 students in their final year of high school at Ibn Ghaldoun, an Islamic school in Rotterdam, will have to redo exams this week after thieves stole copies of the national tests for 24 courses, in what has been called the “largest exam fraud ever” in the Netherlands, the local media reported.
The Dutch Inspectorate of Education said last week that all exam results for these courses were invalid. As of last Friday, the police had arrested four suspects, of which three were students at the school. One teacher was suspended from the school after it was discovered that his 18-year-old son was one of the suspects. The Public Prosecution Service said that the suspects sold copies of the tests to students from other schools around the country.
The fraud was first detected in late May with the discovery of a French-language test that was posted online. The deputy minister for education, Sander Dekker, said that students who admitted to cheating by last Friday could redo the exam, although they would not be automatically exempt from prosecution. Those who did not come forward risked losing their diplomas.
Survey finds shaky grasp of definition of plagiarism
More than half of European university students do not have a good grasp of what plagiarism is, according to a study led by Coventry University in Britain.
Almost 90 percent of surveyed students correctly identified a work as being plagiarism if 40 percent of the text had been copied word-for-word from another source without quotations. However, when asked if this was still the case if “some words” were changed — but still without quotes or attribution — only 54.3 percent accurately noted that it was plagiarism.
The study found that 31.7 percent of students believed they had either accidentally or deliberately plagiarized. Lithuania had the highest percentage, with 65 percent of students saying they had plagiarized. Germany had the lowest, with 10 percent.
“The ease of cut and paste from the Internet was the most selected reason overall for plagiarism at all levels, but the Internet also provides the means to detect matches in text and therefore to detect plagiarism,” Irene Glendinning, principal investigator of the study and an academic manager at Coventry University’s Faculty of Engineering and Computing, said by e-mail.
The report, part of the Impact of Policies for Plagiarism in Higher Education Across Europe project, surveyed 3,500 students. It was released last week at Mendel University in the Czech Republic. — CALVIN YANG
Hong Kong and Singapore top Asian university ranking
For the third year in a row, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology has taken the top spot in the QS ranking of Asian universities, released last week. National University of Singapore and the University of Hong Kong tied for second place, with Seoul National University coming in fourth and Peking University in fifth.
Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, commonly known as Kaist; Pohang University of Science and Technology, another Korean institution commonly known as Postech; Chinese University of Hong Kong; University of Tokyo; Kyoto University; and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore rounded out the top 11. (Two schools tied for the No. 10 spot).
QS’s managing director, Nunzio Quacquarelli, said in a statement that Asian universities had made significant progress and could overtake top U.S. and European institutions in two decades. — CALVIN YANG
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