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Cheating Uncovered at Kapiolani Community College

HONOLULU ― Kapiolani Community College has made changes to its radiologic technology program after officials discovered students were cheating on exams.

The Rad Tech program made changes after finding out that some students took advantage of an email message that included a photo of the multiple-choice test and answers, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Tuesday.

Measures include revising or replacing exams, locking student belongings in a separate room during exams and not allowing students to review answers after exams are completed, Program Acting Director Kimberly Suwa said.

The newspaper said it learned of the cheating from a former student who filed an academic grievance in June, claiming her grade suffered because she opted not to cheat.

The school found any cheating would elevate other students’ grades but not lower hers, because students are graded on a point system.

But the materials she submitted about cheating were taken seriously.

“The committee finds that the evidence of cheating in the fall 2012 course appears pervasive and substantial,” Academic Grievance Chairwoman Susan Jaworowski concluded in a memo dated Nov. 21.

“The committee is concerned that an atmosphere in which a substantial number of students blatantly cheat creates a chilling effect on all students aware of that cheating, including the grievant, and casts a shadow on the program and the college.”

The two-year program accepts 16 students out of 70 applicants each year, Suwa said. The program allows participants to earn Associate in Science degrees and take a national certification exam to work as radiologic technologists who position patients and take X-rays.

Administrators noticed an upward shift in test scores after students began receiving email messages from “Jane Doe” offering answers and warnings for students to keep quiet and “slightly diminish” scores, so as to not raise suspicion with perfect scores.

“Yes, emails can be sent to a whole bunch of people, but it’s what the recipient does that matters,” Suwa said. “There is no way to absolutely prove whether they used it or not. I’m not about to go headhunting or witch hunting. I’m very reluctant to point fingers at anyone without proof.”

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