Eighteen midshipmen resigned or were expelled from the United States Naval Academy after an investigation found students cheated on a final physics exam last year, the academy said.
Of the more than 650 midshipmen who took the online exam for a general physics course on December 20, 105 were investigated for appearing to have used “unauthorized resources,” said the Naval Academy in a press release. declaration Friday.
Last week, 18 of those aspirants had either been expelled or resigned, and 82 had been placed in a “five-month honorary catch-up program”. Four had not violated the academy’s honor principles and one was still awaiting trial.
“Character development is an ongoing process, and aspirants must make the choice to live honorably each day and earn the confidence that comes with a commission in the Navy or the Marine Corps,” said Vice Admiral Sean Buck, superintendent of the academy, in the statement. “This incident demonstrates that we need to put more emphasis on character and integrity within the whole brigade. “
Students of the Naval Academy attend the institution, in Annapolis, Md., On full scholarships and are expected to serve five years of active service after graduation. The physics test administered in December was mostly taken by sophomores. Those who cheated were mostly men, and a majority were college athletes.
The academy had to be flexible on how the exam was administered due to Covid-19 restrictions, the academy said.
Measures had been put in place to prevent cheating on the test: students were asked to hand in scrap paper showing their work and were given “written and verbal instructions that they could not use outside sources to complete the test. ‘review, including other websites, “according to the statement, which did not name the students who were found to have cheated.
The superintendent called for an investigation after the administration was alerted to possible violations, in part through “post-exam discussions of aspirants on an anonymous chat platform,” the statement said.
“The investigation team reviewed the website browsing history during the review period for all aspirants who took the exam,” he added. “The investigation team determined that the violation of the examination rules was mainly committed by people visiting websites independently and without any coordinated effort.”
In an email Monday, Cmdr. Academy spokesperson Alana Garas wrote: “Before Covid, the majority of exams administered were on paper, with the professor overseeing the entire section in one room. . Social distancing measures during Covid in the 2020-2021 academic year required a six-foot distance between students and limited the number of students in a room, so classes were spread over multiple rooms. “
The academy said in its statement that it “now strongly advises instructors to use in-person, paper-based exams.”
“In addition,” the statement continued, “when an electronic device is required for an exam, either a browser security program must be enabled for all online exams or a proctor must be able to view each applicant’s screen. throughout the review “.
The physics test at the Naval Academy was administered around the same time that the United States Military Academy in West Point, NY, was facing its worst college scandal in decades, after dozens of cadets y admitted to cheating during a May 2020 calculus exam, which they had taken at a distance due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In 1994, an investigation at the Naval Academy involved around 125 midshipmen in a scheme that involved having prior knowledge of answers to an engineering exam. John H. Dalton, then Secretary of the Navy, ordered the expulsion of 24 of them.