20 Nov 2018

University of Otago investigating 'cheating'

8:16 pm on 20 November 2018

The University of Otago is trying to identify which third-year medical students allegedly cheated in an end-of-year exam.

No caption

Photo: 123rf

It said some students told others, yet to take their exams, some of the content.

The acting dean Barry Taylor said the university knows that cheating took place, but not who was involved.

"The Otago Medical School has identified that in one component of the end of third year examinations there has been communication between some students regarding the content of examination stations to students waiting for their turn to be examined.

"This was expressly forbidden as it provides an advantage to be forewarned of the exam content [or] task."

However, Professor Taylor said the nature of exams means students cannot quickly learn the content required to pass.

"The examination was the third year objective structured clinical examination. This involves students demonstrating a clinical skill such as taking a history from, or examining a patient presenting with headache symptoms. The purpose of the examination is to observe students' ability to actively engage and appropriately question and gather information from a patient."

The Otago University Medical Students' Association said it is disappointed with the actions of the students who cheated.

The student body said it does not condone dishonest behaviour or cheating in any way.

"While collaboration and communication between colleagues is a valued trait and is encouraged, this does not extend to the examination environment where we are assessed on an individual basis.

"We would like to reiterate that this behaviour was not representative of the class or medical students as a whole. Honesty and professionalism are values that medical students strive to uphold."

The University of Otago said students will be interviewed, and the medical school is still determining the consequences.