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It's hard to know the difference between right and wrong sometimes, especially when you're taking a law school exam.
But using invisible ink to cheat? That's just wrong. And how do you even do that? Talk about blurring the line between the answers...
According to authorities in England, cheating has become a serious problem in higher education. One law student smuggled notes into an exam by writing them on her textbook in invisible ink. Then she used a tiny black light on her pen to see them during the test.
"Is it just a minor thing? No, it is a serious problem," Lord Mike Storey told a parliamentary committee. "What about the number who are not caught?"
Oldest Trick in the Book
Sneaking notes into an exam is old school, but students today are using "cheat tech." As a result, proctors are scrutinizing computers, cell phones, and even hearing aids to make sure no one gets away with it.
Across the pond, American examiners have cut off a short-cut built into Apple laptops. The Macbook "Touch Bar" has a predictive text function, which test-takers could use to supplement their answers. State bars have banned it in California, New York and Colorado, and other states will likely follow.
England, meanwhile, is looking at other problems. The biggest threat is called "contract cheating," which involves students paying others to write their essays.
According to the parliamentary inquiry, students can pay as little as $20 for a 3,000-word essay and as much as $8,700 for a 100,000-word dissertation. In addition to academic discipline for such cheaters, authorities are considering criminal sanctions.
Get Back What You Put In
In one episode of poetic justice, a British student complained to a consumer watch-dog agency that he was cheated by someone he paid to write an essay for him.
"I decided to buy a legal essay from an online essay-writing service called Law Essays Help," he wrote in his complaint. "I paid around £200 for something I was promised would be the standard of a 2:1 degree, but I was sent an appalling essay which I do not believe could have been written by an English speaker - and someone who appeared not to have a law degree."
To cheat is always wrong, right? Sometimes there is a clear line between right and wrong.
You can't justify cheating either, like trying to salvage an expensive investment in your education. Even Dostoyevsky could not rationalize Roskolnikov's crime to stay in law school.