You see a student next to you cheating at an exam.

Vous voyez un étudiant à côté de vous tricher à un examen.

that will be his problem later on. I wouldn't do anything, but I wouldn't trust the student as much as I'd usually do

Cheating is one of those things where the person cheating does more damage to himself than anyone else. I would tell the professor after the exam about the incident.

I approach the professor after class and tell them about it.

I confront the student after the exam and ask them not to do it again.

I do nothing about it and hope that the authorities have a way to detect it because it's unfair to the students who studied.

I don't think I would do anything...I would definitely not call him out at the exam. I think ultimately it will come back on its own - he won't know the material in the future.

I honestly don't know. The right thing to do is sometimes the hardest thing to do.

I let him be. Although it is not okay, he or she only harms himself by not mastering the material.

I likely wouldn't do anything.

I will not do anything.

I would inform the professor.

I would not worry about it. There are more important things to care about in life.

I would probably ask a friend for advice, then maybe talk to the teaching assistant.

I would tell my professor after the exam what I witnessed.

I would tell the professor.

I would think that it is wrong to cheat. I would probably ignore seeing the person, though, and just focus on my exam.

I would think that person is really stupid and hope the professor caught them. Or maybe tell the professor.

I wouldn't complain to the teacher. Instead, I would talk to the student after class and advise him that cheating will not help him in any way.

Perhaps mention it to the teacher at the end of the exam, but perhaps just ignore it.

probably nothing but hope that still do bad or get caught

Tell the teacher after the exam is over.

Attention Mr, vous risquez d'être rattrapé hors de classe

C'est n'est pas mon problème s'il ne mérite pas son diplôme!

C'est son problème. Il en subira les conséquences.

ce n'est pas mon affaire! c'est lui le perdant dans l'histoire! quoi que c'est énervant de comparer les efforts et les résultats après

Ce n'est pas mon problème.

Cela m'énerve et j'aurais envie de le dénoncer mais je ne le ferais pas

Je continuerais d'écrire, peut-être qu'il se fera prendre.

je garde le silence

je l'ignore

Je le laisse faire, ce ne sont pas mes oignons. Après tout il est conscient de ce qu'il fait et responsable de son avenir.

Je le laisse faire.

Je lui dirais que si je vois ça encore une fois, il va devoir arrêter.

je ne fais rien, c'est son problème si il est lâche.

Je ne fais rien.

je ne ferais rien

Je ne le dénonce pas, sauf si c'est un concours avec des places limitées.

Je ne le dénoncerai pas.

plusieurs hypothèses:si c'est une amie, j'aurais tendance à mettre ma feuille en évidence, sinon, je me décale un peu et continue mon examen

si je suis étudiant, ce n'est pas mon problème, si je surveille, j'interviens

si je suis étudiante aussi, je ne fais rien, c'est son problème
si je suis prof; je lui demande d'arrêter


I thought the contrast here was surprising--especially that none of the French students would tell the professor. Is this a result of the differences in the relationships students have with their professors in the U.S. and France?  Here, there is generally more of a personal relationship and individual attention, especially as you go along in your education and there are fewer students in the classes. Also,  in engineering disciplines,  many of the exams are graded on a curve in relation to the other students, so people here are worried about one person inflating their grade because it hurts everyone else.

How are grades awarded in France--relative to the others, or on an absolute scale?

As Christy said, it is very interesting that none of the French would tell the professor. They argued that it wasn't their business (ce ne sont pas mes oignons), but isn't that a rather individualistic way of thinking about things?

Again, as Christy said, most classes are curved: someone who is cheating is just dragging the curve up, and damaging everyone in the class. Even if it wasn't graded, he or she would have an unfair advantage over other people, and, let's face it, the idea that "you'll pay for that later", is not very reassuring. Not only because of the fact that grades DO matter when you're in a competitive environment, but also because those who get better grades by cheating can always figure out the things that they don't know without the pressure of a test.


I have the same question to the French students: how are the classes graded? Maybe if their general view is that the grades are absolute the result of only one student shoudn't matter at all for their own grades. Here at MIT, I believe most classes are curved so if a person cheats, everyone else in the class who worked very hard to understand and learn the material will be at a disadvantage. 

I would love to hear the opinion of the French students about this, but I believe that the fact that they would not tell is not related to the fact that they are more individualistic. Based on the previous forum, I think this may be related to the relationship between the professor and the students. As we’ve seen, for the French there is a considerable distance between the professor and the students and that may cause the students to feel very intimidated to approach the professor to discuss cheating.

Besides, there is also the question that cheating is disrespecful to the professor and all the other students in the class. I believe there was also a lot of discussion about respect in the previous forum.

I was also surprised to see that none of the French students would tell the professor!

A similar explanation to Clarissa's came to mind for me as well: perhaps the relationship between the professor and the students (which is, I believe, influenced heavily by the higher regard French people have for teaching as a profession) results in this intimidation that discourages reporting cheaters. French students, am I correct in thinking this?

I agree that it is not right and that it is an unfair advantage. Also, I find that reactions would be very different for some people if the student cheating was their friend, seeing as only one person on each side mentioned what they would do if that were the case. Maybe the French decide not to tell to avoid confrontation?

Je ne suis pas certaine d'avoir bien compris le système de notation "par classe" américain...en France les notes à un examen sont individuelles, donc, si certains trichent cela n'a pas vraiment de conséquence sur les autres, sauf effectivement pour un concours où les places sont sélectionnées.

En France, c'est mal vu de "rapporter", c'est à dire "dire ce que les autres élèves ont fait de mal au professeur

"J'aime pas les rapporteurs", c'est ce que disent les maîtresses d'école eux-mêmes, c'est inculqué très tôt comme quelque chose de négatif. Pour un français, ça s'apparente à "dénoncer" quelqu'un...presque aussi fort qu'une sorte de trahison envers ses camarades de classe, envers donc l'un des siens, face au professeur qui représente l'autorité, mais aussi la sanction. Celui qui "balance" peut être aussi considéré comme un "lèche-bottes" par les autres, et mal vu du groupe.

That's interesting, Flo. So people would consider treason to be a snitch, but won't consider treason working for one's benefit only?

Moi ce qui m'a surprise dans les réponses, c'est de voir que du côté français, on a deux points de vue différents : en tant qu'étudiant et en tant qu'enseignant. En lisant l'énoncé, je n'avais pas pensé une seule seconde qu'on pouvait se mettre à la place de l'enseignant. Cela vient du fait que c'est le métier auquel nous nous destinons et que certains sont déjà professeurs de français.

Pour répondre à vos questions, je pense que ce n'est pas tant la relation professeur/étudiants qui pose problème ici. Si nous n'intervenons pas, c'est surtout vis à vis de nos collègues étudiants. Comme l'a dit flo, c'est comme une trahison de dénoncer un pair, et ce serait risquer d'avoir de mauvaises relations avec les étudiants de la classe par la suite.

Flo, to answer your question: For MIT students and students at many other universities, the classes are often "curved" where professors determine grades after calculating the average and standard deviation. This means that an A is not necessarily in the 90~100 range (for example), and instead, an A can even be an 80%. Calculating it this way helps make the exam more fair. Therefore, a student cheating would "mess up the curve". However, I think so far, our discussion has mostly been about a student cheating by using notes or something. The student wouldn't necesarily mess up the curve by making the average higher if he/she cheated by looking at someone else's test. I think that in this case, the student should tell the professor and remain anonymous because the professor also needs to know.

Caroline, that is very interesting. At least here at MIT, I don’t think people would care as much about not having a good relationship with other students. In this case, I think it might be quite the opposite. If you don’t report the cheating, everyone in the class is suffering because of the way our grading system is set up. So, in a way, it’s treason to just let it go. I would be pretty upset if someone saw someone else cheating and did absolutely nothing. It just seems pretty unfair to me.

I think a lot of this depends on the person that's cheating though (and the type as Raina brought up). Maybe it's just me and what I've encountered, but I've found that the people who cheat probably have little to no knowledge of what's on the test therefore their grade will reflect that. My immediate thought isn't "Oh he's going to mess up the curve" but rather "Oh he didn't prepare, sucks to be him."

It isn't messing up the grading curve that bothers me. I find it more annoying that I had to put in a lot of hard work to get a grade in a class and a cheater is getting the same reward without any of the effort.


I think the competitiveness of our lives and school in a general is a big factor in determining our responses. I know that cheating was a lot more acceptable at my high school, where it was not a competitive environment at all, than it is here.


Even in classes where grades weren't curved, though, cheating still has a negative consequence: it improperly rewards the cheater for work s/he did not do. That alone is probably frustrating enough. The worry that s/he will "mess up the curve" just makes it worse!

Kieran: I, too, came from a high school where cheating was much more acceptable (probably a result of the environment not being very competitive, but also just a general lack of caring on the teachers' part), so I agree that it is likely an important factor. It infuriated me to see nearby students using cheat-sheets when I had to stay up very late into the night studying the same information they had reduced to a 3" x 5" notecard.

I see the French say that, yes, denouncing others mmay be regarded as treason. However, I want to know, do you personally think it is treason. If not, then what benefit do you think there is by remaining quiet instead of telling on the student (even anonymously, as raina mentioned)?

@Sebastian. Je ne pense pas que ce soit de la trahison mais plutôt de la dénonciation. Et depuis tout jeune on nous apprend que la dénonciation est mal, c'est pourquoi nous n'irions rien dire au professeur.

Tu demandes aussi pourquoi nous n'irions pas dire à l'élève qu'il ne doit plus tricher, je te répondrais que la réussite dans les études est quelque chose de très personnelle. Même si la triche est très injuste par rapport à ceux qui ont beaucoup travaillé pour réussir, nous pensons que celui qui triche le paiera à un moment donné, c'est-à-dire qu'il n'ira pas loin dans les études.

This situation is very interesting to me; in class, we had a lively discussion about the difference between someone cutting in line and someone cheating on a test. In the former situation, the majority of French students said they would tell whoever cut in line that they should go to the end. In that case, the French students would have had no problem confronting the person. 

What makes that situation different from confronting a cheater or reporting them to the teacher? How is it any less your business what a classmate does than what a stranger does. 

Mme Levet explained to us the idea of "the cheater is the loser in the end because he will leave the class without learning the information;" it reminded me of the idea of karma, which is the idea that "what goes around comes around." Again I ask, how is this situation different than someone cutting in line? Couldn't you argue that they'll get what's coming to them in the end, a sort of justice?

To add to what Paula is asking: do you guys believe that the french society puts more expectations in how the individual should behave compared to other societies? Why is it so? The social expectations are incredibly complex, as compared to, for example, the American society.

Je vais peut être chercher une explication très très loin mais la France a un lourd passé de "collabo" (en rapport avec le régime de Vichy durant la Seconde guerre mondiale) et peut être qu'on peut trouver là l'idée du "on ne dénonce pas à l'autorité (ici le prof) ce que les autres font" (même si dans ce cas là ce qu'ils font n'est pas "juste".)

Dans ma famille on utilise souvent une expression (que mes camarades de Lyon m'ont déjà entendu dire!) lorsqu'une personne "rapporte" quelqu'un ou quelque chose: "et ben dis donc, en tant de guerre, il ne ferait pas bon te connaître"!

@Paula, par rapport à la file d'attente, je pense que la différence est que quand bien même le français protesterait, il n'irait sans doute pas dénoncer le coupable au guichetier. Il règlerait le problème ou ne dirait rien ou se plaindrait ouvertement mais il n'irait pas "rapporter" à une figure d'autorité.

@Adrian, ce que tu dis est très intéressant, pourrais tu expliquer ce que la société américaine? Pourquoi d'après toi, est ce que les attentes de celle-ci sont moins complexes?

Marine. I can understand what you are referring to. One thing I would like to comment on, however, is that basing morals on assumptions is just limiting yourself to a particular set of cases. Suppose that the person who is cheating is actually quite smart. He decides to cheat on a class that really doesn't matter to him, since he isn't going to focus his studies in that particular area anyway. He will (probably) manage to get his degree and continue with his professional career, but he cheated. For the way the French view denouncing others, it is an abuse of the system, and it is unfair. But having morals instructed since you are young and having everyone think alike seems like it could be possible to set up such an atmosphere of cammaraderie and 'trust' (hoping that the other person doesn't cheat, because you don't know until you see him, and if you see him you can't tell...).

@Paula, j'ai été dans la situation du tricheur et de la personne qui se fait râler dessus parce qu'elle ne s'est pas mise à la fin de la queue. Franchement, quand tu triches, tu sais que tu te nuis à toi-même (non, nous n'avons pas de système grading curve comme vous) même si ça peut te sauver sur le moment. Et quand tu ne respectes pas la file d'attente, on te fait comprendre que tu nuis à toutes les personnes qui sont derrière toi, ce qui n'est pas la même chose.