DENVER | Up to 78 Air Force Academy cadets cheated on an online calculus test by getting help during the exam from a website, the academy said Wednesday.
Most of the cadets took responsibility for their actions and have begun a six-month remediation program, a type of academic probation, said Lt. Col. John Bryan, an academy spokesman.
Bryan did not know how many cadets have been ordered to take the remediation program. Some are still awaiting their turn before an honor board.
If cadets deny cheating but the academy determines they did cheat, they could be expelled, he said.
“Are they going to make mistakes? You bet,” Bryan said. “But we expect them to own up to it.”
The Cadet Honor Code states, “We will not lie, steal, or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does.” Penalties for violating the code range from probation to expulsion.
Bryan said the cadets acted individually, and there was no evidence of collusion.
About 650 cadets took the test in late April. Most were freshmen, but some were sophomores.
Cadets were allowed to use the website involved for homework but were told ahead of time that it was off-limits during the test, Bryan said.
Cadets took the test on their own, outside the classroom and without supervision. The test will no longer be given online, he said.
The academy’s math department began looking into the possibility of cheating when a number of cadets who had done well on previous tests failed the final exam.
“They had such a large number who had such poor scores, they said, ‘How can this be?'” Bryan said.
The remediation program includes reflection, writing in journals and mentoring with senior officers and other cadets. The focus is “what you did and why you did it and how to learn from your mistake,” Bryan said.
In 2007, 15 cadets were expelled and three resigned for cheating on a test of general knowledge about the Air Force, and 13 others were placed on probation. Cadets had forwarded test answers through an Internet social group and private computer messages, the academy said.
In 2004, 69 cadets were questioned about cheating on a military etiquette test. Nineteen either acknowledged cheating or were found guilty by an honor board and were expelled or put on probation. Seven other cadets resigned, and 43 were cleared.