The Harvard Crimson
| The Miami Herald
Harvard Assistant Professor Matthew B. Platt made a recent discovery that
led the university to investigate about 125 students it accuses of cheating on a take-home exam
. He noticed that two students inserted the same superfluous space in a statistic, writing "25, 500" instead of "25,500." The similarity led him to believe the coincidences were "not the product of chance," Mercer R. Cook and Rebecca D. Robbins report in The Harvard Crimson.
He wrote that one of his teaching fellows originally detected suspicious similarities on that question, which read, “Describe two developments in the history of Congress that ostensibly gave individual MCs [members of Congress] in the House greater freedom and/or control but ultimately centralized power in the hands of party leadership.”
Several students answered that question with the same two “somewhat obscure” responses—the Cannon Revolt of 1910 and longtime 19th century Congressman Henry Clay, Platt wrote.
When news of the scandal broke, Mary Carmichael reported in The Boston Globe
that, in response, "Harvard administrators will also explore new strategies for educating students about academic norms — an effort they had intensified in the past two years because of fears that plagiarism was becoming rampant." My coworker Craig Silverman pointed out last week that journalism, too, has been plagued by reports of plagiarism in recent months