Letter: Professors handing out answers calls ethics into question

What part about my professor reading the upcoming exam word for word and then giving the answers to all of the questions, is ethically right?

Yes, that happened in a class of mine recently. Oh sure, the professor encouraged everyone to re-read the chapters to make sure they understood. Yes, he told us we still needed to study the notes on our own. And sure, he admitted he probably shouldn’t conduct an exam review day like this, as he laughed and smiled, but the class urged him on, laughing along with him. Does this make it right? Not a chance.

I believe this violates several ethical and academic principles: Don’t tell students information, teach it. Provide study guides, not answer keys. Earth-shaking advice? Hardly.

What’s more, this class — although I won’t mention names or course numbers — incorporates life skills. Gasp in shock if you want, but I took this class because I thought the topic would be useful for my life during and after college.

Getting a good grade isn’t my first priority this time, but apparently, I will have to work hard not to get an A on this test. And while I’m not complaining about the well-meaning help or high score, I just lost all respect for this professor, and I am seriously concerned about how this reflects on his department and Iowa State’s quality of education and educators in general.

ISU administrators, you allow professors like these to just laugh their way through a review day? Professors who do this, do you have such low self-esteem in your teaching ability that you fear everyone will fail if you don’t tell everyone the answers beforehand? Or do you have such low respect for students that you refuse to make them prove that they have, or haven’t, learned the information?

I will grant that this professor seems genuinely passionate about students learning quality material to apply to their daily lives, and that he has superior knowledge in his field. But this does not mean that quality education gets thrown out the window in the process.

Please understand, my intention is not to whine or publicize some personal vendetta. I’m just in shock. I just had a multiple-choice exam read to me verbatim in an upper 200-level course? Hello, high school?

Students, don’t encourage this. Instead, speak up and demand higher academic standards. I dearly hope that this professor is rare, but I fear he is not alone. As for college department heads and ISU administrators, check up on your professors and their methods. Is this something we should be proud of, or even tolerate?

Iowa State has a strict policy about students cheating. Does that same policy applies to professors? Because, come exam day, the professor can hardly accuse someone of cheating if he was the one who first acted unethically.