On November 21, St. Petersburg hosted the municipal stage of the All-Russian Olympiad for schoolchildren in mathematics. Due to coronavirus restrictions, students completed assignments from home or in the classroom without supervision from teachers. Naturally, in such conditions, some tried to find the correct answers on the Web – moreover, problem solutions appeared on one of the popular resources within half an hour. However, as it turned out later, these decisions turned out to be wrong. Moreover, the organizers of the event themselves uploaded them to the site in order to catch careless participants in the act.
Konstantin Knopp, a teacher and popularizer of mathematics from St. Petersburg, spoke about an unusual attempt to combat the cheating of the St. Petersburg jury on social networks.
“As you might guess, within 10 minutes after the start of the Olympiad, some problem conditions appeared on znanija.com. With a prayer “help to solve” and, of course, without specifying the source of the problems. In about 20-30 minutes, quite reasonable solutions appeared on the same resource for all the “floating” tasks. And it would be very sad if it were not for two common properties of these solutions: they were all written by the jury members (problem authors and variant authors) and they were all wrong, ”said Knopp.
According to the teacher, the goal of the jury was to assess the scale of the problem and to de-anonymize the participants who wrote off the solution from the Internet. At the same time, according to Knopp, such a measure is not new and has already been used in the fight against cheating on the exam.
– Cheaters (people trying to win by dishonest means. – “MK”) are the scourge of all intellectual competitions, – said the teacher. – A couple of years ago, on the night before the holding, whole variants of regional Olympiads in physics, the Russian language floated away … Before some of the USE, our Ministry of Education itself posted on the Web in considerable quantities various fake options, so that, even if something from correct options, it would be extremely difficult to find him in the sea of fakes.
In the meantime, the actions of the jury members provoked a strong public reaction. Some even accused the jury of provocation and disrespect for the participants of the Olympiad, because the shameless behavior of children is not a reason for the same dishonest response from adults. However, many parents, on the contrary, took the side of the organizers of the municipal stage and supported their desire to punish the dishonest participants.
Indeed, the motive for the actions of the jury members is quite understandable. From year to year and without a pandemic, scandals occur around the same municipal stage due to cheating. Yes, victory at the municipal stage does not provide any advantages, except for reaching the regional stage. But where is the guarantee that someone will not be able to win it with the help of deception? In addition, job leaks have already happened more than once. All this often leads to the fact that really talented children lose the incentive and desire to participate in the Olympiad. It is like doping in sport, with the advantage gained in dishonest means.
Ivan Yashchenko, the coordinator of the Higher School of Education in Moscow, scientific director of the Center for Pedagogical Excellence, told us about how urgent the problem of cheating assignments at the All-Russian Olympiad for schoolchildren during a pandemic and whether it is possible to cope with it: pandemics. Including the municipal stage in a number of subjects already last year was held on computers, so the capital as a whole was ready for this stage of the Olympiad in a distance format. In our work with schoolchildren, teachers and parents, we place the main emphasis on explaining the absolute senselessness of cheating at the second stage. By itself, a victory in a municipality does not give anything, and it is practically impossible to become the winner of the regional and, moreover, the final stage by dishonest means under current conditions.
This year, due to the distance format of the Olympiad, the number of participants in the municipal stage has increased significantly. For example, 46 thousand schoolchildren wrote Russian in the capital, although usually the number of participants does not exceed 20 thousand. Nevertheless, we manage to minimize the incidence of dishonest execution of tasks. The municipal tour in the capital takes place online, teachers are watching all the participants. In addition, we have special programs that help to calculate non-independent jobs. St. Petersburg is now only at the beginning of the transition to electronic technologies in conducting VOS. In this regard, it seems to me that the method of combating cheating, chosen by the jury in mathematics, is quite acceptable. In our work, we also sometimes needed to use similar techniques. “