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A duh that makes me very happy

From Inside Higher Ed today

"Physics students who copy their classmates' work learn less than students who don't plagiarize, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found in a study released yesterday."

Actually the study's findings are quite interesting:

Planning ahead makes a difference: "The majority of students, who copied less than 10% of their problems, worked steadily over the three days prior to the deadline, whereas repetitive copiers (those who copied >30% of their submitted problems) exerted little effort early."

Copying appears to have a greater impact on grades than learning: ..."copying homework problems that require an analytic answer correlates with a 2(σ) decline over the semester in relative score for similar problems on exams but does not significantly correlate with the amount of conceptual learning as measured by pretesting and post-testing."

Smart and dumb kids copy: Several measures of initial ability in math or physics correlated with copying weakly or not at all.

And yes you can reduce copying: Changes in course format and instructional practices that previous self-reported academic dishonesty surveys and/or the observed copying patterns suggested would reduce copying have been accompanied by more than a factor of 4 reduction of copying from ∼11% of all electronic problems to less than 3%. As expected (since repetitive copiers have approximately three times the chance of failing), this was accompanied by a reduction in the overall course failure rate.