The Air Force Academy says 10 cadets are suspected of cheating after widespread irregularities were found in the results of a final for underclassmen.
The investigation kicked off this week after professors at the school found a suspicious pattern of exam answers. Those who turned in answers that triggered the alarm were called in to explain themselves in a process the school calls “clarification.”
“After preliminary clarifications with cadets, 10 cases will be forwarded to the cadet honor process for further scrutiny,” spokeswoman Lt. Col. Tracy Bunko said in a statement.
“It is important to clarify that all or none of these could ultimately be found in violation of our academic standards and the cadet honor code.”
Cadets are required to live under a code that forbids lying, cheating and stealing. They also are forbidden from tolerating those who break the code.
While first-time offenders are generally placed under a strict six-month probation, the presumptive penalty for scofflaws is expulsion.
Sources say this week’s incident came after dozens of math tests drew suspicion. While cheating at the academy is a rarity, past incidents primarily have been tied to the newest cadets.
In the most recent incident two years ago, several freshmen were caught cheating on a test of military knowledge.
Academy leaders have worked to eliminate cheating on tests with rules that prevent the same test from being used for large numbers of students who don’t share the same class period.
Other colleges have taken to open-book tests and some have considered calling off exams to combat cheating.
Cheating at the academy can bring a high price. In addition to getting expelled, cheaters could also be forced to repay the Air Force for the cost of their education. Just getting probation for violating the academy honor code means six months of restrictions and a lengthy regimen of education.
The academy said the latest cases will be sent to the cadet-run honor system for adjudication. Honor courts comprised of cadets take testimony and deliberate whether the school’s code was violated.
“Any of them who are found in violation will face academic and disciplinary consequences,” Bunko said.
Contact Tom Roeder: 636-0240 Twitter: @xroederx