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Probe into high school homework cheating

Ward Melville High School at 380 Old Town

Ward Melville High School at 380 Old Town Rd., East Setauket. (May 7, 2011) Credit: Jasmin Frankel

Students in two sections of an Advanced Placement class at Ward Melville High School are being investigated by school officials for allegedly gaining unauthorized access to another student's work via an online learning site and cheating on assignments, Three Village school officials confirmed late Friday.

According to a statement from Interim Superintendent Neil Lederer, the district has been made aware that "an 11th grade student's Moodle account, which is used for classroom homework assignments, has been subjected to unauthorized access by a number of students in two sections of an AP class."

The students, both juniors at the East Setauket school, are accused of stealing information from completed homework, such as vocabulary worksheets, short-answer worksheets and essay practice, over the course of a month.

Several students have admitted to participating in what Lederer called a serious violation of the school's Code of Conduct. He declined to say how many students were involved or provide other details.

"The investigation is expected to be completed sometime next week. At that point, discipline will be meted out, which will likely include impacts to students' grades," he said.

Moodle, which stands for Module Object Oriented Delivery of a Learning Environment, is an online learning tool.

According to the Three Village Central School District website, Moodle "promotes and enables online learning and communication between teachers and students." Teachers can set up an account with the district by contacting the Office of Instructional Technology; students obtain their login information from their teachers.

Cheating allegations rocked Long Island last year when SAT test-takers in Great Neck were accused of pretending to be other students at the test site. Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice has filed charges against 20 current and former students who are accused of paying people as much as $3,500 to take the SAT for them.

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