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78 Air Force Academy cadets accused of cheating on math test

At least 78 Air Force Academy cadets are accused of cheating on an online calculus test by getting help during the exam from a website, academy officials in Colorado say.

Academy officials said the cadets, mostly freshmen and a few sophomores, used an website math program meant to be used for homework, not the final exam.

Instructors in the academy's math department grew suspicious after a number of cadets who had passed previous tests failed the final exam, according to The Colorado Springs Gazette in Colorado Springs, Colo.

"They had such a large number who had such poor scores, they said, 'How can this be?'" The Associated Press quoted Lt. Col. John Bryan, the academy's director of public affairs, as saying.

Most of the 78 cadets admitted to cheating on the test and have started a six-month remediation program, a type of academic probation, Bryan said.

Bryan told The Gazette that he did not know how many cadets have been ordered to take the remediation program. Some, he said, are still awaiting their turn before an honor board.

If a cadet denies cheating but academy officials determine otherwise, the cadet could be expelled, he said.

According to The Cadet Honor Code, a cadet "will not lie, steal, or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does." Penalties for violating the code range from probation to expulsion.

"It is possible to have disenrollments," Bryan told The Gazette.

Bryan said there was no evidence of collusion.

“Every case is individual, and every case is different," Bryan told The Gazette. "We want to give these kids a learning environment and a chance to succeed.”

Bryan said about 650 cadets took the exam on their own, outside the classroom and without supervision in late April, The Gazette reported.

The Associated Press reports past cheating scandals at the military school:

In 2007, 15 cadets were expelled and three resigned for cheating on a test of general knowledge about the Air Force, and 13 others were placed on probation. Cadets had forwarded test answers through an Internet social group and private computer messages, according to the academy.

In 2004, 69 cadets were questioned about cheating on a military etiquette test. Nineteen either acknowledged cheating or were found guilty by an honor board and were expelled or put on probation. Seven other cadets resigned, and 43 were cleared.

The Air Force Academy has more than 4,000 cadets.

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