Why lie?

A student told me a lie two days ago. She had sent me an email saying she was too upset about a death in the family to take the test on Monday. We arranged for the her to take the test on Tuesday and I put it in the Assessment Center, where makeup tests are given.

Wednesday morning I asked her what time she had taken the test, since she hadn’t taken it by 4:30 Tuesday, and she replied 7 p.m. I walked over to pick up the test, but she hadn’t taken it.

Why did she say she had?  The lie may have saved her some embarrassment, but she must have known I would find out. What is the point?

Her lie cost me a trip to the Assessment Center, taking perhaps 15 minutes. I am assuming she actually intended to take the test. If not, her lies cost me half an hour.

She still has the potential to pass this course, but it is not certain. I will try my best to grade her final exam, not her character. (After the first page, I will not know whose exam I am grading, because I grade each page for the whole class.) I will put the numbers in my computer, and if her average is 70 or higher, she will get a C.

I suppose this relates to what I call McCullough’s Law: No matter how carefully the members of a group are selected, at least 2% of them are crazy. OK, she isn’t actually crazy, but her actions were not very intelligent. Why tell a lie that accomplishes nothing except to let people know you are a liar?

I am not at all surprised she did not come to class today.


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