An incident of grade-changing on an MIT computer -- investigated as a computer hacking incident -- has turned out to be a simple slip-up in the computerized sorting of names and grades on a spreadsheet.
Professor Harvey Lodish this morning informed an MIT spokesman that the mystery was solved. He said the changes were made by mistake by a person authorized to enter grades. The professor declined to identify the person.
The sorting of a grades spreadsheet is done by using a computer mouse to highlight the two columns of names and corresponding grades. In this case, there was a slip-up in the use of the mouse and only the column of names was sorted, resulting in grades being assigned to the wrong people. The error raised the grades of two students and lowered the grades of 20 students.