What Can Be Done About Student Cheating?

Teenage girls cheating on a testIt’s not exactly breaking news that students cheat in school. Whether it’s the student who peeks at crib notes during a test or another who can’t keep his eyes from drifting over to a classmate’s paper – schools have always had to deal with cheaters on some level. But is student cheating merely a nuisance or has it become a serious problem?

NEA Today recently spoke with Dr. Denise Pope, senior lecturer at the Stanford University School of Education and co-founder of Challenge Success, an organization that works with schools and families to improve student well-being and engagement with learning. Challenge Success recently released a white paper about cheating in schools that delves into the reasons why student cheat, misconceptions around the issue and some successful preventive strategies.

How prevalent is student cheating?

Student cheating is very serious. According to many studies, in between 80 and 95 percent percent of high school students admitted to cheating at least once in the past year and 75 percent admitted to cheating four or more times. The research goes back 15 years but that’s the highest it’s ever been. In the mid-1990s, it was around 60 percent. Cheating happens in every school.

One bit of encouraging news is that the Josephson Institute of Ethics released a survey a couple of weeks ago found that students who had cheated on one exam in the past year dropped quite a bit. We might re-survey in the spring and hopefully find something similar but it could just be noise. Too soon to tell.

Who are the students who cheat?

You have the obvious example – students who are struggling and don’t understand the work. One of the big misconceptions, however, is that it is only these struggling students who cheat, when in fact studies show that high-achieving students cheat almost as much as other students.

We haven’t found that there are discernible gender differences. Many assume that boys are more likely to cheat than girls because they’re more competitive, but the research actually doesn’t support that. Cheating is also more likely as the student moves through the system so the problem is more common in middle and high school than in elementary.

Is access to technology leading to more cheating?

Not necessarily. Student cheating has taken on many new forms. It’s not just wandering eyes or notes copied on a hand, and technology certainly provides more opportunities without a doubt – plagiarizing from the Internet, using cell phones during tests, etc. But what we found is that while these technologies provide many more avenues for students to cheat, so far its not clear that these technologies has actually led to an increase in cheating overall.

Denise Pope

Denise Pope

In the Challenge Success white paper, you say students cheat because they believe that only grades and test scores are valued in the school, not mastery of the subject.  This causes them to devalue the education they’re receiving. Can changing assessment systems significantly reduce the problem?

Students cheat for a number of reasons. They cheat because everybody else is doing it, they cheat because they have too much work to do and not enough time to do it. They’re under pressure and they see cheating around them everywhere – sports stars, movie stars, Wall Street. These are very powerful cultural factors that influence students’ behavior. So the culture of cheating in our society is formidable even if you took one single factor out of the equation. Nonetheless, I think the testing culture in schools plays a role. There’s pressure from the teacher, there’s pressure from the parents. There’s a reason they call them “high-stakes.” Some schools fudge the numbers because they know their money depends on these scores. All this gets conveyed to the student.

Student are less likely to cheat if they believe that their school values real mastery of a subject, as opposed to an overemphasis on rote memorization or how you do on a test.

Changing assessments is not easy, but it is one of our  top recommendations. At least schools should use multiple measures, different ways for students to show what they know. We should be allowing kids on assignments to produce multiple drafts, to revise and iterate, which is what happens in the real world anyway. We need to find new ways to determine and develop student skills.

Does Common Core move schools in that direction?

I’m encouraged by what I hear and read about the new standards’ emphasis on performance-based assessments. They’re not complete yet, but it sounds like it’s moving in the right direction. And you do see more professional development around teaching for subject mastery. So the trend looks good, but it’s going take a while.

Since systemic change can be such a long and arduous process, what are some of the more immediate potential solutions schools can take to address the cheating problem?

A major one is the need for schools to dialogue. Student cheating is a taboo subject – many schools just don’t want to talk about it. One of the big misconceptions is that “That’s not a problem at our school!” when in fact it occurs everywhere. And people think if they don’t talk about it, then it won’t happen. But admitting cheating exists in your schools is a big first step and there’s strong evidence that, at least at the college level, honor codes are useful.  There are now a lot honor codes that are being developed at the high school and middle school level. If you talk about it, admit there’s a problem, come up with a way to show it won’t be tolerated, and have everyone sign onto doing something about it, cheating can be curbed.

What can teachers do?

There are a lot of individual strategies that teachers can take to stop cheating or catch cheating right before it happens, but we focus on a more a preventive course – creating a climate of caring in the classroom. Of course teachers care about kids, but students have to perceive it. Do you know the name of every child in your classroom? Do you know their interests, do you take the time to answer every question? If not, that’s not a climate of care and not a fertile ground for learning. We found that students who really believe they belong in the classroom and really feel teacher support are less likely to cheat.

How about parents?

Everybody has to be part of the solution. Parents can do a lot of what we ask of teachers – emphasize high standards for honesty, make it clear that cheating is unacceptable. Parents can help foster that sense of belonging in school by encouraging school activities and other ways to focus on the positive aspects of school.  Also, they should also think about changing how they talk about grades with their children – especially in the way parents compare their kids to how others do.

Read the Challenge Success Report on Student Cheating

  • hueda

    this is the time where teachers should act. maybe offer a tutor or help he or she with the test before the test is past out.You should really think about it.If he or she keeps cheating he or she will depend on it for the rest of their life.TEACHERS ACT NOW!

  • Zoreen

    I am appalled at the lengths students go to cheat. I teach so that students can master skills that they will use in the future to become productive citizens, but it seems to me that ‘grades’ is all that matters to many, rather than learning. This article touches on all the key points on this issue.

  • Bret

    I find it very disconcerting how evasive this article was on punishments for cheating. Why not compare punishments for cheating over the years? Perhaps we could discuss methods for detection and appropriate punishments?

    The number one reason why students cheat is because they can get away with it!

    Organizations that fail to take a hard line, such as the NEA, only enable such behavior. SHAME SHAME SHAME

  • Mike

    I’m retired now, but taught English and found parents were more than willing to help their kids cheat. I once had a principal’s wife do her son’s research paper the night before it was due. I’ve had parents write their child’s short story for them. Same with poetry, etc. So I had no choice but to make all important writing be done IN my classroom. Sad. Very sad.

  • Adam

    Cheating is not a high school phenomenon. It is a pervasive strategy throughout the business, military, and political worlds (and just about everywhere else in the world). People cheat when they need a particular outcome. So what. Give students assignments that are meaningful, and they will not need to cheat.

  • Claudia

    This kills me:

    What can teachers do?

    Why is it always the teacher’s responsibility??? I have 150 students that I see every day, so if I don’t know their hobbies, who their friends are, attend their games, and “take the time to answer every question,” it’s not a “climate of care”? LOL. Seriously?
    As for the comment of “Teachers Act Now,” give me a break. When is the last time that I ate lunch away from my desk? I’m so infuriated by the increasing responsibility placed on the teacher. We show up to work to fulfill a masochistic need that we have to help others and to teach, and not only is it more and more impossible to do that job, but we get walked all over by students, parents, and administrators for our efforts. Why do you think the turn-around rate for teachers is 5 years? We burn out.
    So, yes… ACT NOW — find yourselves a “Plan B” for when you’re tired of being a door mat.

  • wendy

    “Changing assessments is not easy, but it is one of our top recommendations. At least schools should use multiple measures, different ways for students to show what they know. We should be allowing kids on assignments to produce multiple drafts, to revise and iterate, which is what happens in the real world anyway. We need to find new ways to determine and develop student skills.”

    Easy to say, but many of these bromides neglect to give specific examples of “how”. Is an English teacher supposed to grade EACH draft? If we vary the kinds and numbers of assessments, how is a teacher with a student load of 160-170 supposed to manage all the time required for these increased assessments?

  • Tina

    I agree with Mike’s comment. As an English teacher, I have begun making all writing of essays done at school on our school Google Apps account. This has cut down on parents being able to do the work and students using other students’ work as our tech department can track it through the school’s account. Sadly, we’re not covering the amount of curriculum that their peers did in previous years. Students don’t realize their cheating ultimately hurts them. I also agree with Bret–how cheating is delt with at the building or district level makes a HUGE difference. Our district has been lenient and kids talk. I do have 2 college children and I know their colleges are VERY TOUGH on cheating–goodbye. So I don’t think by letting our high school/junior high kids off we’re preparing them for college.

  • Sue

    As far as cheating during tests, teachers should walk around and make sure students know s/he is watching like a hawk. Yes, test-time might seem like a great time to work on the “piles,” but we teachers really aren’t living up to our responsibilities if that is what we are doing. I heavily blame teachers if cheating is occurring during tests.

  • Samson

    B/C it cannot be stopped, “cheating” is now referred to as “working in collaborative groups” according to Common Core…..voila! No more cheating. How do they DO that….

  • Stacy

    More and more is expected from teachers with less and less support. We hold students less accountable for bad behavior than we ever have. Why? It’s much easier to blame the teacher. I do plan interesting, effective, quality lessons. I am out of my desk and circulating. HOWEVER, it will ALWAYS be impossible for me to watch every student all the time – unless I grow more eyes.

  • tanganyika

    Students cheat because they can- and we allow them to. Cheating – lying as well -is pervasive, is part of doing business everywhere you look. It is an institution, in our everyday repertoires: it’s us, it’s our culture, and getting around the phenomenon means reinventing ourselves!

  • Samantha Carr

    I teach high school students and I have to say that the better relationship a teacher has with the students the more likely they are to make a greater effort to succeed. That being said, I have 155 students that I see everyday and it takes time to get to know these young people and to build trust and mutual respect. One of the best deterrents to cheating that I have found is to clearly state the rules for testing and cheating, to circulate the room like a shark, and if students are found cheating or even the appearance of cheating, take the tests and give them a zero, write it up and send them to guidance. Believe me, the first time it happens the message is clear and the rest of the class falls in line. This year I had two students giving hand signals to get answers. I followed my procedure and sent them up for a referral. By the time I got home that day, one mother had already written me an email telling me I was wrong, her child “is a good boy and isn’t a cheater”. I had to address her issues as well. Fortunately, we have a student agenda that clearly states the consequences for cheating and I was able to quote the procedure and explain what I saw in the classroom. I did not back down. The discipline remained in place. Of course, there will always be one or two I miss and get away with it, but I try to make it very difficult.

  • Saadia

    I think this article is stating ways we should prevent cheating. This article us not in any means pacifying the act of cheating. Allow students time to work in colloborstive groups & stop putting such much emphasis on test scores. Yes just like the students we have a responsibly as well!!! There are things students & teachers can & should do to prevent cheating!

  • Randy Wieck

    I have caught several very clever, polished, internet-savvy students cheating, and have found the websites where testbank answers to many AP courses are for sale. I have been met with cold silence from my administrators; and an ostrich head-in-the-sand, whatever raises our school scores-type of reaction.
    After 22 years of teaching, I throw up my hands.

  • Art

    When there was a group of kids that conspired to cheat and got caught, it was the administrator and parents who turned on the teacher for causing such a situation to exist.
    Yet they want the students to have the high scores to get into their particular university. Both send mixed messages…ok to cheat, only do not get caught…and when caught, blame the teacher for putting together a challenging course as required by the school board’s desire, more challenging course work.

    It is going to get worse as teachers are now going to be evaluated on State student scores for each subject. If the score is not good enough, the teacher gets the sack, never mind that the student didn’t study or care…

    Cheating is going to reach an all time high with all the pressure on teachers and the burn out rate will go higher…

  • 1. Yes, a teacher’s relationship with students is critically important. If you have faith in your students and prepare them well, they will give it their all. Today’s schools have become so “sanitized” that it is often difficult to form bonds with kids as any joviality, facetiousness, humor, or kidding around can land any one of us in the hot seat. I throw caution to the wind. I am irreverent, outspoken, opinionated and I do walk a fine line between facetiousness and sarcasm. The kids look up to me and I look up to them. I am never afraid to say what is on my mind – though I am aware when a potential “red flag” pops up. That’s my line in the sand. I teach like my recently departed idol, Jaime Escalante. Unfortunately, when I read stories such as this one so many teachers are trying to explain the symptom without realizing the etiology of the cause. They can not see the forest for the trees, which is…

    2. Today’s students are not sufficiently prepared. I teach chemistry in NYC and have taught in Asia as an English teacher. Everything I learned about teaching I learned from my days in China. Here, “drill and kill” is viewed as a “bad” thing. Instead, we want our kids to be “thinkers.” The downside is that everyone has an opinion and anyone can argue a point or cause (welcome to the Common Core), but our kids are not drilled enough to know the material cold when they walk into a test. This is why they cheat. They don’t know the answers. The top kids don’t cheat. And please don’t waste my time with exceptions of smart students cheating. They are meant to be dealt with exceptionally instead of making them the rule – as is done today.

    If we want our students to stop cheating, then let’s prepare them. If they are prepared, then let’s also drop the “bunk” about not wanting to tie their standardized test grades to our evaluations. (That’s another bone of contention I am so tired of hearing about. Prepare the students as we are paid to do, or leave the job to someone more qualified.)

    I have vented, for now 🙂

  • John Hollon

    What else is new. Every answer to every test is on the website somewhere.
    To much is made of test scores and not what the students need to learn.
    Homework is the best and study guides. Also networking with other students with the same interest does a good job.

  • Dean Wariner

    I am a retired 7-12 English teacher and I wrestled with creating most of my career but I always fought to turn the cheaters on to success habits to solve the problem using all of the psych and love I had. Sometimes it worked but often not. Interestingly, most of those students I couldn’t reach turned out to be pretty decent adults. So for what it’s worth keep slogging!

  • Dean Wariner

    Sorry, my iPad often creatively spells for me. I did type cheating but the iPad had other ideas.

  • Wayne

    If I am monitoring the hallway and the students come in on a day that homework is due, students who have not completed the homework because of forgetting or because of not knowing the answers will cheat 100% of the time. I’ve observed this over the past 20 years. It hasn’t changed. When they think we are not looking, even the best students will cheat. As someone already said, it is part of our culture. Students have grown up sharing information. It is nothing to share answers. It is just more information to share. They don’t think of it as cheating. I have explained what cheating is and even have a poster on the wall that I’ve reviewed. It doesn’t seem to matter. They still don’t get it. Unfortunately, administrators and parents are rarely on our side because top students don’t cheat, right? I’d like to video a student cheating and then show the parents just how honest their child really is. I think parents either don’t know or don’t want to know.

  • Pam Haley

    In a competition driven society people will tend to cheat to get ahead. That includes students, coaches, sports figures, judges, and even teachers. Just wait until a teacher’s pay or salary depends on students’s test scores.

  • Student cheat all the time and apparently think we as teachers are too dumb to figure it out…especially when they all have the same “WRONG” answers as they pass the homework between themselves. I even had a student a few years ago who handed in a project with the actual hyperlinks in the typed up paper. They have no clue sometimes.

  • Michael Shanahan

    There’s been more crap research on education out of Stanford in the last two decades than any other institution. Just seeing the credentials behind this study’s author was enough for me not to finish the first paragraph. Wise up, teachers. Stanford is a Petri dish fed with bovine fecal matter.

  • Wendy

    Evidently “cheating” is a fashion. Consciously ask yourself – parents, teachers, administrators, politicians, friends, husbands and wife’s, and medias…kids grew up in the “cheating” environment. Who should be held responsible for this indecent culture? I am a retired teacher, I’ve seen them all. Administrators cared about their school performance and evaluation, they encouraged (or hinted)teachers to cheat on on standardized tests; teachers cheated on stuents’ grade, parents threated teachers for their kids grade, students pleaded teachers for grades they do not deserve….Every time no matter it was a quiz, a exam, a tests. I had to remind my students “No cheating! Be honest! Cheating is a shameful! As a teacher, the pressure comes from all directions and often a scapegoat. If every on plays a role model to kids and correct them at the first incident, let them know it is a character defect, disrespectful and the consequences could be unbearable for their act. It will take all stakeholders’ effort to deliver honest students and citizens…

  • tbone

    As long as a teacher does their job and has high expectations for all students, cheating will exist. However, the question is how do you restructure the class so that cheating is minimized. I have taught math for 10 years and at any given time I can walk into the cafeteria and catch students cheating. This of course was very frustrating and I was forced with a decision to make. Either I could turn everyone in that I saw cheating or change the weight and design of homework in my classroom. I chose to do the latter. After all, the entire purpose of my job is to devise a plan to teach students math. CCSS is a great thing. Yes, students will work collaboratively. They will also become better thinkers. Additionally, I believe that assessments (written tests and projects) will paint the picture of what students actually know in the classroom.

  • Cherise

    I am a math teacher and I have 4 different versions for just this reason. My students know that and never try to cheat at all, because all of your neighbors answers are different then yours. If you copy them you will get an automatic ZERO. Its happen before and had a parent say my child didn’t cheat and all I did was show the parent the test with different numbers and how they had copied all the numbers down for other version of the test. When the parent saw that, gave me an embarrassing look apologized for calling me a liar. After that happen once it never happen again that year for that class. That’s how I get around the cheating issue in my class.

  • Lori

    Is anyone else noticing what poor spelling and grammar is being used here – by EDUCATORS?!?

  • Elaine

    When I make a test, I make two versions an A test and a B test. However I don’t let the students know which test they have because I change the A’s and B’s to a number scheme that always changes. Like 1-15 is A and 16-30 is B or Evens are A and Odds are B. I let them know this is going on so they won’t be tempted to look at another person’s test. I also have found that some students will take pictures of their test and pass it on to another class later in the day. In that instance I make several tests and distribute different one’s to the next class. I know this is cumbersome with the different test keys but scan trons are so much easier to grade. Passing the questions around to cheat with is okay but passing the answers without even knowing the question is NOT okay. I try to pick my battles and sometimes I even give them the questions to study from although I hate rote memorization some of these kids depend on it. All they want to do is memorize the answer. This is why I would do other assessments to separate those who are memorizing from those who are understanding. Hence always include an essay question. This is what I did for my Chemistry classes by the way. I know it may not apply to other subjects.

  • As a former physical education teacher, I administered fitness and skills tests individually. When I had students test themselves in pairs initially, the results were inaccurate for many. This caused some of the students to feel rushed and resentful, due to the time away from class activities. Our PE classes met twice each week and I felt rushed as well. Fitness can be difficult to measure. A specific time or distance can differ immensely with both students doing their best. PE teachers, what are your thoughts on this subject of fitness and skill testing? I feel that it can be very subjective.

  • Nick

    A critically vital subject, as the outcome translates to a key underpinning that significantly impacts the quality in life for our children, grandchildren and future of our nation. The level of inherent honesty & integrity of those we serve determines if we build upon rock or sand. It demands clear communication to all concerned, with high expectations. No one said it would be easy, but what field of endeavor could possibly be more important?

  • K

    My students cheated while I was out for my mother’s funeral. Football players cheated until I told them I would tell their recruiters. Their grades sank like a rock. I once changed a multiple choice quiz to a fill in the blank quiz. One student turned it in with no answers explaining, “I don’t know how to cheat on this one.”

    I was hoping the article might shed some light on how to stop cheating. It didn’t. It seems to say screate a unicorn farm in the classroom and all will be right with the world. Students need to suffer consequences for cheating.

  • Steve

    What role models do students have today that emphasis the importance of honesty, hard work, ethics, and respect? None that I can think of. Students feel that if our elected leaders feel the need to cheat, then why can’t they. Leading by example has been a tenent of honesty and ethics. Having been a classroom teacher since 1979, there has been the trend to get ahead without putting in the effort.

  • Peter Herz

    Please don’t think I condone cheating, and as a teacher, I certainly penalize it. However, think of the world that the teens inhabit.

    For one, teens are old enough to start recognizing the need for what some call “the adequate mask”–i.e., put up the front that one is is competent, able to take the challenges of life, and able to maintain one’s own freedom. It’s also time to jockey for status, and appearing inadequate sure doesn’t help.

    For another, the hormones are kicking in, telling them it’s time to do the mating dance performed by every warm-blooded species on this planet. In a co-ed classroom environment, one of the worst things possible is to appear inadequate before the other sex.

    Also, we live in a very relativist culture, in which what’s right for you isn’t necessarily right for me–and what right for me is, naturally, more important for me. Even if we account for the still large numbers of fundamentalists in America, consider that their religion is, believe it or not, a rather forgiving one that loves a good redemption story.

    And, let’s not discount the perversity of human nature, either.

  • Michelle

    For some simple ideas on thwarting cheating, see this article:

  • Michelle

    For some simple ideas on how to thwart cheating, see this article:

  • I have worked in both affluent and lower socioeconomic school settings, and in both administration and the board discouraged addressing violations of academic integrity. However, we have a very strict policy of discipline in place for such violations. Teacher are forced to take the responsibility and even criticized for taking the issue up with administration, all the while they are trying to instill honesty and integrity, while maintaining respect for their classroom. So we are actually in a position OUR INTEGRITY IS QUESTIONED FOR STANDING UP FOR INTEGRITY IN THE CLASSROOM. That makes perfect sense (scarcasm and smile). Many teachers have just began giving up and looking past such instances because it is too much hassle to pursuit.

  • “More than 23 percent of teens admitted in a Common Sense Media poll that they don’t think it’s cheating to look at notes on a cell phone during a test.”

    What a terrible article from the link above.

  • Rick Kamm

    Kids cheat largely because school does not value them as unique individuals. Kids are taught as members of groups and are all given the same tests for which there is very high pressure to do well. Schools have created a competitive environment for high achievement instead of a cooperative one for real learning.

    How do you value kids? Like you said you get to know them, but more importantly you accept the idea that every child had a destiny built into their DNA which plays a role in determining what that child will become in life. School’s role is help each and every child discover that destiny by focusing on what each child wants to learn, not what the school has in mind for them. School does not teach to mastery and what it does teach is in unrelated bits and pieces. What sane child can long endure that? The fact that 25% or more of our children are dropping out of school proves that school does not serve the intellectual needs of many thousands of our children. Focusing on each child’s unique intellectual needs shows them that they have worth and value.

    The greatest hindrance to creating schools that kids won’t want to stay away from and where cheating won’t be necessary requires that we eradicate the cancer that is consuming the rich curriculum Dr. Diana Ravitch envisions, and destroying real learning opportunities. That cancer is standardized testing which today has unfortunately become the curriculum. Eradicating standardized testing is the simplest thing on earth to cure: read Learning in Crisis, a Kindle ebook.

  • It is society as a whole – cheating is cheating, lying is lying, & stealing is stealing; – growing up these were considered bad things but did it stop kids from doing it? Yes, but not everyone. Why were things like this looked down upon? Because there were consequences – I am not just talking about paddling. Kids today are literally afraid of nothing. Society just doesn’t value the same things that were valued 20-30 years ago. Times they are a changing – and I’m afraid not for the better!!!

  • Ben Arendsee

    An interesting paradigm is that the easier a paper is to grade, the easier it is for a student to cheat. I ask my students to write stories to test their understanding of the vocabulary units. They also write constructed and extended responses which are unique to each writer. If I had them checking the “right” box or choosing the “right” letter, I’d have cheating problems too. Yes, the stuff I assign takes longer to grade, but it’s authentic and fairly cheat proof.
    Cheating is how clever people exploit weak systems. Therefore, if you have cheating, you have a weak system. As teachers, we need to be responsible for creating strong, diverse, and interesting learning environments for our students.

  • Are you kidding me – cheating is exploiting weak systems! Does that make it ok to cheat?

  • deb

    Values and character traits needs to be taught. I apologize for not reading all responses but did read 3/4. I think if students value honesty and integrity they will think twice about cheating.
    Also accountability for teachers needs to be beyond test scores. The school district I reside in only has 25% of a students grade be test scores yet teachers’ accountability is 100% test scores- is that right??

  • I thoroughly enjoyed each comment/opinion. I read every one with equal interest and objectivity to learn how to be a more effective teacher regarding fostering the most positive and encouraging classroom environment for high expectations of honesty, creativity and academic and social achievement. Most teachers expend an inordinant amount of time and energy in class lesson plans and preparations, as well as crafts and hall bulletin boards. This is even more so in K-3 classes, which has been my experience in my Title I school for the past 18 years. These years have been served as a teaching assistant in first and second grades. This year is my first in kindergarten. Until the last three or four years, I assisted in summer schools as well. For 14 years I have driven a school bus that has included K-12 grades. Cheating has always been a problem, but is more prevalent than ever. Obviously, there is no justification for cheating, but with the pervasiveness at every level in our society, almost, and even accepted and glorified in the entertainment, sports and political arenas, the norm of societies’ role models has become decayed, distorted and perverted. Additionally, with these anti-Judaic Christian values, principles and behavior allowed with minimal or no accountability from any segment of our society, the results are automatically enabling and increasing both the rate and percentage of incidence and severity of dishonesty. There are various strategies, including, but not exclusive, stand-up privacy folders, turning desks at various angles, spacing desks apart, ect., but until and unless children begin to be reared in a home environment in which honesty is SEEN AND HEARD DAILY with APPROPRIATE AND TIMELY DISCIPLINE, then this “war” will not be won. Additionally, our political and judicial systems too often are corrupt in the laws and adjudication of societal dishonesty. Still, much can be said for administrators’ responsibility and influence , first, to inform publicly at school meetings verbally and give printed sheets of school rules/ policies with the consequences of violation(s). Most teachers will communicate and properly and consistently enforce this policy if they have consistent and unbiased support from all higher levels of administrators. Honesty and all virtues are “caught, not taught!”

  • Jim

    As a retired teacher (Middle School), I read with interest the comments, suggestions and ideas on how cheating has been combatted. A number of the techniques used were ones I employed in my classroom. The classic example for me was when I assigned a “term paper” and one student turned their assignment in copied directly from an encyclopedia which was not even listed in their bibliography. I gave the student an “F” and ended up meeting with the parent, guidance counselor, principal and assistant superintendent over the matter. The parent insisted I was wrong and that I had unjustly accused her child of plagiarism. She stormed out of the conference in a “huff” continuing to threaten me with legal action when I gave copies of the paper to all in the conference and began to read word for word from the encyclopedia from which the report was read. Too many parents think it is OK for their children to cheat as long as they don’t get caught. In this case the parent helped her child by doing the report (she said she had only typed it).

  • Jim

    One other comment. I once had a student who created such an elaborate set of cheat cards that she didn’t really have to cheat because she had learned the material in the process of making the cards. Unfortunately, she got caught using the cards and received a failing grade as a result. It was when I questioned her about the information she realized that she really knew the material and didn’t need the cards.

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  • Chris Murray

    I teach physics at an IB school. I also teach regular non-IB classes. I find that the IB kids cheat far more than the other kids. I have learned in my 21 years to be far less naive and trusting, because they don’t always do the right thing.

    I have been experimenting with mastery style testing where I break a large test into multiple parts, and for each part there are five versions of essentially the same sorts of questions. If they get something wrong, i am there grading it on the spot, i can tell them why they got itq wrong, and give them another test to try. Students who do not get all the points can come in to physics “parties” after school on Tuesdays and I have my second year students there (as part of their grade) to help tutor and grade the first year students. Far fewer students cheat if they know that there is another chance, and that it is the mastery of the material that is important. If I do catch them cheating, I just take their test away, and make them come in after school when there is no one else around.

    When I do give final summative tests, I have two versions, spread them out very far in the desk area and the lab, and I watch them carefully. (After reading these comments I might start taking away their cellphones) Even then, I almost always have a makeup test that is a bit harder than the first for kids that had a bad day. I also make review sites that are so very specific. I tell them exactly what sort of problem it is going to be, and lately I have even included links to videos of me solving a problem more or less exactly like what is on the test. I figure at this point in their education I want them to study. Basically my review site can tell them what is on the test with more specificity than their friends can who have already taken the test.

    Now this whole thing is not without problems. I have very bright kids who are too lazy to learn the material, and basically will show up to a test totally unprepared, knowing that eventually they can with the least amount of effort schmooze their way to a perfect score. I probably have rote memorization of narrow little paths to solving certain problems.

    Probably when I figure out this teaching thing, it will be time for me to retire…

  • willwot

    Principles are not being taught. 12 core principles that I as a member of society should always adhere to:

  • Diane

    I co taught a math class with a special education teacher. When test time came he would take his students into a room where they would work on the test together, cell phones out, and he was helping them – just like a worksheet! I told him to have the students do the test alone with no cell phones but it was a joke. I told the principal my concerns and his response was that, “IF this was happening then it was good to know…” then he continued by questioning me if we should be teaching the kids a work ethic or just math, social studies, or science????? I equated a work ethic to study skills. Am I in Oz? Of course I was nonrenewed. Wow, first year in a public school and my fears were realized. Is this legal? Oh, and by the way, such stuff happened in private schools I worked in before – I am sure ready to leave teaching.

  • ofelia

    I recently had an experience where one of my students was so blatantly cheating that I reported him to my supervisor and asked for him to take the exam elsewhere – i.e., counselor’s office. She did comply, and he was placed with the counselor discretely, but the result was an extremely angry student who went to administration and complained. He felt that I singled him out and that this was not fair. I suppose I should have just given him a zero right then and there when he first started this nonsense, but I was in a way trying to give him a chance. He claims that it is his right to be angry and called me on this matter in front of the whole class, to which I told him we would discuss this later- privately. While taking the test his girlfriend was hanging around the window of the counselors office trying to offer assistance. Now, after complaining to administration, the director feels that my actions were wrong. Perhaps I acted too quickly, but I have been trying to catch students as they are in the act, I even made a test where each student had a different page of a different test so that no one student would be able to copy, but even with this, many – including him, found a way. So, does anyone feel that I should apologize to this student? Was I so in the wrong? How do I repair this relationship? I don’t want for him to graduate with bitterness and we still have 1 month left. Any advice for a 2nd year high school teacher? I feel that this is a case where this student knows how to use and manipulate the system in order to get what he wants and this will not help him in the long run, especially in a country where cheating and using connections is rampant.

  • ofelia

    I recently had an experience where one of my students was so blatantly cheating that I reported him to my supervisor and asked for him to take the exam elsewhere – i.e., counselor’s office. She did comply, and he was placed with the counselor discretely, but the result was an extremely angry student who went to administration and complained. He felt that I singled him out and that this was not fair. I suppose I should have just given him a zero right then and there when he first started this nonsense, but I was in a way trying to give him a chance. He claims that it is his right to be angry and called me on this matter in front of the whole class, to which I told him we would discuss this later- privately. While taking the test his girlfriend was hanging around the window of the counselors office trying to offer assistance. Now, after complaining to administration, the director feels that my actions were wrong. Perhaps I acted too quickly, but I have been trying to catch students as they are in the act, I even made a test where each student had a different page of a different test so that no one student would be able to copy, but even with this, many – including him, found a way. So, does anyone feel that I should apologize to this student? Was I so in the wrong? How do I repair this relationship? I don’t want for him to graduate with bitterness and we still have 1 month left. Any advice for a 2nd year high school teacher? I feel that this is a case where this student knows how to use nd manipulate the system in order to get what he needs and this will not help him in the long run, especially in a country where cheating and using connections is rampant.

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