Cheating at school: How bad is the problem and what can teachers do?

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    cheating at school

    Students are less likely to cheat if they cannot see the teacher while taking a test. (Shutterstock photo)

    Most people have heard of or witnessed someone cheating, be it at a game, at work, or during a sporting event. When it comes to cheating at school, however, many parents are not aware of just how prevalent the issue is. Not only are kids cheating at record levels, they are becoming more and more ingenious at how they do it.

    Cheating at school goes far beyond glancing at a neighbor’s paper during an examination.

    According to a report from ABC News earlier this year, cheating extends from the lowest levels of grade school all the way up into college classrooms. In fact, pulling plagiarized papers off the Internet is one of the most popular methods of cheating at the college level.

    Just how many students are taking advantage of cheating to get by in school?

    Who is cheating at school?

    According to a recent survey by the Josephson Institute of Ethics, 75 to 95 percent of college students issued a confidential survey admitted to cheating at some point during their academic career.

    The survey also found most cheating at school occurred in math and science classes, with business and engineering majors the most likely to take part in cheating.

    The habit begins, say researchers, generally in middle school, and a whopping nine out of 10 middle schoolers have admitted to copying another person’s homework. Two-thirds of middle schoolers have admitted to cheating at school on an examination.

    Cheating at school is often a group effort, with one student collecting answers from a test and passing them on to friends within a group. Students are often able to memorize only the answers in a short amount of time prior to class, though some invent ways to write the answers in code on a hand or concealed piece of paper.

    Why do students cheat?

    Most students are capable of learning the required material when it comes to testing in the school setting; however, a number of students told ABC News they are simply trying to survive in the “real world,” citing financial scandals and Presidential scandals where individuals are punished but not in extreme ways.

    cheating at school

    Cheating at school has evolved, becoming more and more ingenious over the years. (Shutterstock photo)

    “Whether or not you did it or not, if you can get the jury to say that you’re not guilty, you’re free,” Will, a student at one of the top public high schools in the nation, said to ABC News.

    Another opinion, voiced by a southern student, was that school is not about learning facts, but is rather about learning how to work the system to your advantage.

    How do teachers prevent cheating?

    For teachers and educators trying to crack down on the cheating epidemic, Education World and VOXXI make the following recommendations:

    • Sit in the back of the room while students take examinations. Being unable to see the teacher often makes students more nervous about cheating.
    • Avoid short-answer and multiple choice tests to reduce the chance a student has passed on the sequence of answers to friends.
    • If using short-answer tests, create multiple versions to be utilized randomly throughout the room.
    • Remind students of the punishments for cheating at the start of the class, but most importantly, about the moral implications.
    • Work with parents to reinforce message at home that cheating at school is unacceptable at many levels.
    • Create classroom discussions about cheating at school, allowing students to arrive at their own conclusions. Do not judge but do guide the conversation.
    • Do not focus only on the punishing aspect of cheating. Explain that the risks of cheating go beyond just ‘getting caught’.

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