It’s no secret that students cheat.
On exams, on papers, on projects: no matter the assignment, someone out there has figured out a way to cheat on it. And the statistics are alarming: two out of three college students admit they have cheated on homework, and 19% have cheated on exams, according to a recent study.
Whether it’s because of shifting morals or access to technology, it’s clear that cheating is as prevalent as ever. If you’re a teacher who wants to crack down on cheaters or a student who wants to take the easy way through school (shame on you!), these are the most common ways students around you are cheating.
1. Looking at someone else’s answers during an exam happens, but it’s much more common for students to copy a peer’s homework routinely. Many students don’t even see it as cheating. Not only is it unfair to the student who is actually doing the assignments and being taken advantage of, it hurts the person doing the copying as well. By copying homework, students don’t practice what they’ve learned and perform worse on exams. One study found that copying homework can cause a student to score two letter grades below those who completed their homework on an exam testing the material. Remember, practice makes perfect, and practicing cheating won’t help you in the long run.
2. Some cheaters are learning one thing: you get what you pay for. There is a world out there that honest students can’t even comprehend — the term paper market. Academic papers (and grades) are bought and sold like any other good. There are many different options for finding a term paper to turn in (besides the obvious, do-it-yourself option), some free, some a little pricey. Free term paper sites, like OPPapers.com and BigNerds.com, have a small selection and lower quality. Sites with papers for purchase, like AcademicTermPapers.com and PaperStore.net, sell term papers with a per-page price and actually earn students B’s frequently. And some wealthier students even hire someone to custom-write their essays. If you fall into any of these camps, you better cross your fingers that your professor doesn’t ask you any follow-up questions about what you’ve “written.”
3. Smuggling a cheat sheet into a test is so common that you’d think teachers would’ve figured out how to spot it by now, but students keep getting more and more creative. If they would put as much time into studying as they do into imagining ways to cheat, they’d probably do just fine. Students have come up with ways to hide cheat sheets in their pen caps, wallets, ID badges, gum wrappers, Band-Aids, and basically anything you can think of. But if you’re trying this, you better be sly. It’s hard not to look suspicious when continuously checking that piece of toilet paper stuck to your shoe.
4.Cellphones have made it much easier for students to cheat; instead of passing obvious paper notes during an exam, they can discreetly text a friend for answers. More than a third of teens with cellphones in 2009 admitted they had used them to either store information for a test or to text a friend during an exam. In the same 2009 study, researchers found that almost 25% of students didn’t even think that was cheating. Maybe if a teacher sent them a text message defining cheating it would get through to them.
5. The camera technology in cellphones has also presented a challenge to teachers and education officials. Even if a student isn’t using his cellphone to text the answers to a friend, he could easily snap a photo of the test questions and send it to a friend taking the test later or post it on the Internet. Earlier this year, California encountered this problem on a major scale regarding its high school exit exam. Hundreds of photos of the standardized test popped up on social networking sites; some were innocent, like students posing proudly with the exam booklet, while others were clearly taken for the purpose of cheating.
6. Writing papers isn’t everyone’s strong suit, but that’s not a good reason to copy and paste your writing from someone else’s work. With the Internet, it’s easier than ever to find brilliant words that fit your assignment, and you can just use the handy copy-paste function to transfer paragraphs in seconds. But the Web also makes it easier for teachers to catch cheaters. A quick Google search of suspicious phrases can quickly locate sources you do not cite, and Turnitin.com has become a favorite for discovering how much of an assignment was plagiarized.
7. Some studies find that sorority and fraternity members cheat more than other American students. This could be a result of the easily accessible test banks many fraternities and sororities maintain. The organizations keep tests from certain classes and professors on file, and current members just add to the collection as they take updated tests, different courses, or new professors. This isn’t necessarily cheating if the professor knows that his test is being distributed and changes it every term, but many courses use the same test questions for years without knowing the answers are stored in a Greek system’s test bank.
Source: Online Degree Programs
Broward County Schools will be back in session August 20th, 2012. Click here to see their 2012-2012 calendar.