This problem has been bothering me for decades, but now that we are entrenched in the digital world, the challenges have become even greater. I am sure we all have our own ways of coping with this problem, but the creativity of students on ways to cheat just continually keeps all of us frustrated and off-guard. As we head back into the classroom, it might be wise if we took a minute and evaluated our position on this topic and then clearly explained our views to our students. Trust me,mine know where I stand and they even realize that I have the authority to expel them from my class and our college very might well dismiss them from school permanently. Many of you don't have that luxury, but let me hasten to tell you, even this harsh outcome if caught does not deter many from attempting to cheat. Maybe we should just all add ethics courses to our curricula!
I just finished a very good article by John K Walters in THE Journal about cheating in the classroom with digital devices and wanted to share it with the rest of you.
I made this very point to a group of students one year. We had a test coming up, and I told them they could take a 3x5 index card and put whatever information they could write on one side of the card and bring it to the test.
They worked so hard, writing in tiny, tiny letters, to get everything on that card. They brought it to the test.
I took up the cards. I didn't promise they could use them on the test!
The class, to an individual, scored well above mastery. Lesson learned.
While I certainly don't claim to be able to get around all the clever ways students can cheat, I prefer to try taking the possibility of cheating out of the equation. Rather than assigning a research paper that can be copied from the Internet, how about asking students to research the assigned topic(s), bring in any and all notes, and in class assign a composition to compare/contrast two ideas/authors/approaches or to answer analytical questions on the topic researched, allowing them to bring in their own ideas based on what they learned from the research. It would be harder to cheat when their own critical thinking is required.
Or giving the students all the questions and at least one possible answer for each question to a social studies test to study. In class, have them suggest new/different answers to some of the questions and give reasons why they think their answers should also be accepted. Or give them a new copy of the test with some different possible answers listed and ask them to choose the best and back up their choice with what they know about the topic.
Teachers would need to change up the in-class activities each year so students wouldn't know exactly what was coming, but the students would discover that being prepared and having their own ideas valued may beat cheating to earn a good grade.
Have any other teachers out there tried similar approaches? I would love to hear about those activities and what the outcomes and ramifications were.
Good ideas! I wonder why it is so hard for teachers to require students to simply cite a quote or a paraphrased idea found in an encyclopedia, on the Internet, or from a book. It would certainly help if students could identify original thought versus someone else's idea found during research. Search is only a part of research. Students need to know how to respect intellectual property, others and their own. They need to know how to cite quotes and paraphrased ideas. They don't learn this in one senior research paper. They learn it as a process, beginning in the early years.
I agree with Denise.
One goal of education is to prepare students for LIFE. And out here in the real world we are allowed to use any tool we need. I have a calculator on my desk and Google too! My boss relies on my ability to think and problem solve and to use my resources to the fullest extent. By boss doesn't need me to memorize anything.
Why test at all? Really? Think about it. We say we are testing to gauge a students understanding. Well if that is the case we could simply talk to the student and be done.
Prove to me that you understand the material and I'll give you whatever grade you want.
This link How to cheat on any test - YouTube will tell the story in three minutes.