Technology Opens Up New World of Cheating

Students are no longer just peeking over each other’s shoulders or writing answers on their arms in order to cheat. They are able to share answers to test questions with just the click of a button. Google Docs, texting, Facebook and email allow students access to each others’ papers and test answers more quickly and easily than ever before.

“I am 100 percent sure that people just look at questions, take them and copy and paste them on the internet,” sophomore Ryan Adibi said. “Then they will get websites like Wikipedia and copy and paste [the information] onto their document and nobody knows.”

These new forms of technology allow students much greater opportunity to cheat without getting caught. Technology-based cheating, especially before finals and the end of semesters, has increased, and the administration is taking notice.

“I would say that last year, the assistant principals have dealt with more cheating than in the past,” Principal Wynne Satterwhite said. “This year it has been kind of sporadic. I hope not, but I have every indication that it will probably go up in the next couple of weeks [due to finals].”
The stress of finals combined with easy access to online answers and papers give students the extra shove toward wanting to cheat; however, it is up to students to remain responsible for their actions.

Even though students should take the initiative and be responsible for themselves, teachers are regulating students’ cheating through websites such as Turnitin, where students’ assignments are uploaded and compared to those on the internet as well as those of their peers for similarity. The work is then shown with a percentage of how much of the material was copied from somewhere else. This counteracts cheating, especially when so many can use Google Docs and share papers to one another.

“Technology provides more temptation [to cheat],” Satterwhite said. “I think it’s our job to help students feel confident that their work is good. I really believe that it’s the ‘It’s three in the morning and I have a paper due tomorrow and I spent all night studying for my science test, what do I do?’ I don’t think people are out there thinking, ‘How do I cheat?’”

Although technology gives new opportunities to cheat, teachers can also use it to help discourage cheating and give students the resources to manage their time more effectively. Teachers should working on sharing deadline information with both students and teachers. This way, students can manage their time more effectively and not feel so much stress from having four different papers due on the same day. Although this will take time and effort on the part of the school’s faculty, it may help reduce cheating by avoiding the most stressful situations that often lead students to cheat.

Technology is not going away, and both students and teachers will need to be part of the process to determine how it should be used in the classroom. Those who give their students so many opportunities to share their work online put a great deal of trust in the fact that they will be responsible for their actions and work.

“I do have students sign an honor code and I read all of their work,” history teacher Stephanie Downey said.
Both teachers and students together need to be attentive to the responsibility that falls on them when considering how technology provides new and easy ways to cheat.