My View: Cheat or be cheated?
October 25th, 2012
04:15 AM ET

My View: Cheat or be cheated?

Courtesy Denise PopeBy Denise Pope, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Denise Pope, Ph.D., is a senior lecturer at the Stanford University School of Education. She is co-founder of Challenge Success, a research and intervention project that provides schools and families the tools they need to raise healthy, motivated students. Her book, "Doing School: How We Are Creating a Generation of Stressed Out, Materialistic, and Miseducated Students” (Yale University Press, 2001) was awarded Notable Book in Education by the American School Board Journal, 2001.

Students and faculty at Harvard note that the campus is “in shock” over the recent accusation that 125 students cheated on a final exam last spring. Parents at Stuyvesant High School are stunned to learn that 66 students were accused of using cell phones to cheat during an exam. But those of us who research student behaviors aren’t surprised by the latest cheating scandals.  We hear stories like these all the time.

In fact, 97% of the high school students in our Challenge Success survey admitted to cheating at least once during the past year, and 75% admitted to cheating four or more times.

Many students point to examples of cheaters on Wall Street, in government, sports and show business, and tell us that the standards for honesty are different these days:  “Everybody cheats.”

The problem is so prevalent and widespread that many parents and educators tend to throw up their hands in defeat.  But we know something can be done about the rampant cheating in schools. We reviewed the research on cheating from the past 15 years and summarize our findings here to show you what really goes on inside the classroom and to help you find ways to increase honesty and integrity in your homes and schools:

Finding No. 1: The numbers are sobering, and the problem is indeed widespread. Several studies indicate that from 80% to 95% of high-school students admit to engaging in some form of cheating.

Finding No. 2: Kids still cheat in the old-fashioned ways that we saw when we were young – copying from another kid’s paper or sneaking in a cheat sheet on exam day, but kids are also cheating in new ways, often using technology to text answers to friends or download a paper from the Internet and turn it in as their own. For example, in an online survey with more than 1,000 teenage students, the Benenson Strategy Group (2009) found that 35% of teens who had cell phones reported using them to cheat at least once, and 52% reported that they had cheated by using the Internet.

Finding No. 3: High-achievers and low-achievers cheat. Don’t assume that this only goes on in the low level classes. Cheating happens in all levels and all grades from elementary to college, with the peak in high school.

Finding No. 4: Students often know that what they are doing is wrong.  They justify their actions by saying that they just “didn’t have a choice – it’s cheat or be cheated.”  They feel pressured to get good grades, they have too much work to do and too little time, and they know that the likelihood of getting caught is pretty low.

Finding  No. 5: Cheating can often be predicted. Students cheat more when they believe that their teachers and parents care more about the grades than that learning is taking place. Students are also less likely to cheat when they believe their teachers are competent and that they care about them as individuals.

So where does this leave us? Can anything be done to turn this situation around?

Educators can take a number of steps to improve academic integrity in their schools. They can strive for schoolwide buy-in for integrity and honest academic practices, emphasize mastery and learning more than performance and grades, encourage multiple drafts and project-based learning where kids are less likely to cheat, and create a caring classroom climate.

Parents can play an important role as well. We urge parents to try the following:

Model integrity and maintain high standards for honesty: Discuss with your child the importance of integrity and that cheating will not be tolerated.

Watch how you talk about grades: Students tell us that they know that cheating is wrong, but they don’t want to let their parents down by bringing home a low grade. Instead of asking, “How did you do on the test?” – which emphasizes grades and performance – ask whether your child felt prepared for the exam, what is she most proud of, and what might she do differently next time.

Avoid external rewards for schoolwork: Some parents offer rewards such as money or privileges for students who complete their work and bring home good grades. This may reinforce the importance of grades without an emphasis on mastery and effort. Instead, try praising hard work and effort and help your child focus on intrinsic motivation - doing something to satisfy curiosity, find enjoyment and a feeling of pride after exerting effort.

Encourage positive school identity and belonging: Students who are more engaged in school and feel like they belong are less likely to cheat. Encourage your child to get involved with school activities, seek friends at school and get to know teachers and administrators.

Respond appropriately if your child is accused of cheating: If your child is accused of cheating, resist the immediate urge to take a side or lose your temper. Ask your child to explain his/her side of the story and schedule an appointment with the teacher and administrator or counselor at the school to hear their account. Seek consensus about what happened and how to handle it. Emphasize that you will not tolerate cheating, and try to brainstorm more positive coping strategies with your child. Throughout the process, remind your child that you love him/her no matter what, and use the incident as a teachable moment.

It's both easy and logical to blame societal issues for what appears to be an increase in academic dishonesty.

However, at Challenge Success, we have effectively worked with school communities to combat the acceptance of a "cheat to compete" environment. When parents and educators engage in meaningful conversations with their kids about the importance of academic honesty, and follow the suggestions above, they can help foster more ethical communities. For more information, visit challengesuccess.org to download our organization's newly released white paper on academic integrity.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Denise Pope.


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  1. AttemptingEngineering

    Yup, I've cheated on tests, although pretty much only in high school. I've smuggled in formulas on my graphing calculator. But only a few times, and only when I was scared by the test because I wasn't prepared. In HS, I was so focused on getting as high a grade as possible so that I would get as many scholarships as possible & would get accepted by colleges. There is SO much pressure, because if this one test brings your grade down, well, what school would accept the student with all A's and one B when there are tons of straight-A students out there to take your place? Same thing with profs who do certain types curves. Top 15% get an A? Well crap, I need to get EVERY question correct now. With that sort of policy in place, it doesn't really matter how much you know, only that you know more than everyone else.

    In college, I don't cheat, because most of the tests are conceptual anyway. One thing I can tell you that definitely reduces the need/drive to cheat is being allowed to have an equation sheet. In real life, no one's going to be like "Quick! You! What is the equation for total pressure over a shock wave? GO!!" Instead of freaking out about having to memorize equations like this http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/k-12/airplane/normal.html which are several bajillion miles long & non-intuitive, I can bring those equations with me and focus on studying the concepts instead. I end up memorizing half the equations anyway because I use them so often while doing the homework. (As medschoolkid, above, said! The ones you need to know you end up knowing.) The equation sheet gives me security so that I don't feel like I have to put a sticky note on the inside of my calculator in case I have a brainfart.

    As for GOOD open book tests (which I haven't had, but I've heard about the ones for some of my next year classes), they're so hard that if you don't know the concepts, you won't be able to do any of the problems anyway. If, on the other hand, you have an open-book test that's like "what is the formula for water?," well the what's the point of having the test at all? Creating tests must be difficult for professors, but once you get to a high enough level it's pretty hard to cheat effectively just due to the complexity of the subject matter... unless you don't let us have (or give us) equation sheets.

    November 2, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
  2. Mittens

    Why the hell are kids allowed to have phones out during tests?

    November 2, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  3. Hannah

    I think that kids shouldn't cheat, they should have an area in school where they feel confortable and smart. If kids have a positive home life, then they should have no reason to cheat. I get that parents can be hard to deal with sometimes, and it might be easy to cheat, but do you really want to be sitting in your job thinking about how you cheated to get there?

    November 2, 2012 at 9:07 am |
  4. ROCKY

    Really informative and good one http://www.assignmentscholars.com

    November 2, 2012 at 12:54 am |
  5. GeneK

    The best way, perhaps the only way, to really prevent students of all ages from cheating is for society and their families to set a proper example. They're just emulating the people they see around them who lie about their taxes, fudge expense accounts or stand up at political debates and lie into the cameras and get away with it.

    October 30, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
  6. jon Hyland

    The writer missed the biggest Harvard cheater:Elizabeth Warren who cheated all of us by claiming she is a native american and woman of color. She clearly is not and refuses to provide any proof. She then got Harvard to misrepresent her as being a woman of color!!!! Now she has lied about this to the people of Massachusetts.
    Harvard has a terrible problem with honor and honesty. Ted Kennedy cheated there and had to leave for example and now over 100 students. But the whopper is Elizabeth Warren who is a current teacher of one course for 350,000 per year and has not been thrown out for her complete lies. She is a disgrace to America, Harvard and social programs such as affirmative action which she so brazenly corrupted. glad my kids never had her as an example setter

    October 29, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • marie asport

      Jon Hyland, is all about cheating even though the medschoolkid suggests that medical student can not cheat, I know a person who cheated his way through medical school at Utah Medical School. No one discovered him and now he practices medicine happily and is the president of an LLC of about 150 doctors in California. He also cheated when he attended UCLA to get his Masters in Public Health; he paid his best friend to write all of his papers, his friend needed the money so he wrote even a thesis for him. His niece also cheated at Utah University, luckily she got caught and did not received his bachelor's degree. (I guess her cheating was massive)

      My question is how many people are out there who went through higher education cheating? and how many professors allow this to happen as you mentioned to comply with affirmative action, by the way this doctor and his niece are Mexican descent so they went through school by the benevolence of affirmative action.

      October 30, 2012 at 2:50 am |
    • Evan

      You also forgot how George W. Bush magically got the exact grade he needed to avoid the draft at Vietnam, when his father was director of CIA and major backer of Skull and bones at *shocked face* Yale where his son went.....But, you live in your Glen Beck world of Republican always good and Democrat always bad.

      October 30, 2012 at 11:28 am |
  7. The_Mick

    "Discuss with your child the importance of integrity and that cheating will not be tolerated." This sounds like advice from someone who hasn't been in a classroom for years. I taught gifted and talented students in chemistry and physics from the 80's to the 00's and while they were better model-citizens than average, cheating was considered something ok to do. When I'd have discussions along the lines quoted above, the kids would say something like, "Yeah, it was clear Ray Lewis was offsides, but he pointed his finger at the tackle and tricked the official into calling a false start on the offense. And the adult cheer him on!" or "The MLB home run records are held by steroid users. Worked for them, didn't it?" or "President Kennedy's father used space on ships meant for medical supplies to England to ship his company's booze. He profited by that and adults admired him." or "Politicians lie through their teeth each day. The current Senator's ads compliment him on keeping college costs down for Maryland kids. What an obvious lie! But the adults reelect him." So the obvious TRUTH is that American adults show their kids that we support liars and lying is a good way to get ahead. If you want to see why so many kids cheat now, look in the mirror!

    October 29, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
  8. Martin

    The solution is simple.

    Cell phone signal blockers are inexpensive and easy to setup, and to turn off and on as needed.

    Simple solution is to install one of these devices and block all cell phone signals during exam time.

    October 29, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  9. UCLA doc

    I have been a private college faculty member and experienced the lack of support from dept chair and admin when I caught students submitting a plagarized paper. I learned quickly that I would be seen as a problem if I reported cheating. Consequences for cheating were trivial (student gets to retake test or paper or at worst gets zero on paper or test and still gets a c in the course.) Reporting to registrar of academic dishonesty only occurred if the deptartment chair already disliked the student! So I learned that honesty is no longer a requirement. ALso, I was teaching in a professional program for health science students becoming therapists – so these dishonest individuals are now providing health care and billing medicare if you know what I mean. Doing what works for number one.

    October 29, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • Martin

      When school funding is based on the performance of students, unfortunately administrators are willing to look the other way.

      The only people this ends up hurting in the long run are the students themselves.

      October 29, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  10. A Prof Somewhere

    As a university professor I encounter cheating quite alot.But with my low salary, the 70 hrs I work per week and the 200+ students I teach every week, I cannot devote too much time to catching all of them. If students feel so pressured to get good grades that they must cheat, how about they dont attend college in the 1st place?

    Not everyone should be going to college-and theres no shame in that!
    Hands-on-training in specific trades is just as honorable and would probably lead to higher pay than a BA.
    And then those parents could save that 9,000$ they were paying for tuition for their cheating kid.

    October 29, 2012 at 12:41 am |
    • sir

      they should fire your sorry assssssssssssss

      October 29, 2012 at 6:52 am |
    • Hop

      You seem to feel very comfortable with cheating the school that you work for....

      October 29, 2012 at 10:10 am |
  11. Kai Kopitzke

    I find that not only do pressures come from home to get good grades, but they also come from society itself. Colleges offering scholarships based on grades and tests is my biggest pressure. I find myself putting grades over actually learning the material all the time. As a college student I have to put grades first so that i maintain my scholarship so that i can continue to attend my University.

    October 28, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • Courtney Krieger

      This is one of the most honest replies I've read. Thank you, Kai. In a society that likes to measure, we are breeding this type of behavior.

      October 31, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
  12. Kyle Kroha

    Taught as an adjunct for a community college in health professions.
    It was incredibly depressing to discover that persons who were going to take national certification boards were rampantly cheating. Mind you- they were cheating on dosing calculations and preps which will affect the health and welfare for those who are their future patients!
    I thought they should have been tossed from the program permanently on ethical grounds- we did have a two-strike rule with regard to mistakes in medical calculations & medicine dosing, but the program director was spineless, so nothing happened there.
    What broke my heart – the students who were NOT cheating brought it to my attention, because they thought, as an adjunct, that I might actually be more inclined to say something, do something (as my benefits, retirement, etc. were non-existent- I had nothing to lose.).
    We finally collected all cell phones for practicals, and stationed an additional instructor to monitor students at the different stations. We prohibited the use of personal calculators, and bought 50 simple calculators (and cleared the memory between tests/groups). We numbered the calculators and kept track for similarities in response between different users.
    I also allowed them to bring a 3×5" card of notes/info into certain exams- the act of filling out such a card results in a lot of study and review (which they realized after they filled them out! ha).

    Wished we could have done more.

    October 28, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • Martin

      You're not allowing cell phones but are allowing cheat notes?

      I applaud your efforts to stop cheating, but allowing students to bring notes to the exam defeats all your other efforts.

      October 29, 2012 at 11:56 am |
  13. eroteme

    Can cheating teachers keep their students from cheating?

    October 28, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Bre

      Kids shouldnt cheat. studying more can help kids not to cheat because they know the anwsers. other kids just always want to be right.

      November 2, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  14. c s

    I would hazard a guess that the actual percentage of student who have cheated sometimes is almost 100%. Lets face it our society demands that students do things that are physically impossible. I will give you just one example: most Introductory English courses require reading several books during the course, books like "War and Peace" which are extremely long. Now if a student was to actually read all of these books, they would have no time left for anything else and they would flunk out of college. So what happens? Have you heard of Cliff Notes? Most classes in college require at a minimum of 3 hours study time for each hour of class. Since most colleges require about 15 hours class time, this amounts to 60 hours a week. This does not include time for getting to and from classes, eating and sleeping.

    High school is a little better but as I remember it was about 40 hours a week of school time and about 10 to 20 hours of homework. That amounts to 50 to 60 hours a week. Most high school student work 15 to 20 hours a week too. If I knew now what was happening, I would have cheated too. I was one of those suckers who never cheated and could only get Cs and Bs with a few As. Now I am sure that there a few brilliant people who could get terrific grades without cheating but they were very few.

    So the simple truth is almost everyone cheats in college and everyone pretends that it is not happening. Few will admit that they cheated but that is perfectly understandable. So the cheating problem is vastly understated.

    October 28, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  15. Ryan

    Interesting fact about my high school graduating class 90 percent of the "straight A" students lost their scholarships with in the first two quaters of college. The B average students did well, as did the students who struggled but managed to get by. When the school district hear this they conducted a study and found that while the straight A students were smart they did not know how to study as well as the B students. The grades were given out due to if the teacher liked the student or they had extended the time allowed to turn in work for the A students more than the others.

    October 28, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • profart

      It is true that in this country, all too often "gifted" students are not provided with appropriate education. They are just left in regular-ed classrooms, acing everything in front of them without a single challenge, and thus have no skills for meeting a real challenging when one appears. They are left bored and without any sense of reward for effort. It is a sad, sad situation, and a waste of potentially awesome minds.

      October 28, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
      • Sourd843

        Profart? Either you are an art professor OR you are in favor of farting. Either way I'm guessing you are a freakshow but good to know you have such strong views of cheating.

        October 28, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
  16. rad666

    America's children will be taught by foreign nationals that are opening charter schools so they can get a green card.

    October 27, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
  17. Hey teacher

    Government teachers need to stop bullying the American taxpayers. They only care about their pensions, health care, and job security. F rated schools fighting for bad teachers right to teach? Bullying the parents by fighting other options. Teaching the kids that this is how you get your way. Calling people names when they don't support union propaganda. Its time for government and unions to get out of teaching. They are failing our children.

    October 27, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • allenwoll

      Those who have never taught in a classroom need urgently to STIFLE ! ! !

      October 27, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
      • Hey teacher

        I'm sorry I posted the wrong subject. I meant to say,

        Unionized government teachers are cheating American children out of their education. F rated schools are changing the standards to become B rated schools. Teachers hold organized cheat meetings where they erase and remark answers on the standardized tests that determine their schools rating. Teachers are cheating the local communities by passing kids who cant read or write or even count. Meanwhile they picket and strike for job security, calling people names if they disagree. The government should stay out of teaching and unions out of public service.

        October 28, 2012 at 12:47 am |
    • Hiernonymous

      I'm going into teaching after retiring from the military; I already coach a high school swim team while attending school on the GI Bill. My military pension is the only thing that makes teaching an economically viable choice. I look around me at the 22-23 year olds in my classes and wonder why in the world any of them would brave the lousy pay, the indifferent parents, and the scorn of the ignorant for the privilege of spending their own money on supplies for the kids and their own evenings preparing lessons and assessing student work.

      But then I get to practice and the kids show up, and I remember why. These kids haven't yet hardened into resentful, frightened jerks. They want to learn, work, and love what they're doing. And long hours and small salary are a small price to pay for the chance to help these great kids never turn into you.

      October 28, 2012 at 12:02 am |
      • allenwoll

        Hiernony - Excellent response.

        As soon as commenters weigh in on the union issue, I know that they are, alas, merely ignorant knee-jerk kibitzers ! !

        As I said, those who have not personally operated a classroom need to keep their mouths either toned-down or shut ! ! . It is so much more complicated than they imagine.

        The future is testless, relentless automated mentors !

        October 28, 2012 at 1:44 am |
      • Hey teacher

        Allenwoll says agree with me or shut up. Agree with me or I'll call you names. Agree with me or else. Thats why bullying STARTS with teachers not stops with teachers. How many innocent children have you cheated out of an education anyway. You blame the students, you blame the parents. In real life they are called customers and you would be happy to have them if your job wasnt secured by a government union.

        October 28, 2012 at 3:23 am |
      • analgogkid

        Hey Teacher – I agree with some of your points but in your effort to make a strong point you painting a complex picture with an overly broad brush and end up sounding like those you are calling out. For instance, you state that, "In real life they are called customers". Last I checked, teachers are actually real and live real lives. Yep I just pinched myself and it is not a dream. And yes, there are similarities to the business – customer relationship but the expectations are different (think no child left behind) and there is so much more richness to the teacher – student interaction. Students are not a some targeted demographic to be exploited in a drive to make a buck. They are all of the kids that walk into a classroom with all of their potential and all of their baggage. All of them. They give us goosebumps when they say something profound and demonstrate that they 'get it'. All of them. They cause us to redesign lessons, work with them before and after school, and conference with their parents when they don't. All of them. I wish I could say that I have met the needs of every single one of my students but, alas, I have not been up to the task for all of them. I have to reconcile that with myself and strive to find new ways to keep that from happening in the future.

        October 28, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • citizennigel

      I resent the fact that you blame teachers for the fact student choose to cheat. It is like blaming the government if some businessmen cheat. There has to be certain responsibility and consequences if this happens. We need to start expelling students from school, then they will get the message. Businessmen who cheat must be fined and thrown in jail.

      October 28, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
      • Hey teacher

        I'm not blaming teachers for students cheating. Im blaming unionized government teachers for holding organized cheat meetings where they erase students wrong answers and fill in the right ones on tests that determine whether their shool is fit to teach. They pass their school by cheating. Teachers do this to save their jobs because they cant teach. They've been caught, they've been convicted but they haven't been fired.

        Secondary, business people either break the law or they don't. The idea that they're cheating is just a way of bullying people that are more successful than you. Why can't the roll model be success instead of failure? People who are ahead in life shouldn't be shamed or picked on.

        October 28, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • c s

      Hey teacher – I am constantly amazed about those how have very little understanding of the job of teaching especially in a public school. Now I am not a teacher and can say with certainty that I could not do it. It is among the hardest job in our society and most thankless one too. Your comments about teachers says that you have almost zero understanding of what it takes to teach in a public school. Many good teachers leave after the first few years because they can make a lot more money easier in many other jobs. The ones that stay have to struggle with relatively low pay. Down the street from me lives a school teacher. In order to make ends, he buys and sells cars on the side and during summer. He probably make more money selling cars part time, than being a teacher.

      By federal law any student who enters a public school must be given an appropriate education. Private schools can cherry pick their students. If a student cause any problems in a private school, that student can be expelled but the nearby publican school must allow that student to attend school. Plus public schools must educate many students who are physically and/or mentally special needs. Some of these special needs students cost $20,000 to $30,000 per year because they need a full time personal attendant. The public school does not receive any extra money for these students.

      October 28, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
      • Hey teacher

        Now your talking government school administration.

        Take a walk down to your old, run down, public school, with the air conditioners barely working and the heaters that dont work. The teachers, as you pointed out, suck because the good ones all left for a real job.

        Now run up to your nice new school administration palace. Notice how nice the offices are with nice new flatscreen monitors and the nice new furniture. Look at all the people it takes to administor a handfull of schools. Ask them how much they get paid. I bet they dont put any personal money into supplies. How much extra money was spent on building it green.

        Sure, maybe I have a chip on my shoulder but shoudn't we all? Should bad teachers keep their jobs and failing schools allowed to stay open?

        Private schools provide a better education for less cost per student. Why cant people be given vouchers to the amount we're spending anyway for use at a school of their choice?

        October 28, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  18. Nik without a C

    I had seen people trying to cheat the system, but I found a way to prevent that, I tell people leave you cell phones in you case or purse. I always have a basket ready to collect Cell phones, they won't get it back until the end of class, or end of the year, I prefer end of the year. To stop cheating put it as a rule of thumb on a black board or now a white board but it must be in Bold lettering and underlined. I turn my cell phone off until till the end of class and leave it off until school is out. Cheaters will never learn, so if you stop them first hand and have a written not to the parent and explain on the cheating, then the Parent can take away the cell phone, don't let him or her use it or borrow a friends either I would suggest suspend all three and put them in Summer School in the heat.

    October 27, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • allenwoll

      How to stop cheating : Automate Education : NO tests EVER ! ! !

      October 27, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
  19. kenhbradshaw

    Cheating is wrong, but I did cheat occasionally. Now here is an odd thing. When I did cheat – for example, I copied from another paper – I found that I learned the answers as well as when the teacher taught. Please to not take that as condoning cheating. It is just an observation from my past. And I grew better, I remember in college accidentally seeing an answer that I did not know and I refuse to put it down, because I knew it was wrong. But I still remember the answer.

    October 27, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  20. andrewthall

    I am a retired teacher. I can't tell you how many times I caught students cheating. What bothers me the most is that the vast majority of those caught really didn't care that I caught them! My standard policy was to confiscate the evidence and require a parent conference with an administrator present. Afterwards, I would always offer the student an opportunity to take a make up exam with an 80 as the highest possible. score.

    The standard methods of cheating were most common - copying from another or using a "cheat sheet". More recently, the use of electronic devices has become more prevelent. I could not get my school to ban students bringing in cell phones. Parents demanded that students be allowed their posession in case of "emergency". The school board was too weak-kneed to go against the tide. The students feel that it is their "right" to have cell phones. I considered buying one of those cell phone blockes but decided against them when I found out that they were illegal and carried a possible $10,000 fine.

    I don't know what the answer is. I'm guessing if I did, my retirement would be considerably more comfortable.Schools can be built with metal screening in the walls, windows, and roofs so as to block all cell phone signals but retrofitting existing buildings would be way too expensive and impractical. Metal detectors would be nice but the lilly-livered board won't mandate them and prohibit cell phones.

    I think there would be less pressure to cheat if students were given the choice of vocational education programs rather than college prep programs.

    October 27, 2012 at 5:46 am |
    • citizennigel

      I agree with what you have said. I am a teacher and I have noticed a few students cheating in my classroom. I think there needs to be harsh consequences. Students caught cheating will be given a reprimand and their parents informed of their conduct. If they are caught cheating again, then they will be expelled and a record of their cheating filled with their grades to be submitted to colleges and universities. Maybe then students will be scared or care.

      October 28, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  21. NikkiYR

    Finding #5 is the key iny opinion

    October 26, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • NikkiYR

      my opinion

      October 26, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • sdfg

      #5 is nonsense

      October 27, 2012 at 12:38 am |
  22. Rowan

    Why would someone cheat if they know that they can get more help, and eventually would become one of the best students in their class if they got a few questions wrong. Cheating is like saying "I don't know this, I'm gong to use technology to help me.

    October 26, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
  23. NC

    The author completely misses the mark here. Cheating stops when students are encouraged to pursue their visions, dreams, and passions, rather than forced to learn what educators expect them to learn. As long as students are evaluated and graded by jumping through others hoops, cheating will remain an integral part of the equation.

    October 26, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • citizennigel

      I disagree with you on what you have said. The curriculum is often mandated by the State Department if it is a public school, so teachers have no say in what is to be taught. I think too much blame is put on teachers.

      October 28, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
      • NC

        It seems to me that you've agreed with what I said. It's the system that's dysfunctional, and teachers are merely dancing to this dysfunctional tune.

        October 29, 2012 at 10:25 am |
  24. oldteacher

    sigh.........and then there are the parents... one, a rather arrogant upper middle class man, when confronted with the 8 pages of worked out test answers on an algebra test hidden under his daughter's blank paper, requested a meeting with me and the principal insisted that we record the infraction as a "failure to follow test taking directions" (I declined).... Another mother vehemently denied her son would ever do such a thing and insisted I give him the grade he'd earned, which I did since he was blatantly copying answers from the girl across from him, who had a different version of the test, so yeah, a zero, rightfully graded and earned. But it's the parents, both the pressure and the desire for grades regardless of what's been learned and and utter lack of morality.

    October 26, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
  25. Dearth Verbose

    If students studied in their own way in their own time and in their own home there would be no need to cheat as they can then study to MASTERY and of course their parents would avoid the unnecessary and IMMENSE cost of formal education.

    October 26, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      The Devil will be ice skating in southern hell before more than 20% of students start caring about learning.

      October 27, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
  26. rh

    Preventing cheating:
    1) Have special LARGE rooms reserved for exams. We pack in 40 or 50 students in a regular room, and they expect them to take exams without cheating. I reserve an extra room, and send a teaching assistant over to watch half the class – everyone sits every other row so it is more difficult to cheat.

    2) Minimize the impact of off-site work. We have online homework, but it takes a lot of time and students get randomized numbers for 75% of the questions.

    3) Have an honor pledge with every activity. It won't prevent all cheaters, but may help a few on the edge.

    4) NO CELL PHONES or other devices, other than a calculator. Also realize that most calculators can remember formulas and conversions; give everyone the formulas and conversion if appropriate.

    5) Remember that A students do cheat. We caught a student using an iPad THREE times during a final exam. The first two times he was warned, the third time his test was taken away and he got a zero on the final. He was getting an A in the class, complained a lot but in the end, passed with a C because his grades were good before.

    Cheating CAN be prevented, it is a lazy teacher or professor who does not take steps to prevent it.

    October 26, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  27. palintwit

    Countless studies have shown that there is a higher incidence of incest and child molestation among southern, white evangelical families than in any other group that participated in the study. Experts agree that this type of deviant behavior is generally a result of living in close quarters, such as trailer parks. Anyone requiring further proof only has to take a casual drive south of the Mason-Dixon line where you will encounter toothless inbreds wherever you travel. In fact, historians have long theorized that the reason the south lost the Civil War is because of the high number of mentally challenged soldiers in the army, a direct result of generations of inbreeding.

    October 26, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • Anon Ymous

      Abuse

      October 27, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Frederick1337

      Interesting opinion. And you don't see that these toothless inbreds as you call them, might have been kept purposefully from proper housing and dental care? These toothless inbreds as you call em were not only the ones who lost their jobs when they brought over black slaves to replace them, they are also the ones who betrayed the confederate army ( which incidently might be why they still have nothing ) and why your black ass is free today. Shoulda kept blacks on welfare, then there would he more jobs for whites. In fact, if we just put their Mexican slaves on welfare, we would both have a job.

      October 28, 2012 at 12:23 am |
  28. Raven

    How about we take the cell phones out of classrooms? There's no need for them in class, and that would drastically reduce the cheating.

    October 26, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • rh

      In my son's HS, they have to put all their backpacks and other things away during ALL tests, including cell phones. Being caught with a cell phone during a test equals a zero grade. You'd think teachers at a HS requiring an entrance exam would be smarter than that.

      October 26, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  29. Philip Dailey

    An interesting element here is the nature of the assessment. As a teacher of 30+ years experience, I say that there are ways of making assessments such that they cannot be cheated on. Instead of asking students to recall information, un-cheatable assessments ask students to apply the knowledge. This way, every student’s answer will be different. Consider: instead of giving a problem to be solved by a math formula, ask the student to devise a problem that would need the formula to solve; instead of asking which presidential special power would be used in a given situation, ask the student to describe a situation in which this special power would be used and explain; rather than asking students to identify which literary technique is used in a given sample, ask the students to identify a passage that uses a certain literary technique. In this way, no two students should have the same answer and yet the assessment is valid.

    October 26, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Oakspar

      It does not even take that much effort. Simply moving from multiple choice and fill in the blank tests to ones that have to be answered in sentences, paragraphs, or essays. It is much harder to copy and much easier to spot cheating in such a format.

      Of course, it also makes test take longer to grade, and in the instant gratification age students (and their parents) want grades in virtual real time – so good luck with that.

      Students will also find some ways to cheat – so stiff punishment (failure of the assignment, term, or even the course) are all good places to start – since that is what happens to people who cheat in life when they are caught. The rich are made poor (Madoff), the speeders are made late (by the ticketing officer taking his time), and the unfaithful are divorced, made poor, and stigmatized.

      October 26, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
  30. Lynay

    We all get tempted to cheat, and I don't know how to this day that I haven't cheated in any class or test other than I needed to be true to myself. If I can't succeed honestly, I figured, then I'm not good enough to get the better score and need to work harder/smarter to get better or find another class/line of work which I can succeed, because sooner or later, the weakness(es) would catch up in whatever I do. I want to earn what I truly deserved, and the weaknesses that show are places I know I need to work on to improve. Life isn't always fair, but I don't want to deprive someone more deserving with my higher score or take the lazy way out by cheating. If ethics are really this bad in this country, we need to hold honesty as a standard better. "The ends don't justify the means".

    October 25, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • JeramieH

      +1. Same here, I never cheated because I fundamentally understood the purposes of an exam was to test of how well you understood the material. And believe me, some of my grades reflected how poorly I understood the material, but I took it like a man because it was an honest reflection of me.

      II believe we focus far too much on "winning" (especially at any cost) and have lost our perspective on life.

      October 26, 2012 at 10:39 am |
  31. JakeF

    Cheating? I prefer to think of it as creatively enhancing your grade. (which should earn the cheater extra credit)

    /no, I'm not serious, so relax

    October 25, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
  32. medschoolkid

    Personally I think the cheating issue solves itself. Sure I have cheated in a class before. But at the point I'm at I would be wasting more time trying to cheat than actually learning the material. Those who only knew how to cheat and never learned how to actually study will not make it in the real world; at least not in a fulfilling, meaningful way. Anyone who thinks they can get through life by just cheating will in all likelihood fail miserably.

    October 25, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • rh

      Exactly. I make very long tests, where memorizing the answers would be foolhardy and more difficult than learning the material.

      October 26, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  33. Mike Spurlock

    OMG Denise Pope is exactly why people hate on liberals. She doesnt want parents to ask "How did you do on the exam?" because it is too threatening to the child!. She uses silly contorted statistics to advocate for more money, tax payer money, to educate teachers on how to be more caring and supportive of their students, so the students don't cheat. Oh brother!

    October 25, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • Barbra & Jack Donachy

      Mike: Puzzling response. In her article, Ms. Pope identifies a fairly serious problem. She continues to offer a few reasonable solutions. And, without offering any alternative solutions, you name-call/pigeon-hole her as a "liberal" and from there leap straight to unreasoned anger. Do some reading. One of the commonalities among students who don't cheat is – precisely as Ms. Pope points out – teachers and parents who emphasize effort and skill acquisition rather than grades. Grades, after all, can be manipulated (inflated, etc.) in numerous ways; but learning to work hard, to persevere, and to acquire new knowledge are life-long skills that truly benefit kids.

      October 25, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
  34. Lou Cypher

    Life is an open-book test, and so is education.

    'Cheating' is the rejection of the arbitrary and capricious rules made by inept bullies masquerading as teachers.

    The 'cheaters' are the liberators of themselves, and shall menace tyrants their whole lives.

    October 25, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • IfonlyIthot

      Lou, you are so clever. Almost sound profound, as well.

      October 25, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  35. larry5

    Doesn't cheating prepare them for a government job? Why play it straight expecting a job in the private sector? Obama's new Secret Service is full of agents that cheat and game the system. Other agencies cheat on expense accounts, allow contractors to bill for work not done and spend government money on anything they like. Cheating is like an audition for one of these government jobs. And the worst cheater of all, Obama. Want to start a green company and cheat the taxpayers out of a half a billion dollars. Obama's your man. Cheating is a find government tradition and students are just doing their part.

    October 25, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • dieseltdi

      I don't know about preparing for a government job but it certainly is good training for the position of CEO, CFO or COO of a major US company. Especially if it is a bank or major mortgage company.

      October 25, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
  36. duckforcover

    How about teaching children some self-respect, honor, and morals before this sort of peer pressure starts? Start with the proper foundation and you don't have to "fix" all the problems. Of course this could be difficult as it requires a good role model.

    October 25, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • dieseltdi

      That would require parents that are involved in their children's lives and teaching them what is right and wrong at home, instead of parking them in front of the TV, Video games or computer to keep them busy and out of their hair. Heaven forbid that the children's need interfere with the parent's lifestyle.

      October 25, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • JeramieH

      And also relax the "my child must win at any cost" soccer dad mentality.

      October 26, 2012 at 10:41 am |
  37. Alex

    Why on Earth would you prohibit cheating? Cheating is a great art and in preparation for the cheating, students actually absorb the curriculum and learn sometimes more than in class. So cheating is good :-)

    October 25, 2012 at 11:37 am |
  38. Sam

    Very sweet but totally oblivious to the rampant cheating done by TEACHERS and SCHOOL OFFICIALS! The newspaper in Atlanta has exposed this crime and over 100 educators in that school system are facing loss of job and or teaching certificate. The paper has also exposed the same situations in both major and minor school systems nationwide (but those districts are quick to dismiss with claims of "always a rotten apple in the bunch." Denise Pope needs to be realistic – teachers and educators whose jobs and salaries depend on the kids grades are just as guilty of this shameful act as the kids.... but the adults should and do know better. To them its greed.

    October 25, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • a teacher

      So, you assume I "let" my kids cheat because I'm a teacher and am looking out for my salary because I am greedy? Wrong. There is a zero tolerance policy in my classroom for cheating including even speaking out during an assessment and any form of cheating equals an automatic zero. If you teach your students what they need to know by teaching them HOW TO LEARN and to take pride in their learning then cheating becomes a non-issue.

      October 25, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
      • JakeF

        Oh teacher. You too are a hypocrite.

        Are you going to tell us you're part of the 3% that didn't admit to cheating? You know you shouldn't tell lies, either.

        October 25, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
      • April Schlesinger

        To JakeF:
        I am a 9th year history teacher at a NYC public high school. How DARE you make such an assumption. Just as the media sensationalizes when the police or clergy or government officials are corrupt, they do the same with teachers. There are bad apples in every profession. Let me give you some facts. Due to the federal, city and state governments, there has been a huge increased demand for "data". At the same time that we have less time to really teach, the rules concerning discipline have made it so that it is almost impossible to hold students accountable for their behavior. Look up the NYC discipline code on the DOE website and you'll see for yourself; insubordination will no longer even lead to a possible suspension! I can personally attest to putting in countless hours every day lesson planning, grading and teaching... Not just for the regents exams, but things that are valuable. I am by far not the only teacher who does this. The majority of my colleagues LOVE to teach, but are beyond frustrated because we receive almost no support. Teachers deserve respect, not not being treated like the enemy.

        October 25, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • HR

      I totally agree with you. I went to a high school at which cheating was a common practice in all of my AP classes (except maybe two or three). By "common practice," I mean teachers knew about it and did nothing. A couple of times we were lectured about academic integrity, but those involved never faced consequences. On one occassion, a teacher even gave extra credit to the cheaters who failed an exam, but would not allow those of us who did not cheat to earn extra points. When one student spoke out about this via the school newspaper, several affluent parents contacted the principal in an uproar that the article would hurt their precious darlings' chances of receiving a scholarship. Of course, the principal supported the parents with the deep pockets.

      As long as we continue to play politics in education, our students will continue to have these problems. As Pope stated, it's a matter of "cheat or be cheated."

      October 29, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  39. spent

    Looks as though parent's fail again. Human nature takes over and only one thing can defy the human element we all possess. Most people are not open for that for it would require change in actions and most people do not want to change. Lie, cheat, steal....etc.

    October 25, 2012 at 10:55 am |
  40. Gojo

    Had a professor who told us in college that if you were seen being cheated on you got points deducted. The point was to show that in the real world people will take from you and get credit for it. And, that you need to protect yourself and your work, or suffer the consequences. Cheating with cellphones... good thing it's not a spelling contest

    October 25, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • JP

      Geez, when did you go to college? After all the crap they told me in High School I thought college was going to be some cram in the facts study all day place. Nobody cared about the facts (because they assume everyone can memorize them if they wanted). All that matters is your writing, research and public speaking ability.

      Every test I ever took for my Chemistry and Statistics undergraduate degree classes were open book (even math tests). In lab work you used detailed lab sheets telling you every step and then had a week to write the report of the results with your lab partner. The one thing they are terrible at in H.S. is teaching you essay/research paper writing (having several weeks to write papers).

      MY professor told us we could always look up the answers online or in a book but the important thing was to cite your source, make clear decisions based upon researched results, and produce, reliably, any product or service our employers desired. You were even allowed to cite your classmates notes or ideas.

      You cheat in High School because so much depends on your passing, you buy into all the crap people tell you, you have to get up at 5 freaking 30 AM to catch a bus at 5:45 AM. Peer pressure dictates you have a 'group', meaning you have afterschool activities with that group (3-6pm typically), then you do the recommended minimum 10 minutes of homework for each grade level (aka 1.5 – 2 hrs, depending on grade which puts you at ~8 pm). BUT, don't forget you have parents expecting you to be nice and responsible doing family chores and dinner and helping with the pets so typically you get all this and homework done by 11 pm, giving you 5-6 hours of sleep before getting up and doing it all again.

      October 25, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
      • medschoolkid

        Where did you go to college? I hope your undergrad degree wasn't some sort of science. Suggesting an open book test in my chemistry classes would have been laughable. Believe it or not I actually have to recall a good bit of that chemistry on a daily basis. Sure its a bit pointless to memorize every enzyme involved in some biochemical pathway, but a lot of the basic stuff I have to think about and I definitely don't have time to look it up. If you would have taken a graduate entry exam like the MCAT you would understand the importance of memorizing.

        October 25, 2012 at 4:53 pm |