It’s no secret that students cheat in school. In fact, many have no qualms with admitting that they cheat and how they do it. A recent episode of Dr. Phil highlighted high schoolers that admit they cheat to get ahead in school but do so because of the tremendous pressure that they’re under. The students also say that they’re not alone in this. Said one student, “I copy homework, but I think everyone does that.”
Well, maybe not everyone cheats, but about 75 percent of high schoolers do, according to a 2002 CNN article. And college students aren’t much better. In November of last year, a group of about 200 senior-level businesses students at the University of Central Florida admitted to having received an exam before taking it. These students were required to retake the exam and complete an ethics seminar in order to remain in class and have their record free of cheating allegations. Whether the students will actually learn anything at an ethics seminar is another topic entirely, but at least they were required to go. More teachers need to take steps like this to try and teach their students that cheating isn’t tolerated.
Even though it’s the responsibility of the student to uphold their academic integrity, teachers have to do their best to make sure that their students have as little opportunity as possible to cheat. Here are some tips to help curb the cheating habit:
Don’t give students any tests to do outside of class that you fully expect them to do alone. Because that’s not going to happen. When you say the words “take-home” test to a student they really hear: “Here’s an opportunity to use your friends and book to answer the questions.” If those things are fine with you, then give as many as you want.
Walk around the room while students are testing. Test days may seem like opportunities to get grading done but when teachers are concentrating on the homework papers on their desks, students know they aren’t concentrating on them. Teachers should get up and take a stroll around the room. They don’t need to stop behind any student’s desk and watch them. That’s just rude. All teachers need to do is let students know that they are paying attention. It’s much harder for a student to hide their cell phone from a professor when they can see them from all sides.
When a student is caught cheating, don’t make it a secret. Teachers have to make sure the other students know that they don’t take this stuff lightly. If during a test, rip the test in half–the more dramatic, the better. Nobody wants to be embarrassed like that.
Be suspicious. Too many students get away with cheating because a teacher may not want to accuse them of anything. An “accidentally” open binder sitting in plain sight is there for a reason. Many times teachers don’t even have to accuse the student to thwart their dishonest deed. Walk over to the binder and close it. Remove extra papers from a desk. They don’t have to say anything. The student will know why the teacher did it and if it turns out they weren’t cheating, then at least the teacher is being cautious.
While these tips aren’t very complex, they remove a lot of options that students have to cheat. In a perfect world, students would know that cheating gets them nowhere, but then again, in a perfect world there would be no cheating to begin with.