The cheating dilemma


Jocelyn Leal, Editor-in-Chief

The way students are learning this year has changed due to different class modalities and students attending school in person, as well as others participating in online learning. While this has changed many different aspects of learning, the one thing it has not changed- and even caused more of an increase- is students cheating.

It is not uncommon for students to find a way around studying for their next test or not doing their homework, but as students get older and classes get more rigorous, cheating becomes more tempting. A frequent reason for this is teachers pushing students to get through lessons as fast as possible, causing students to not fully grasp the material and not have time to study or ask for help. Teachers are also forced to move faster each year so that they can teach all of the material before the end of the year tests to meet the curriculum created by the school board.

Brick-and-mortar love– Junior Jayme Prandine does her work in AP U.S. History. Prandine liked being full time in school because it enabled her to have better interactions with her teachers. “I’m a full time student and get better interactions, but I know many hybrid and online peers who don’t feel a strong enough connection to their courses. I find disconnection to be a major factor in creating cheating habits…” said Prandine.

This fast paced teaching style put forth by the school board makes school overly stressed on the grades students receive, not if they are learning the material, making students more inclined to cheat. Now that school is mostly online, cheating is more prevalent.

“Almost every test during this school year is taken online via phone or computer which makes it painfully tempting to cheat on assessments,” said junior Jayme Prandine.

Sal Khan, the creator of Khan Academy, made an excellent point about this style of teaching in his TED talk, “Let’s teach for mastery- not test scores,” saying that students get to a lesson and the teacher guides students through notes on that topic. The students then go home and do the homework, and come back to learn something new the next day. Then, a few weeks later, the students take a test, and even if the students get a 75, a 90, or a 95, the class moves on to a different- more challenging- topic that builds on the subject that the students do not understand fully.

“I didn’t know 25 percent of the more foundational thing, and now I’m being pushed to the more advanced thing. And this will continue for months, years, all the way until at some point, I might be in an algebra class or trigonometry class and I hit a wall… To appreciate how absurd that is, imagine if we did other things in our life that way. Say, home-building,” stated Khan.

Many students are affected by this lack of mastery, especially now, when online students may not have access to the ability to ask questions and fully engage with the lesson at home as they would in class, and teachers just keep moving faster and faster, leaving behind the students who do not learn at that pace.

This is the environment that breeds cheating, as students look to fill their gaps of knowledge for a brief time- like a test or quiz- because they missed out on the materials they needed to succeed.

Not all teachers are dealing with this though. In both her AP and Honors Chemistry classes, Ms. Miller does her best to teach in class and at-home students alike while also cracking down on cheating.

“In class, I make sure that when my students are taking a test, I am engaged in them taking the test; I’m watching them take the test to try and minimize them cheating. I do have multiple versions of tests and students who are at home have to be on a conference on their phone they have to set their phone to where I can see their desktop and computer… I make sure my students take the test during their class period,” stated Miller.

Focus, Focus- Junior Beatrice Nichols works hard on an assignment doing school online. Nichols decided to switch from e-learning to brick-and-mortar. “I really enjoy in school a lot more because I get to see my friends and it’s easier to learn in person.” said Nichols.

Miller also makes sure that students are engaged both online and in-class, calling on students on a conference randomly as well as in class to make sure they are participating, and making everything that is done in class available to students online, doing her best to make sure that students learn the material and are prepared to use the knowledge they have gained in the future.

And while cheating will not go away, there are always positives to look forward to in the areas of learning.

“I really think that this is all based on the idea that if we let people tap into their potential by mastering concepts, by being able to exercise agency over their learning, that they can get there,” said Khan.