« Success at a Price | Main | Learning by Doing »

The Temptation to Cheat

| 6 Comments

It is the season for school report cards, and I’ve seen a number of news clips about student progress and overall school performance on state tests reported under the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

But alongside the coverage of test results, a parallel story line is playing out in many places. Cheating seems to be on the rise, or at least reports and allegations of it. Some observers have noted that with higher stakes comes a greater propensity to cheat on tests. And with the threat of school reconstitution, staff firings, and student retention linked to test scores, the stakes are pretty high.

Last month, the Dallas Morning News, which has conducted an extensive investigation of state test scores over the past year, found new evidence of cheating in some schools. In this news story, reporter Joshua Benton describes the case of Forest Brook High School. The newspaper uncovered suspicious patterns in the school’s test scores over the past two years in an analysis that led to a state investigation. The Texas Education Agency concluded that there was not enough evidence that cheating was involved in the school’s impressive test results.
As Benton reports, however, “the school’s scores collapsed” this year when state monitors “watched over every stage of the testing process in an attempt to prevent any potential misdeeds.”

Similar reports have surfaced in California and other states.

Across the pond, officials in the United Kingdom are dealing with similar issues, as reported today by the BBC, which has been conducting its own investigation.

“Cheating by teachers is so extensive that Chris Woodhead, the former head of the education standards watchdog OFSTED, says the league tables used by parents to differentiate between schools have become unreliable,” this BBC story reports.

The adults aren’t the only ones feeling the pressure. Students, too, are turning to cheating to ensure good grades.

The Plymouth-Canton Community Schools, a middle- class district outside of Detroit, decided this month to ban cell phones in classrooms to help head off cheating. Other districts across the United States have already taken that step. Many also require students to have their school assignments screened by software programs that are designed to identify plagiarized materials.

Is cheating an unintended but inevitable consequence of a high-stakes testing environment?

6 Comments

Cheating among students is a major problem in the schools today. One can provide enormous amounts of anecdotal evidence of this trend. For example, I've had my teacher's edition stolen by students twice in three years (my edition looks exactly the same as the student edition). I've caught many cheating, suspected even more of cheating, and have had discussions with several students about this phenomenon. One student, when I informed him that I had never cheated because it was repugnant to the moral code I try to live by, simply stated that I must be lying. Everyone, in his opinion, cheats. Moreover, some do not even see certain acts as cheating. For example, copying each other's homework is not cheating. Students who might not cheat on a test have no compunction about copying each other's homework.
Yet, this should come as no surprise to anyone. In a world of high stakes testing, the stakes are no less high for students than they are for their teachers. Grades determine whether or not they can get into a good college; yet, at the same time, they are supposed to be "well-rounded" and engage in a multitude of various extracurricular activities. Add in an after-school job, and students are in a major time crunch. Many look upon cheating as the only way to meet all of the requirements. Furthermore, cheating is the easy out; in a society where the easy out is the most chosen option (just look at NCLB), is it any surprise that our children are also choosing this option?

I don't know that cheating is an inevitable consequence of "high stakes testing" as much as it is a consequence of a detachment from learning and teaching. Tests are a measure of learning--no one really had a problem with tests until the scores were made public and the instruments standardized so that valid comparisons could be made.

Teachers who are truly passionate about teasing out the way that students learn and how to engage them in the curriculum (because it matters to them in some instrinsic way) not only produce students who score acceptably on tests, but oughtened by bothered by them. On the other hand, teachers who are merely comfortable in the classroom and enjoy some of the tasks of teaching--without a high level of concern about learning produced (this doesn't make them bad, or even uncaring or lazy people), are facing a challenge and a change now. If they (and their students) have an underlying belief that the curriculum lacks relevance for their students, or that some of their students cannot learn the material--cheating (in all its forms--sneaking peaks at the tests and creating "study guides," coaching students to "look again" when they have bubbled a wrong answer, or out and out changing answers) seems to make sense.

Likewise, if the point of a homework assignment seems to be to hand in a page covered with writing (as opposed to producing one of those enjoyable brain explosions when something new is figured out) to get a check in a gradebook, copying seems to work well (in fact, I have had teachers encourage my son to use this method--but then he has learning disabilities and they don't believe he is capable of actually learning the stuff).

Temptation to Cheat has become a social diseases and at times people fail to show resilience such temptation. When the coloful curtain is removed, they get frustrated. Its better to visit a Narconon Vista Bay to remove your frustration, arising out of such cheat.

Great stuff! for youngsters.The newspaper uncovered suspicious patterns in the school’s test scores over the past two years in an analysis that led to a state investigation. The Texas Super Mario Defense Education Agency concluded that there was not enough evidence that cheating was involved in the school’s impressive.

Youngsters got a good opportunity....Cheating seems to be on the rise, or at least reports and allegations of it. Some observers have noted that with higher stakes comes a greater propensity to cheat on tests. And with the threat of school reconstitution, staff firings, and student retention linked to test scores.really nice sharing.
facia plate

One can provide enormous amounts of anecdotal evidence of this trend. For example, I've had my teacher's edition stolen by students twice in three years (my edition looks exactly the same as the student edition). I've caught many cheating, suspected even more of cheating, and have had discussions with several students about this phenomenon. One student, when I informed him that I had never cheated because it was repugnant to the moral code I try to live by, simply stated that I must be lying.

Comments are now closed for this post.

Advertisement

Recent Comments

  • club penguin: One can provide enormous amounts of anecdotal evidence of this read more
  • green wishel: Youngsters got a good opportunity....Cheating seems to be on the read more
  • nasel vein: Great stuff! for youngsters.The newspaper uncovered suspicious patterns in the read more
  • amit govil: Temptation to Cheat has become a social diseases and at read more
  • Margo/Mom: I don't know that cheating is an inevitable consequence of read more

Archives

Categories

Technorati

Technorati search

» Blogs that link here