Cheating On The Rise; Technology Is The Culprit

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Beata Abramek

New improvements in technology are not as beneficial in education as one may think.



Be it the latest smart watch, iPad, tablet or smartphone, these devices are creating opportunities for students to cheat on exams, homework and class assignments, students and experts said.

In the 1940s, 20 percent of college students admitted to cheating in high school. Today, between 75 and 98 percent of college students each year report having cheated in high school, according to the website

According to a 2011 survey by the Josephson Institute of Ethics of 12,000 high school students, 74 percent admitted to cheating on an exam at some point during the past year.

Although cheating has been going on for years, cell phones and the Internet provide fast ways for students to look up answers on a pop quiz, experts say. Some students use mobile phones to store notes, take photos of tests and pass them on to others and to search the Internet for answers.

This has led to many problems in schools. In 2014, school officials at Middleton High School in Wisconsin took away all cell phones from students after uncovering cheating involving students photographing tests. In Orange County, California, hundreds of students’ scores on Advanced Placement tests were wiped away after some students texted during the exam.

Jeff McMurdy, director of the organization Character Counts, said it is up to individual schools to prevent cheating by creating an atmosphere of trust and safety.

“If you have an environment where (students) feel safe, not bullied or cyberbullied…it absolutely impacts academic performance,” he said.

Other experts say policing technology-aided cheating is difficult. Matthew Lynch, dean of the school of education, psychology and interdisciplinary studies at Virginia Union University, told EdWeek that students who cheat in K-12 classrooms are rarely caught.

“There are no formulas written on in the insides of hands or students looking across the aisle, or whispering answers to their classmates,” he said. “Today’s students use smartphones, tablets or even in-class computers to aid their cheating endeavors and leave no trace of their crimes.”

High school students readily admit that cheating is a problem.

“Schools tend to ignore cheating in the classroom, and this is an issue that they need to raise instead of acting as if it is okay,” said Sojin Kim, a senior Cherry HIll High School East in New Jersey. “A lot of students don’t feel guilty about cheating and almost feel pride when they brag about not getting caught.”

She said she has witnessed a lot of different ways that students use technology to cheat, such as smart watches and mobile phones.

Alexis Cole, a senior at the Co-Op High School, New Haven, said that she gets mad when people cheat off her work.

Adrian Sanchez, a senior at the Journalism and Media Academy Magnet School in Hartford, said, “Everyone cheats. Students would not be happy if their technology was taken away.”

Alexandra Diaz, a junior at the Achievement First Amistad High School in New Haven, said, “Cheating in my school is very rare.  It is very easy to catch them.” If a student gets caught, he or she gets an F and face suspension for two days, Diaz said.

Beata Abramek is a student at New Britain High School.



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