Teachers: Recognize Important Steps to Reduce Cheating

Article excerpt

Teachers must walk the steps and live the steps if reducing cheating is going to occur. Teachers begin this process by being cognizant and vigilant relative to administering means of measurement and assigning written work. This process includes skill acquisition in regards to: (1) acknowledging cheating, (2) purposeful planning, (3) electronic cheating, (4) ingenious tricks and (5) academic integrity.

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Cheating can be employed by students in multiple ways with sincerity or foolishness. According to Bracey (2005, p. 412), "... 75% of high school students admitted to having cheated on a test." Further, Goode, (2007, p. 1) states "three-quarters of all high-school and college students admit to cheating on tests and papers. Not only do they cheat, but they justify their behavior as business as usual." In an effort to reduce cheating, teachers must take steps to assure that their instructional repertoire encompasses valid means of assessment (VMA) relative to student performance. Teachers begin this process by being cognizant and vigilant relative to administering means of measurement and assigning written work. This process includes skill acquisition in regards to:

(1) acknowledging cheating, (2) purposeful planning, (3) electronic cheating, (4) ingenious tricks and (5) academic integrity.

Acknowledging Cheating

Cheating is defined as "to act dishonestly" (Dictionary.com, 2008). "Academic cheating is ... highly prevalent and an ongoing problem at all grade levels" (Finn & Frone (2004, p. 120). According to McCabe (2001) students report that cheating occurs more frequently than teachers realize, and that it is too often simply ignored. Teachers are encouraged to be aware of the opportunities students have in our computer-age society and how astute they can be with various methods. Further, the milieu established by teachers may contribute to student cheating. These may include the assignment(s), seating arrangement, teacher's disposition, behavior, and/or actions to name a few.

Acknowledging cheating is the first step, and it begins with teachers. When teachers begin to control variables that prevent cheating, a trend is being reversed and higher levels of learning are ensured.

Purposeful Planning

"Prudent teachers take steps to prevent cheating"(Supon, 2004, p. 294). These steps include prevention when planning learning experiences relative to preparing tests and writing papers. Tests as well as written assignments need to be developed to avoid students simply recounting the information. Test questions must include higher order thinking where they compare/contrast a topic with three to five key aspects. True and false questions provide a 50/50 percent chance of guessing. Why use them? Reviews are not to be the exact information as on the test. These are common sense guidelines teachers can employ when exercising test development.

When planning assignments that require writing papers, "key elements of cheat-resistant papers" are: 1) awareness of how and why students plagiarize, 2) avoid using the same topics year after year, 3) choose topics of high interest to students, 4) tie topics to students' experiences, 5) require higher level thinking skills, 6) require creative responses, 7) provide a range of topic choices that fit the objective, 8) engage students in all phases of the writing process, and 9) teach and practice source documentation (Bernard, 2000, p. 41). It is astute to align your assignments with the designated content standards from your state in the United States.

These steps encourage students to recognize the writing process, with revisions as necessary. They begin to comprehend that writing is not a once and done job--it is a process more than a product. In the process, they are acquiring skills and being provided with the value of doing the writing by themselves.

Electronic Cheating

E-cheating is quick and simple for students (Renard, 2000). …