Cheating on Tests: How to Do It, Detect It, and Prevent It

Cheating on Tests: How to Do It, Detect It, and Prevent It

Cheating on Tests: How to Do It, Detect It, and Prevent It

Cheating on Tests: How to Do It, Detect It, and Prevent It


This is the first book to offer a comprehensive look at the problem of cheating on assessments (tests) across all levels of the American educational system. It is organized around seven major objectives that identify this problem by:
1. introducing and defining the problem of cheating and documenting the extent of its occurrence;
2. cataloging and presenting information on the methods used to cheat on tests;
3. providing information on methods useful for preventing cheating;
4. describing methods used to detect cheating once it has occurred;
5. synthesizing what is known about predispositions, correlates, and cultural differences in cheating;
6. summarizing legal issues related to cheating; and
7. illustrating ways in which individuals and institutions respond to cheating.

Cheating on Tests is informally written using a minimum of professional jargon and numerous anecdotes and cases. Technical information is largely confined to end-of-book appendices. It will appeal to all serious stakeholders in our educational system from parents and school board members to professionals directly connected to our schools and the testing industry.


I must reveal some previously unconfessed personal behavior related to the topic of this book. Like the notorious habits of Chicago voters, I began cheating early and often. In 1970, I was in seventh grade at St. Antoninus, a Catholic elementary school located in suburban Cincinnati, Ohio. It is easy for me now, as a professor of education, to see that I cannot be held completely responsible for cheating. Infinitely more culpable were the curricular materials used at my school. I blame SRA.

My school had a terrific academic reputation and produced solid academic success. The competent faculty, composed of Dominican Sisters as well as lay teachers, was respected by the students. The facilities were adequate and well maintained. Parental support for academic achievement was noteworthy. An ethos of high scholastic expectations was palpable. The only flaw, as I see it, was the curriculum. Specifically, the SRA reading laboratories, or "SRA Labs" as we called them.

SRA is the acronym of a company, Science Research Associates, that produced instructional materials for use in schools. The SRA reading materials were part of our language arts curriculum. The Labs consisted of a paperboard box, with dimensions of approximately 18 x 18 x 18 inches. The box housed a series of 100 or more color-coded cards and card-stock strips. Approximately a dozen or so of the cards were color-coded Aquamarine, a dozen Lavender, a dozen Magenta, and so on. (Remember this, because the color coding of the SRA system was a key factor in my cheating.)

The SRA cards (called "Skill Builders," I think) provided individual instruction in various language arts skills or concepts. For example, a Skill Builder might provide instruction and practice on the concept of synonyms and antonyms; another might cover identifying main ideas in a passage. Each Skill Builder also had, on the . . .

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