PDA

View Full Version : Cheating in High School



WriterInterrupte
07-30-2012, 11:20 PM
Hi Everyone,

Nothing is making me feel older right now than trying to figure out how teens cheat in high school these days, considering that I did not have texting and camera phones when I was in school!

So I was hoping for a little assistance from any younger people or those with better knowledge than I have. A character in my YA novel is very smart and is cheating for a handful of popular students for money. How should I have him cheat? Currently he is taking pictures of a test with his camera, and sending it to the others. And how much do you think he would ask in payment? He has been doing this for a while.

I have a teacher friend who told me that many teachers are saavy enough to collect the students' phones before a test (or at least make them out of reach). Is that pretty standard practice in high school these days? What else do teachers do to curb cheating? Cheating just seems so much more commonplace; is it? I attended a private school with a very strict honor system, and while I know cheating certainly occurred, it wasn't frequent.

Also, final question: What kind of punishment would a student face if caught doing such a thing? I have them facing being expelled for one week and one would also lose a wrestling scholarship. Maybe someone has more specific information.

Thank you so much for any help.

Anne :)

Orion11Bravo
07-31-2012, 01:38 AM
Hi Anne...I actually just read an article about a massive cheating scandal at Stuyvesant (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/10/nyregion/70-students-at-stuyvesant-to-retake-exams-after-cheating-case.html?pagewanted=all)in NYC and the students were made to take the test over again. I'm a teacher in upstate NY, and I can say that we definitely make students turn off their phones before a state test...some of the more hard core teachers make them take out the batteries, but I've never done that. We can't confiscate the phones...well, we can, but a teacher did once and had the phone stolen from them, was taken to small claims court and had to fork over something like $300. Almost no precautions are taken for regular old classroom quizzes and tests, by the way...not from anyone I know, anyway. Just standardized state tests.

So if a student says the phone is off, or just claims not to have one, then they could theoretically have it to cheat with. I think taking pictures is a little dramatic...if its an MC test why not just text a strand of letters? Kids can do that without looking at their phone.

The question of payment is a free market question. Why do the kids give a shit? Do they need to just pass, or do they need to score a certain percentage for some reason? The kids I have only care about passing...a 65 is the same as a 95 to most of them. How many people in the school are capable and willing give up answers (supply) and how many need answers/how badly do they need them (demand). Also, how much cash is available...my instinct says they are going to spend a lot less than you think.

Punishment, if it's a public school, will be that the test is voided. They will have to take the test again because it's a requirement for graduation. Expulsion, I think, is an empty threat, at least where I work...I'm under the impression that it's difficult to expel someone from a public school, and the infraction would have to be something more along the lines of violence (weapons, fire, etc.).

I only had one kid, that I know of, cheat on a state test, and he did it the old fashion way. His sister wrote him his essay on scrap paper and passed it to him, and he copied it down. Too bad she used the same essay, word for word. Their tests were voided...they took it again this past June (him in a room by his lonely).

DrunkenLilacs
07-31-2012, 01:42 AM
Hi Everyone,

Nothing is making me feel older right now than trying to figure out how teens cheat in high school these days, considering that I did not have texting and camera phones when I was in school!

So I was hoping for a little assistance from any younger people or those with better knowledge than I have. A character in my YA novel is very smart and is cheating for a handful of popular students for money. How should I have him cheat? Currently he is taking pictures of a test with his camera, and sending it to the others. This is about the most popular way to cheat. Many of my friends do it this way and distribute the picture to anyone who asks for the answers. Of course, they would have to trust that the answers are from someone who usually does well on their tests. Some people also post the pictures on a private Facebook page for that class. And how much do you think he would ask in payment? I don't know about anyone paying people for cheating this way, but I myself have written a couple of essays for friends and it's an hourly rate of five dollars. Usually it doesn't take more than three, so they're not losing much, but gaining a lot. He has been doing this for a while.

I have a teacher friend who told me that many teachers are saavy enough to collect the students' phones before a test (or at least make them out of reach). My teachers don't do this, but I know some teachers from other schools that do. Usually they walk around or just have their TA's keep watch, but some people bribe the TA's, too, so that's not very successful sometimes. Is that pretty standard practice in high school these days? What else do teachers do to curb cheating? My most disciplined teacher last year used threats of expulsion to get people to stop cheating. She used examples of a particular student that she didn't name, so we were convinced the student wasn't real. Cheating just seems so much more commonplace; is it? I attended a private school with a very strict honor system, and while I know cheating certainly occurred, it wasn't frequent.

Also, final question: What kind of punishment would a student face if caught doing such a thing? I guess it really depends on the teacher. An AP chemistry teacher I had was too laid back, and even though he caught two people cheat with their own eyes, all he did was have a talk with them that ended with a laugh. He also let us write cheats/vocab/everything on the back of our personal periodic tables. Another teacher I had for AP U.S. history had a different idea about cheating. She actually gave a student negative two hundred points on a really important test and the student ended up failing at the end of the semester for that reason. Your consequences seem very realistic, though! That's also happened before at my school, unfortunately. I have them facing being expelled for one week and one would also lose a wrestling scholarship. Maybe someone has more specific information.

Thank you so much for any help.

Anne :)

Hope I helped! :D

Belle_91
07-31-2012, 02:17 AM
I am currently in college now (a junior), but my high school days aren't far away.

I have heard that alot of kids cheat by taking a picture of the test and sending it to their friends. But some teachers are savy about this. They'll have a different test for each period. Also, depending on where you sit, it could be VERY obvious if you whip out your camera. Amazingly enough, I've never had a teacher take our cellphones. I've had teachers have our put our backpacks somewhere else, but you could hide your phone in your pocket.

I would think teachers who know how to look for cell phones, but there was a kid in my geology class who googled one of the answers on his iphone during a test. *shrug*

One method I've heard about it--again it's probably obvious--is a kid will have his hand lying by his side off of his desk. He'll hold up one finger for answer A, two for B, and so on. I guess it's his friend's job to keep up with him.

Of course there is always the old fashioned brown-nosing. I've had kids look off of my papers/tests. Even with the technology advancements, I'm sure that will never go out of style. It is probably harder to spot.

IAMWRITER
07-31-2012, 03:22 AM
For exams here all electronic equipment (phones, mp3, calculators in some tests etc.) are banned and if brought have to be placed under the desk, turned off. If they go off then the pupil is sent out.

In terms of punishment for cheating (or instance above) then results for that exam - or if final exams, then ALL results - may not be given. I think it depends on how serious it is.

Hope this helps.

WriterInterrupte
07-31-2012, 03:22 AM
Thank you, thank you! These are college-bound kids who care about their GPAs. I knew I'd get helpful responses here. Most of the kids around me are under ten (lots of young families) so I don't have a whole lot of teens to interrogate. And my past job experience was at a juvenile detention center, which is a bit past your everyday cheating situation. ;)

Orion, before posting, I had just read about Stuyvesant, but I was doing my normal speedreading and should probably look at again. It's great to get your perspective as a teacher.

Drunken and Belle -- thank you also. I appreciate you taking the time to write your experiences. Very helpful, and got my mind churning.... My plot is stuck, so I need all the ideas I can get.

Anne :)

Orion11Bravo
07-31-2012, 05:51 PM
It's worth repeating that it matters if it were a standardized test like the SATs or, like what we have in NY, the regents exams...or if they were class-administered tests. Standardized tests usually have guidelines and we're bound to the State...also, if cheating is discovered, we would be obligated to re-administer the test the next time it was offered, since it's required for graduation (regents...not SATs) and not graduating kids is not an option.

A class exam is the teacher's universe, in so far as the decisions are supported by the administration. A teacher would likely catch some flak for, say, failing a kid for the year for cheating on one test, especially if it's a requirement for graduation. However, a friend of mine got a kid kicked out of his Journalism class, an elective, for plagiarizing.

Like your other posters commented, and I agree, for a classroom assessment, it could end in anything between a chuckle and a "promise not to do it again!" and suspension. As your one poster commented, some teachers "don't notice" students googling on their phones...honestly, some teachers just look the other way, because they figure at least the kid is learning, and other teachers are oblivious. Someone said that kids bribe the TAs...that's new to me, but in my district kids don't usually have money to burn, and besides, TAs come in two varieties...super-troopers who take their job more seriously than most astronauts, and incompetent newspaper-readers who sit behind the desk with their feet up. The former can't be bribed, the latter doesn't need to be bribed.

Another big difference between standardized tests and class tests is that the proctor for standardized tests is likely not that kid's teacher, and so they are more likely to be strict. When you're with the same kids all year, you tend to be more forgiving.

The pictures thing is new to me. I guess I better start keeping my eye open for it! But I think that, between differences in districts, schools, teachers, and state requirements, that you have a lot of room to work with and still be believable.

Amory
08-01-2012, 08:12 PM
In the school district I teach in, cellphones are not allowed to be on AT ALL during school hours or BE IN SIGHT. If a cell phone is in sight, a teacher has a right to confiscate it and turn it into the Principal. I think taking pictures of a test would be pretty difficult... The desks most kids sit in don't have enough cover to keep me from seeing when the boys have their hands in the pants (YUCK), so I this student would have to be VERY careful about it. As for standardized tests, there would be no way to cheat on those in Texas. They literally search you for cellphones before the SAT (no coats with pockets, turn pants pockets inside out, etc) and for state tests, they're all taken at the same time throughout the school. From what you're saying, however, it seems like everyday tests. You could do the cellphone thing, but I don't think it's the best choice simply because if that kid could take a picture of the test, so could the other kids. It doesn't take any smarts to click a photo...

Maybe your kid is a teacher's aid in the school office or for a teacher that gives HARD tests and has found a way to see them before they're given? Or maybe they just have a good memory and can remember everything on the test? Or perhaps they are in an early morning club and have gotten a janitor's key so they can sneak in and sort through teachers' stuff for tests? Lots of times tests are left in teacher desks, and most of them don't lock their desk drawers, in my experience. Or perhaps your MC's 21 year old sister could be a substitute and she steals them for your MC?

Just a few suggestions, since I think the cellphone thing is a little too low-level. If one person can get away with taking photos of tests, anybody probably could--unless your student got lucky and ended up in a desk that the teacher could barely see....

fireluxlou
08-01-2012, 08:15 PM
How I'd cheat in school was to wait until the teacher announced the answers and as I was marking mine off, fill in the blanks. lol 10/10 everytime in French.

I'd also write stuff on my hand in code so like I'd put the time down but each number would correlate to something for that exam lol.

You'd only get detention if you got caught.

Shakesbear
08-01-2012, 08:29 PM
I am in the UK, but I would think that cheating is cheating where ever you are. Earlier this year I was asked to go into a school to sit in with a class who were doing a prepared exam. That is they were given a topic and had to research it and then answer unseen questions on it. I had to collect all their phones in at the start of the lesson and they sat in a box on the desk during the exam. Pupils were only allowed transparent pencil cases. If they had a bottle of water on their desk then the label had to be removed. Every now and then I walked up and down the aisles in the class room. There was one pupil whose body language made me feel uneasy. The head of faculty said he would pop in half way through the exam just to make everything was ok. So I wrote a note to him and when he came in I handed it to him. He read it and then very quickly turned and told the pupil to stand up. She stood up very reluctantly and I could see that she had some paper in her hand and that some paper had fallen to the floor. The HOF removed her from the class room. At the end of the exam he came and told me that she had printed out notes on various areas of the topic in question and was copying them straight onto her exam paper. I was totally taken aback by her stupidity. He told me that she said she did it because she did not think she would get caught.

About exam papers - in England, and possibly in the US, public exam papers are delivered to the school in sealed envelopes that are only opened in the exam room at the time the exam is going to take place. Some schools have very stringent rules regarding school set exams. I know when I had to set school exams I was not allowed to work on them in my classroom. The exams officer had lots of cupboards in her room and pupils were not allowed in there. She over saw all the printing.

McMich
08-01-2012, 08:42 PM
I teach at a college (intro physiology- so basically freshman and sophomores) and we do not let them have anything on their desks besides their pencil. So we don't get the cell phone problem. My dad's high school would not allow cell phones in the school like Amory said.

Yet, we still get cheating at our college. We get the kids that look off their neighbor. (I don't know why you'd do that as you could be sitting next to someone who knows nothing.) That is the most common form of cheating we get in our classes. Unfortunately for the teachers, they get away the most that way, as there is nothing to prove they cheated. If you want your students to get caught and threatened, they need to leave behind evidence.

A few years ago a whole class of pre-pharm students got caught cheating as they were collecting and distributing old exams. If your person has an older sibling/friends and can get old test, it could also be a money maker. In our class, we use the same set of questions and just choose 20 each year to put on the exam. I could see someone using that to cheat- get money- and leave behind evidence.

MoLoLu
08-01-2012, 08:50 PM
We had a no phone policy in my high- and trade school (Swizerland). Everyone still cheated left and right. On some occasions, teachers even went out during the tests so everyone just group-thought in low voices. 20-30 seconds were usually enough to exchange the biggest unknowns but the no-teacher time periods often went up to 2-3 minutes. Record lay at 20 minutes, where entire tests were swapped. Due to comments on the teacher's part, I'm even inclined to believe the teacher did that one intentionally but I'm not about to say that deliberately. Suffice to say, we had some odd teachers.

Apart from that, written on hand, in pencil case, on bottles of water, on table or anything else did you were allowed usually did the trick. Ofc. we also had a policy that allowed us to use course material (trade school only) so many of the tests were all about knowing where to look stuff up and not the exact answers to copy.

Most extreme I heard was three guys 'stealing' our semester test (off an unprotected network share) at the trade school. Lost their place in the school and their apprenticeship slots (a bit like interns in the US?). Given the slots are extremely hard to find in swizerland, I doubt that was worth it for them. Most of the other cheating was fairly profitable though.

Amory
08-01-2012, 08:57 PM
About exam papers - in England, and possibly in the US, public exam papers are delivered to the school in sealed envelopes that are only opened in the exam room at the time the exam is going to take place.

That just goes to show the UK school system gives a damn. I hate to bitch, but the American school system sucks. Utterly. Worthless. And they're cutting teacher pay every second. Teachers make up their own exams in Texas, except for the state exams, and those are extremely low level, meant to be something that the dumbest kid in school could pass if they remembered how to read. Then they take those state tests and use them for ONE thing: Deciding how much funding a school gets. They don't affect kids' grades in school AT ALL. So the schools that do poorly lose funding and have to fire teachers, making the class to teacher ratios even wider, leaving at-risk youth with much less opportunity. It's so backward--if all the students at a school are doing poorly, they need MORE money there for tutors and mentors! Let the parents at the upper middle class schools pay for their kids' stuff!

Okay. End off topic rant. Sorry, I am a little bitter about our school systems.

Mac H.
08-01-2012, 09:00 PM
There was an interesting experiment here:

http://www.rumint.org/gregconti/publications/KobayashiMaru_PrePub.pdf

To quote:


Our variation of the Kobayashi Maru utilized a deliberately unfair exam - write the first 100 digits of pi (3.14159...) from memory .... The topic of the test itself was somewhat arbitrary; we only sought a scenario that would be too challenging to meet through traditional studying. By design, students were given little advance warning for the exam. Insurrection immediately followed. Why were we giving them such an unfair exam? What conceivable purpose would it serve? Now that we had their attention, we informed the class that we had no expectation that they would actually memorize the digits of pi, we expected them to cheat. How they chose to cheat was entirely up to the student. Collaborative cheating was also encouraged, but importantly, students would fail the exam if caught. To provide additional incentive, we offered a prize to the student who exhibited the most creative and effective cheating technique.


With multiple choice, you can easily communicate 'A-> E' with only a pencil and perhaps some water - the issue is that people need to watch you and they may not be able to do it surreptitiously. eg: Towards the end of the exam you could clear your throat. That would be the signal for people to keep an iey on you. Then you would pretend to check your answers from the start ... and the type of fidget you do each time would signal the answer.

Mac

Saanen
08-01-2012, 10:39 PM
I work as a test proctor in a college, where we give all kinds of tests from make-up exams for students who missed class to certification and exit exams. We see cheating all the time. Most of it is from students taking computerized tests, who think they can Google answers without being caught (despite our computer monitoring program). We also get 'oldschool' cheaters with notes written on their hands or cheat sheets hidden in their clothes. We don't allow cell phones in the testing center at all and if a student is caught with one they're immediately dismissed. We did have a guy a year or two ago who was texting test questions to a friend, who looked up the answers and texted him back. He had the phone on his knee next to his calculator, and when a student saw and reported him to us, he slipped the phone into his shoe to hide it. We also don't allow students to use their own scratch paper, and when they're done with a test they have to turn in all the scratch paper they took so they don't leave with test questions written down (we use colored paper so it's easy to spot).

Since these are for college classes, the repercussions can be pretty severe for students caught cheating. High schools can't really do anything but give detention or make the student retake a class.

Yasaibatake
08-02-2012, 05:42 AM
I'm a teacher and I've certainly had my share of cheaters. The most common (and old-fashioned, at least compared to cell phones and the like) way to cheat, at least in my school, is to slip your notes into the front of your binder; then, when you're told to clear off your desk, you slid your binder under the chair in front of you and try to slide the paper out far enough to read it. I've had kids try to sneak in answers written on the inside of water bottle labels, written on the sides of their sneakers, and once a kid rolled up a piece of paper with notes and shoved it inside his mechanical pencil. My personal favorite was a girl who would arrange for her friends (who were in other classes) to meet her in the bathroom halfway through the test to discuss anything she wasn't sure about; it never really worked out very well for her, frankly, but she tried a couple of times. My college roommate once wrote answers on the bill of her baseball cap, but most K-12 schools ban hats anyway, so that wouldn't really work for a high school kid.

Our student handbook says kids will be suspended and given a failing grade if they're caught cheating, but honestly that rarely gets enforced. Usually the kid gets an administrative talking-to and they have to redo a different version of the test. The ones who get the harsher punishments are the repeat offenders. Though that depends on the individual school's culture; I know when I was in high school, they came down hard no matter if it was your first or fifth offense.

debirlfan
08-04-2012, 01:24 AM
How much money do the would-be buyers have to spend, and how bad do they want the answers? There are glasses now that have built-in cameras - they're not all that expensive. If the "spy" normally wore glasses, it's doubtful if the teacher would question him wearing a slightly different pair on test day. I would imagine there are other high tech ways of doing it too, if the cash is available. Maybe this kid is the one stealing the tests because he's the "geek" who can figure out how to do it?

Lidiya
08-04-2012, 01:46 AM
When I was younger I gained an award for 'best speller' after a series of spelling tests throughout the year.

I cheated on every single one using a see-through pencil case (those were quite popular then, ya know, the ones with the water on the lid) and the spelling list placed underneath it.

WriterInterrupte
08-04-2012, 01:48 AM
I can't thank you all enough for your help. I'm still really confused as to how to make this work in my book.... From what I can gain from all of your input, the rules about cheating, the consequences of cheating, and the means of cheating vary greatly. I get the sense that some teachers and schools have certainly not caught up with how kids can use technology just yet.

Originally, I was going to have my character take the test -- just a normal type of class test, non-multiple choice -- and then take a picture of his answers before texting it to a group of kids for money. I also considered having him writing papers for them. Which still seems like a good service for those who want to cheat, even with the ability to plagiarize so easily off the internet. Because of who he is, I doubt many teachers would be particularly suspicious of him.

I'm still thinking through all these ideas and know I need to hunt down some local teachers and teenagers to get more information from them. And your thoughts were super helpful.

Thanks again.

Anne

Buffysquirrel
08-07-2012, 04:12 AM
One thing children in the UK (allegedly) do is use the Mosquito tone as their ringtone. This is a tone that was developed as a deterrent to young people gathering in public and is audible mainly to younger and not older people. So, basically, the teachers don't hear the tone if the phone rings.

Pinguicha
08-07-2012, 05:10 AM
Hi Everyone,

Nothing is making me feel older right now than trying to figure out how teens cheat in high school these days, considering that I did not have texting and camera phones when I was in school!

So I was hoping for a little assistance from any younger people or those with better knowledge than I have. A character in my YA novel is very smart and is cheating for a handful of popular students for money. How should I have him cheat? Currently he is taking pictures of a test with his camera, and sending it to the others. And how much do you think he would ask in payment? He has been doing this for a while.

I have a teacher friend who told me that many teachers are saavy enough to collect the students' phones before a test (or at least make them out of reach). Is that pretty standard practice in high school these days? What else do teachers do to curb cheating? Cheating just seems so much more commonplace; is it? I attended a private school with a very strict honor system, and while I know cheating certainly occurred, it wasn't frequent.

Also, final question: What kind of punishment would a student face if caught doing such a thing? I have them facing being expelled for one week and one would also lose a wrestling scholarship. Maybe someone has more specific information.

Thank you so much for any help.

Anne :)

I got really good grades, so I never had to cheat for myself. I did, however, help some people out and do know of the popular things they did when they cheated.

One, is to write keywords/important aspects in tiny pieces of paper and hide them in your legs (you sit with one leg on your knee and read the stuff) or, if you're a girl, on your cleavage (I've seen this done).

Some teachers do not check for cell phones, so another way is to write stuff there and check your cell for answers. You also can have someone on the outside and text them the questions and they'll text you back the answers.

One of my friends during that time would scan a water bottle's label, change parts of it so that she had answers to parts of the test, print it and put it back on the bottle. She never got caught because, who'd check a water bottle? Another one of my friends would record everything into an mp3 and listen to it while doing the test. This one did get caught and mp3 players were forbidden during class.

Another option: because I had really good grades, I was popular during tests (only time I ever was) -- especially Math. When the teacher wasn't looking, people would sneak stuff to me for me to solve. Once, it even got to the point that someone got up, read my test and went back to his seat with the answers (this was in Chemistry, though).

In English (as a foreign language. It was my best subject), I'd finish the test and send some of my friends the answers via cell phone. The teacher never noticed it.

Also, no one in my school cheated for payment. We just let people copy off our tests out of the goodness of our hearts.

What happens when you get caught depends on the teacher. Some will give you a zero on the test. Others will take you to the disciplinary committee. My English teacher was so nice that, even though she caught no one cheating, she knew they had. So, she had me teach private classes to a number of them and had them take a make up test. If they passed, they would get the grade they needed to pass the subject (we're talking about people who needed Bs and stuff and had lots of trouble with English) and I would get a 20/20 in my final grade (highest possible grade in Portuguese high school). Luckily, we all got what we wanted and the teacher didn't report us.

In my college, if you're caught cheating, you flunk the class. Automatically. I know this is also the case in some more prestigious high schools.

If I remember anything else, I'll post it here.

debirlfan
08-07-2012, 09:04 AM
Just had a thought - what if the kid was one of those rare folks with photographic memory? He memorizes the test, then afterwards gives (sells) the other students the answers. If teacher is real strict about cell phones/things on desks/etc, then the kid might be uniquely qualified to get the answers, which would drive up the price.