Fake or Make the Grade?

Fake or Make the Grade?

“Cheating is any form of illegitimate academic compensation,” Spencer Jones, junior, said.

Cheating has different interpretations and definitions. There are blanket definitions but left up to individual discretion lines can be blurred. Different methods and purposes for cheating make it hard to define.

“Cheating is not doing what you’re supposed to and breaking the rules set down by your teacher regarding test taking,” Stephen Shelton, junior, said.

What constitutes cheating? This is long disputed between teachers and students alike.

“As long as you’re learning the material then it’s fine. I don’t advocate it,” Jones said.

Some teachers believe that informing a student in a later class about classroom activities is cheating. They get unfair warning about pop quizzes and classroom discussions. However, many students believe this is not cheating.

“It’s more or less small talk. No one pays attention to it. It’s like Web Back Pack but in person,” Shelton said.

Web Back Pack allows teachers to publish their lesson plans online for students to view; it also provides reminders for projects and homework assignments due. Students perceive that teachers don’t care or mind if information about classroom activities is shared.

“The teacher hasn’t designed it (the lesson plan) to stop that. The teachers know about it and there’s no way to stop it,” Jones said.

If an assignment is incomplete students often offer an excuse as to why. Everyone has heard the classic “My dog ate my homework” but is giving an untrue excuse for a late or incomplete assignment cheating? Many students don’t think so but also don’t condone it as moral behavior.

“I wouldn’t say it’s cheating but it’s lying,” Shelton said.

As technology evolves so do the methods students use to cheat. Students have moved away from crib notes and into digital notes. Crib notes are formulas, notes or answers written on a piece of paper and held as discreetly as possible used to cheat. Digital notes are helpful information on a test typed into an iPod or cell phone. Cell phones can also be used to send and receive test answers. Because iPods are sometimes allowed during tests this method doesn’t require students to be discreet.

“I’ve seen kids using cell phones to text people and using the Internet on smart phones,” said Jones.

The Internet has also provided a new portal for cheaters to use. Answers to homework, testing resources, pre-written or term papers are all available online. However, certain cheating techniques haven’t evolved, such as looking at another’s paper and whispering answers.

“People cheat by using the Internet and texting people answers and the obvious look over the shoulder or the ‘psst. Number 32,’” Shelton said.

Teachers have their own methods to find the cheaters. Turnitin.com searches student work with other student work teachers have logged and literature on the Internet and marks any plagiarized material. Teachers often don’t allow iPods to be played during the tests to prevent the use of the notes function. Certain incentives such as removal from National Honor Society, loss of points or even credit are designed to discourage cheating.

Although cheating has many methods, interpretations, warrants and definitions most students and teachers agree, honesty is the best policy – academically and morally.