How to Prevent High-Tech Cheating

Cheating has always been a cultural phenomenon, but today’s digital age makes it easier than ever. It can be tempting to find creative solutions to raise your grades without putting in the work. Papers can be written in minutes and the answers to the final exam are easily found online. Teachers and parents have to be aware of the methods students are using to improve their grades and raise their test scores.

High-tech cheating has become more difficult to stop than ever before, but our schools must find a way to put an end to it. What steps can schools take to start preventing high-tech cheating before it even happens? Here are a few guidelines you may want to set in place for your classroom.

Install a firewall to block communication.  

Students are helping one another cheat by emailing and messaging the test questions to friends who have yet to take the exam. This gives students later in the day an unfair advantage that could allow them to research the answers. Some schools have found a way to eliminate this form of high-tech cheating with a firewall. It can block emails or messages that could contain the questions and answers from an ongoing exam. Alternatively, they may use a special software such as Securexam that can restrict internet access while students are taking an exam.

Ban cellphones during exam time.

Many of the methods students use for high-tech cheating involve their smartphones. They might text a friend for answers, look up material, or download a copy of the answer key from the internet. The easiest way to prevent high-tech cheating this way is to ban all of the cellphones from the room during test time. However, this is much easier said than done. Teachers will still have to remain vigilant to ensure that students are not covertly using their phones once the test begins.

Check papers for plagiarism.  

Plagiarism could be much more difficult for teachers to identify at a quick glance. Students are becoming rather adept at copying and pasting their essays straight from the internet. Once in a while, an educator may pick up on a style or vocabulary that is distinctly different from the student’s real writing. This should be an obvious indicator, but it could be significantly subtler. Online services like Turnitin scan digital copies of an essay and compare it to articles, web pages, and books to pinpoint suspect material. Their database includes more than 62 billion web pages with more being added each day.

High-tech cheating is a common occurrence in our schools today that needs to be eradicated. Educators and parents need to be more aware of how students are manipulating the system to improve their grades without doing the work. By taking some of these simple steps, we could encourage greater honesty and integrity in our students. Ultimately, those attributes will pay off for them later in life.

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