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Cheating Is Harder When Your Teacher Is Not an Idiot.

August 28, 2021

When I chose teaching as my profession, I did not anticipate the amount of energy I would expend to confront and quash cheating. But then, I began my career before Google revolutionized students’ abilities to deprive themselves of actual learning.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in the 2020-21 school year, our school district began using Google Classoom as the primary vehicle of instruction for teaching and learning. Students were assignmed Chromebooks with restricted settings, and by way of Google Classroom, teachers could choose to lock those Chromebooks when students were assigned a quiz.

The only problem is the all-or-nothingness of locking the Chromebook if the quiz includes a research component requiring use of the internet. As a teacher, at this point, I cannot approve certain sites and block others in order to facilitate the security of my research-based quiz in Google Classroom.

What I learned this week was that some of my students had copied and pasted test items into sites such as Quizlet and were able to get Quizlet to take their test for them. Of course, the problem for them was that I am not an idiot, and I do notice that as the school day proceeds, increasingly more of my students have become geniuses at taking my test, some even at record speed.

And since I am not a machine but an actual human being who cultivates relationships with my students, I am able to get confessions out of some when I speak with them one-on-one. Then, when I delete that marvelous perfect or near-perfect test grade from those I suspect have cheated and get no blowback whatsoever– just sheepish looks– well, it’s then that I know that it is I who have actually learned a lesson via online “instruction,” so to speak.

What my students learned is that I will now lock their Chromebooks during those quizzes and that they will have to go “old school” and have any notes and such written only on paper as opposed to accessing info via links and pdf documents.

There will be no more education-depriving back door for copying and pasting test questions because their teacher is committed to providing opportunities to learn– whether her students value them or not.

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Want to sharpen your digital research skills? I have a book for that!  See my latest, A Practical Guide to Digital Research: Getting the Facts and Rejecting the Lies, available for purchase on Amazon and via Garn Press!

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7 Comments
  1. lcampbellhale4008 permalink

    I love this column and your absolute honesty in sharing the day-to-day travails of teaching, including figuring how your students cheat. Of course, teaching online has only made these problems worse.

  2. “What my students learned is that I will now lock their Chromebooks during those quizzes and that they will have to go “old school” and have any notes and such written only on paper as opposed to accessing info via links and pdf documents.”

    Or they will use another device, eh!

  3. sonofthereturnofaptidude permalink

    I plan to switch to a different assessment and grading scheme altogether. Grades will be based only on summative assessments; summative assessments will have airtight security –you take the test in front of me on paper or a locked Chromebook while I check and record your screen. Any cheating and you have to take an equivalent assessment — again. I am no longer going to waste time reviewing copied homework; I’ll use that time to create versions of summative assessments for students who need a do-over.

  4. Lance Grant permalink

    When are our kids taught integrity?

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