Evolution of cheating introduces new tension for classroom

Calista Busch | Staff Writer

Screenshots, screenshots are no fun. Unless you share with everyone.  

AP Language and Composition teacher Lori Roth said she has seen any increase in students cheating in her class this year on tests and in-class assignments.

While teachers take measures to prevent cheating in their classes, it is constantly evolving. Roth said students have changed the way they cheat this year.

“It’s a lot sneakier than in the past,” Roth said. “Technology has certainly influenced that. (Cheating methods are) more involved (and) take a lot longer than actually learning the information and being prepared.”

Technology through group chats has become a common way that students cheat. Sophomore Payton Woods said many students were caught cheating in her AP American History class through a class group chat.

“Our APUSH bell created a group chat to talk about what the homework was or to talk about the teacher or (to) have fun,” Woods said. “It started out being really fun, but then it escalated. People started sending pictures of homework answers.”

Sophomore Nadia Steinbicker said technology has made cheating easier for students to do.

“I think because of texting, people that don’t see each other during the day can text each other,” Steinbicker said. “I think it becomes easier for people to see how tests end up being. If they’re asking for answers, you don’t want to be that person that says no.”

Roth said the increase in cheating has led teachers to have to adapt their class time to address it.

“We’ve had to shorten other lessons to have those conversations,” Roth said. “We’ve looked at revamping the way we give tests in class — different versions, different forms.”

While there are several reasons that students cheat, Steinbicker said students usually cheat more when the workload increases.

“I would say (it’s) different now because we’re sophomores,” Steinbicker said. “There’s a lot of stress and anxiety that goes on, so it’s really tempting to cheat.”

Roth said she doesn’t know what has caused the increase of cheating in the school and that it is a different choice for every student.

“I don’t know if it’s a shift in mentality, if it’s because people think they can get away with it,” Roth said. “I’ve talked to kids about why they think it is, and I’m sure they have their own opinions. I think we have the responsibility to be good people. That’s what it comes down to.”

Woods said that when there is a lot of pressure and a high workload students are more likely to cheat.

“People are so busy with their schedules and schoolwork and sports,” Woods said. “They don’t have time so (cheating) is what they resort to.”

Unintentional cheating is when students share information without realizing or the intention of cheating. Roth said this type of cheating is part of the problem teachers are facing.

“I think if you overhear something and do nothing about it, you are absolutely involved in the process at that point,” Roth said. “I think these are case by case situations. What you choose to do with the information is a separate issue.”

Woods said sharing homework answers is not as big of a deal as other types of cheating and sharing information with friends is a big part of cheating.

“It is not as extreme because sharing test answers is serious because that’s a huge part of your grade and homework is not as severe,” Woods said. “If a friend asks you there would be pressure (to send answers) because you don’t want to hurt their feelings and it’s hard to say no.”

Steinbicker said there is an extent to which she would consider unintentional cheating to be wrong.

“I think knowing specific questions is wrong,” Steinbicker said. “If you’re just talking, ‘Oh, this was a major topic on the test,’ that’s not (cheating). It depends on what type of test it is. If it’s a pop quiz I don’t think it matters that much (but) it’s still cheating, still wrong.”