Cheating and Technology

Feb 23/15

Cheating and Technology

Everyone’s thought about it but most people don’t do it; it’s becoming easier as technology gets smaller, sleeker and more sophisticated.  It is unethical and in my view shows a lack of character, but many students are doing it in order to compete in a very competitive learning environments and job markets.  How many students actually cheat on exams?

Here is a fact sheet from Stanford University on Academic Cheating.  Many student defend and rationalize cheating as the only way to compete and feel that it is an acceptable means to reaching their goals.

I saw a video last year about a med school teacher that had ignored some of his students cheating on exams, he found himself in critical condition in the emergency room a few years later and the doctor about to do surgery on him was the student he didn’t confront about cheating.  How frightening would that be?  That’s an extreme example but one that proves a point.

There are so many ways to cheat that are difficult to detect but technology is fighting back and developing ways to catch the cheaters.

In the article New Frontiers in High Tech Cheating, Rosemary Counter  states “Sometime next year, Apple will launch its watch, a sleek, wearable technology with full wireless capabilities, including downloadable apps, access to maps and photos, notifications via vibration and even a walkie-talkie function.”  (Counter, R. 2014).   This will be a wonderful gadget to own  but a nightmare for teachers attempting to curtail cheating in their classrooms.

What is the cost of cheating?  Here is another example of cheating and how much it truly costs the students and their school.

“In 2011, a student sat down to his medical college admission test wearing a disguised pinhole camera. Images of test questions were transmitted to a friend, who forwarded them to three hired tutors. They thought they were writing a practice test to secure a tutoring position. Their answers were sent back to the test-taker via smartphone. When the tutors grew suspicious, they alerted campus security. In the end, both men pleaded guilty to a charge of copyright infringement and were given an absolute discharge. The test had to be readministered at a cost of more than $200,000.” (Counter, R. 2014).

Who would have dreamt up this scheme?  What it shows is the lengths that students will go to in order to get the best grades.

The following is an article on the Middle Earth (Partnering with Youth for Responsible Adulthood) on the effects of cheating in school. As a society are we teaching our children moral & ethical boundaries and why they are put there in the first place?  Whose responsibility is to teach theses values of what is right and what is wrong?  What about the student that doesn’t cheat on exams and consequently doesn’t’ get the highest grade and maybe not the coveted job?  These are all questions that are valid to ask and we should be asking them.

In the following article John Spencer writes about 10 ways to Cheat proof your Classroom; it’s sad but true that we need to be aware cheating and how it’s being done as well as aware of and prepared to prevent cheating.

Cheating is not going away and we will not be able to prevent it 100% but being aware of it and planning for it is the first step to fair and equitable grades among learners and in institutions.


Counter, R. (2014). New Frontiers in High Tech Cheating. Retrieved from: Rosemary Counter (Oct. 2014)


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