How can I cheat on the test? Let me count the ways…

Tony Vincent’s recent post on “How to Cheat” is sure to ruffle a few feathers. He embeds and links to at least a dozen videos describing in detail how to cheat in class.

Oh no! What if the students find it????


That was the reaction I got from many when I posted on TechLearning about how to bypass firewalls. It’s a subject near and dear to my heart.

But the point is, many of these students have actually discovered Google already. And they’ve learned that if they type in “How can I cheat on the test,” they’ll find more than just this blog post. As Tony sez,

The “Cheating Documentary” above ends with the voiceover, “So students cheat. It is something that will never die. The question is, can teachers keep up in the race against students and their ever-going creativity?” The answer is not keeping up–that will never happen. One answer is creating assessments that students can “cheat” on. Rarely are people without some device that they can use to look up a formula or definition. It doesn’t make sense to have school assessments so incredibly focused on memorizing information that is accessible anywhere and anytime. Unfortunately, emphasis in education is on “playing school” instead of learning what’s important for today’s and tomorrow’s society.

On a typical test, in a typical classroom, does anybody reading this honestly think they can prevent a highly determined student from cheating?

So what CAN you do? Be atypical!

By | 2008-04-02T14:24:36+00:00 April 2nd, 2008|Musings|14 Comments

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  1. Robert Rowe 4/2/2008 at Apr 02, 08 | 3:55 pm

    I’m trying to think as a “regular teacher” here, because as an orchestra director, my assessments are almost always performance-based (whether they can play scales, excerpts of their concert music, audition pieces, etc). The only times I give a written assignment are for 1.state-mandated writing samples or find weaknesses in music reading/theory. My students realize that the written assessments are to help them, and that cheating will only hurt them (and their grades) when it comes time to test their playing abilities later on.

  2. Pat Wagner 4/2/2008 at Apr 02, 08 | 4:14 pm

    What an excellent example of student creativity. It was refreshing to see the L.A. Times perspective that we need to rethink testing.
    No “snort” from me, Steve, just a few chuckles. Thanks.

  3. mrsdurff 4/3/2008 at Apr 03, 08 | 3:51 am

    So to all those fearful people…where do they think we get these ideas about cheating or firewalls or proxies anyway? I get the best ideas from those labeled as students…

  4. RustyBadger 4/3/2008 at Apr 03, 08 | 8:05 am

    Perhaps when we start spending more time teaching students how to learn, instead of teaching them (mostly outdated) facts, the incentive to cheat will diminish. As Robert pointed out above, performance-based learning lessens the need to cheat (although I’m sure we’ll see “doping” of some sort in High School band competitions in the future! *grin*). When the emphasis shifts from “here is the information you need to Get By In Life, and I, the Gatekeeper of Knowledge am giving it to you” to a model of “here is a real-world scenario- now use whatever resources you can to solve the problem” then we’ll see a change in students’ attitudes toward ‘cheating’.

    I find it amusing when people complain about cheating students. When they get out of school and into the Real World they’ve supposedly been prepared for, nobody cares if they ‘cheat’ to find a solution to a problem. In fact, it’s encouraged! People who are resourceful problem-solvers are in high demand. In the 18th Century (and probably well into the 19th) a person could conceivably learn all there was to learn. This has not been true for a long time, but educators really don’t get it for the most part. We need to be showing students how to utilise all the information that’s available to them at the touch of a [cellphone][computer][PDA][calculator] button. I think it’s called synthesis.

    /end rant

  5. Lisa M Lane 4/7/2008 at Apr 07, 08 | 4:29 pm

    Wow, those cheating techniques look like a lot of work. All that looking things up, then putting it all into a small format, and you don’t know what will be asked to you gotta fit everything in there. Sounds like. . . studying.

  6. Marc 4/12/2008 at Apr 12, 08 | 2:47 pm

    I found this entry to be especially interesting in light of current trends in society and within the field education (away from content and toward collaboration). As long as we emphasize the importance of content cheating will always be there. However, if we simply see content as a way of getting to deeper understandings and application of content in the form of collaboration and creative pursuits then cheating (in the traditional sense) will become a nonissue.

  7. […] real solution here is as complicated as the one for cheating. Would it be easier to educate all the teachers about all the Web so they can educate all the […]

  8. Mobile phones in the classroom…. again - Teach42 5/6/2008 at May 06, 08 | 7:38 am

    […] I’m so fed up with these arguments. Paper clips are a distraction. Spiral notebooks are a distraction. And as we’ve seen recently, students certainly do NOT need a cell phone to cheat on an exam. […]

  9. Michael 4/6/2009 at Apr 06, 09 | 6:10 am

    As a full time instructor at a two year college with 10 years experience I have had my share of students that cheat. Some I have caught and some have gotten away with it entirely. Cheating is a problem. It means they didn’t learn (relatively permanent change of knowledge or behavior) the material that they should know. Not just to be able to access, but have knowledge to use when they need it. Being able to find information they don’t know through Google and electronic sources is absolutely a skill they should have. But they also should have knowledge without having to access it electronically. I teach Psychology to Criminal Justice majors. Some of them don’t see the need for it. But when dealing with a Schizophrenic subject in a crisis situation they don’t have time to stop and look it up. I hope the doctor that does surgery on me doesn’t have to go to google to find out what incisions to make. Collaboration and creativity are essential but it should happen with people that are knowledgeable so they can maximize their efforts.

  10. […] banning technology because it can be used to cheat, I suggest they do a few Google searches. Cheating has evolved into quite the art form. Taking away their phones won’t stop anyone, any more than taking away the graphic […]

  11. ashleey 1/23/2010 at Jan 23, 10 | 4:39 pm

    what you can do is you can also:
    write all the notes on a sitcky paper and put it on the back of your shoes, then when its time for you to cheat you just lift your leg and tilt your head and thats a way you can cheat.
    trust me i did it & it worked eassy.
    if you want help on more cheating stuff just call me at 416 851 8973 .
    or email me at: , & i will feel very happy to help youu. ūüôā
    okaay, thank you.

    shloon khara

  12. Paige 5/17/2010 at May 17, 10 | 2:18 pm

    Hey guys….I know that cheating is bad but we all have those days that you really just need a little help and so i looked up good methods for it. I found this website and it has a ton of really good ideas for teachers that wouldn’t know if you had your notes in front of you and for teachers who check for cheating. Check it out…hope this helps!

  13. Shocking! « Bowllan's Blog 5/19/2010 at May 19, 10 | 1:29 am

    […] and share your thoughts on students and cheating. Then when you’re done, click on the Teach42 blog for more on the subject. Steve asks the question, On a typical test, in a typical classroom, does […]

  14. steven 5/29/2011 at May 29, 11 | 3:14 pm

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