Home' THE Journal : August 2013 Contents the state education department and the national
Educational Testing Service to check social media
sites "every 15 minutes" to see if students have
snapped pictures of tests and posted them online.
(Last year, 36 questions from standardized exams in
the state showed up on social media sites, the Los
Angeles Times reported.)
A Southern California high school junior who asked
not to be identi ed says that her experience suggests
that a ban alone won't do much to curtail cell-phone-
enabled cheating if the teachers aren't paying attention
while they are administering tests.
"I have a lot of teachers who say, 'Put your cell
phones in your backpacks,' but then just sit at their
desks when we take the tests," she says. "And they
never look up. It's just really easy to cheat in those
classes. You just keep your cell phone in your lap under
your desk and look down. I don't see people doing it all
the time, but it de nitely happens."
Cell phones are not permitted in public high
schools in New York City, and yet cell-phone-enabled
cheating grabbed the spotlight last year when a
group of students at NYC's Stuyvesant High School
were caught texting photos of test pages and sharing
information about state Regents Exams---while they
were taking them.
FEATURE | mobile learning
HOW TO STOP HIGH-TECH CHEATING
Cheating isn't a new phenomenon, of course, but never before have teachers had to cope with such powerful tools and
enticements. Although technologies such as adaptive testing, which gives different questions to each student, and test-
response analysis, which looks for test-answer irregularities, are emerging, the most effective current strategies for cop-
ing with the problem depend primarily on awareness, understanding, and a relatively low-tech set of best practices.
Here are ve straightforward strategies from the experts:
1) Prohibit cell phones in the room during a test. The modern smartphone is "the lock-pick of cheating," says Doug
Winneg, CEO and founder of Software Secure. The devices can store large databases of test answers, send and re-
ceive answers among friends in real time, and connect to Wikipedia. If the school policy allows students to bring cell
phones to school, consider collecting them at the door on test day.
2) Proctor exams properly. That means walking around among the desks, not sitting at the front of the classroom.
"Left unchecked, this generation cheats; properly proctored, they don't," says Winneg. Cell phones open a huge door
to the internet, but they t in the palm of your hand and are easy to hide. It's just not enough to tell students to put
them in their backpacks or even to con scate them at the door---students might have another hidden away.
3) Establish a clear set of rules. It's obvious, even to digital natives, that texting test answers to each other is cheat-
ing, but how about reaching out on a social network for help from a classmate on a homework project? The line be-
tween collaboration and cheating is truly a blurry one for students using online educational resources, Winneg says,
and policies vary from class to class. Teachers who understand the potential for confusion should draw a clear line
with written policies and those policies should, if at all possible, be schoolwide.
4) Demonstrate the difference between research and "search"---literally. Let students look over your shoulder
while you research and write a short paper, recommends Neal Taparia, cofounder of EasyBib. "When you learn tennis,
you're seeing someone swing the racket and you can really see what's going on," he says. "But students never see
how their teacher would like them to go about discovering sources, connecting the dots among sources, and devel-
oping their own ideas. If you could teach that by example, I think it would be a unique step in the right direction."
5) Focus on developing information literacy skills. "I think most K-12 students think that plagiarism is just handing
in someone else's paper," says Dorothy Mikuska, a former high school English teacher and founder of ePen&Inc. "But
the idea of citing sources and properly attributing them is not something that they necessarily connect to plagiarism."
Another important issue, she says, is citing the right sources. "You have all this user-generated content out there, but
students don't differentiate."
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