Students reveal their cheating experiences
A students' guide to catching cheaters
April 19, 2015
Approximately 300 parents of tenth grade students in Bihar, India were arrested March 20, after being caught scaling the walls of a school to provide their children with answers for their examinations. Over 750 students were expelled from the school and saw their futures crumble before them. According to authorities, about 1.4 million students take exams in Bihar, and with how extensive the student body is, jobs are scarce. Students were caught bringing in pieces of their textbooks and answer sheets to the tests, according to education officials.
While parents may not be climbing the walls of their children’s schools in America, cheating is still evident in secondary education institutions. The increasing competitiveness of college admissions and emphasis on obtaining a college degree have driven students to resort to cheating, and in a recent poll, 50% of Pikesville High School students confessed to cheating at least 12 times in school.
“My motivation was to get good grades to get into college,” a PHS student said. “But then I got into the college that I wanted to get into, so it all worked out.”
The cheating tactics that students use at PHS do not involve their parents climbing through their classroom’s window, but students have developed creative ways to cheat on their tests, that they believe teachers should be aware of.
“My best one is before class, you get a water bottle,” a student said. “It has to be half-way filled and opened. Then on the wrapper of like a Deer Park water bottle you take the wrapper like half off, so that it’s still intact. Then you write on the back part of it with a pen and close the wrapper back up. Then during a test you bring the water bottle and place it on your desk, and it’s there if you need it.”
Another student used his glasses to his advantage when he took tests during high school. The student said that he has never been caught using his approach, and it has saved him on multiple tests.
“You put all of your answers on the top slit of a glasses case, so that a teacher can’t see it,” he said. “Then you put your glasses on and keep the glasses case open on your desk. If a teacher were to see you, then you throw the glasses case in your backpack and take out a duplicate glasses case that you can get for free from many glasses stores.”
A third technique that a student used to cheat on tests, involved using common wardrobe accessories.
“You know how most people wear bracelets and stuff,” he said. “Well this one you wear a rubber band. First you stretch the rubber band as far as possible without breaking it, and you write on it with a pen the answers you need. Then when you’re done writing it you let it shrink back to its normal size and you put in on your wrist during the test. When you shrivel it up it just looks like scribbles on it.”
After spending four years cheating on tests in high school, one PHS student said that he would never consider cheating in college because of the harsher penalties that colleges give out.
“Oh no, in college I am never going to cheat,” he said. “It’s not that I wasn’t able to do high school work by myself it’s just that high school is a lot more lenient. In high school it’s like oh you get a zero, but in college it’s like you’re done, you get expelled. It’s that the penalties are more severe.”
The student further justified his cheating by saying that memorizing equations is not necessary for a successful future, and is a waste of time.
“The point about it is that in life you’re not going to need to know how to find the gravitational force around this,” the student said. “You’re going to need to know the applicability in the outside world, and knowing all of these stupid equations really will not help you.”
Other students said that they only cheat in the classes that they do not feel are important.
“In college I get to take classes that I want to take,” one student said. “I only cheat in the classes that I don’t really need. Like in English, math and physics, I don’t cheat because I need to learn the material.”
After reflection on their time at PHS, the students said that they think the school should create harsher penalties to discourage cheating, and teachers need to be more proactive in watching students during tests.
“I would make kids turn cell phones into a bin,” a student said. “I would usually just check to see if kids are cheating, because most teachers are just on their computers during a test, or they grade work and can’t really see who is cheating. I would just watch them, because it is really easy to see who is cheating and some kids are really bad at it. Some kids can cheat really well but the majority of cheaters you can catch with the guilty eye. Usually they don’t have a silver tongue so they can’t talk their ways out of it.”
Another student said that he believes that teachers intentionally ignore students who cheat, so that they can make it look like their classes understand the material that they are teaching.
“There are some teachers that just have a blind eye towards it at this school,” a student said. “I guess it helps them because if a lot of students in the class are getting bad grades and they see a student cheating, then they aren’t just going to give a student a zero and make their grades look even worse. The teacher doesn’t want to look like they are doing a bad job teaching the material. They might have a blind eye towards cheating so that they can raise the averages of the class and show the administration that they are doing a good job.”
As the student prepares to move on to college, and end his cheating career, he said that he does not regret the decisions he made, but he does feel a sense of guilt.
“I don’t feel bad,” the student said. “I just feel disappointed in myself.”