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A Teacher's Guide to Dealing With Cheating

By Margie

How do your students view cheating? Do they know the consequences? Learn how you as a teacher should prepare to deal with this subject and how you can help end cheating in our schools.

Are Your Students Cheating?

Cheating is nothing new. Students have been cheating for as long as there have been students. What is new is that there is an Do Your Students Cheat? increasing number of cheating students. In 2002, CNN cited a Rutgers Management Education Center study that found that out of 4500 students surveyed, “75 percent of them engage in serious cheating.”

In 2010, Rutgers' Donald McCabe--who has done extensive research on cheating since 1990--says the figure is now up to 95 percent. And what makes this so alarming is that many students really don’t see anything wrong with the cheating. The line between right and wrong as it pertains to cheating seems to be rapidly blurred.

Many students cheat to relieve some of the academic pressures of school. There is ever-increasing competition to get into “the best” colleges, and many students look at cheating as a way to achieve acceptance to these schools.It's not hard to Google news stories; here's a story about students cheating that appeared on ABC's website in April 2015.

Some people think that cheating is a normal part of school. They believe that there have always been and always will be cheating students. It has been found, however, that cheating can have far more serious consequences than just a teacher being duped into believing that her students actually understand material they really do not. Students who engage in classroom cheating are less likely to make good moral choices as they move through life. Obviously, considering the long-term consequences, cheating should be taken seriously and steps to curtail it should be taken immediately, if they have not already been taken.

To Stop Cheating:

Plagiarism: If you suspect students of plagiarism, there are Internet sites and software you can use to confirm or disprove your suspicions such as Turnitin.Com.

Consequences: Make certain there are consequences in place for students caught cheating and make sure are consistent in implementing them.

Integrity: Teach integrity. While it is not possible for one teacher to instill morality in all students, it is good to teach integrity to your students.

One way to do this is simply by modeling it for your students. If you see students cheating, do not ignore it, act. In the study by Rutgers referred to earlier, it was found that 47 percent of students believe “teachers sometimes elect not to confront students they know are cheating.” Don’t be one of them!

Do your job well. Model for your students daily how a person of integrity handles his or her job. Do not make personal phone calls while your students are in the room, be prepared for class, etc.

Talk to your students. Plan a weekly discussion time to discuss different aspects of integrity with your students. Let it be a true discussion, not a lecture.

Build Their Confidence: Make sure your students know that success is not singularly defined by A’s on tests. With the competition among students to be the best and to get into the best schools, it is easy for them to equate success with perfect academic performance. Let them know perfection is unattainable, no one is perfect, and that is okay.

The most effective way to stop cheating students is not through punishment or “catching” the offenders, it is by stopping the cheating before it ever starts. Teachers have the opportunity to make a huge impact on the lives of the students they teach. They can help stop the practice of cheating before it becomes any more ingrained in the lives of our students.