Conversations like these between students happen every day. Students communicate over apps like Snapchat and IMessage texting. (photo by Robert Le Cates)
Conversations like these between students happen every day. Students communicate over apps like Snapchat and IMessage texting.

photo by Robert Le Cates

Academic Dishonesty: Students, teachers get honest about academic dishonesty

Cheating among the student body has become popular due to the recent online learning break

December 10, 2020

During the holiday season (November 30 to January 5), Meridian High School switched to online learning to reduce the infection spread risk. Teachers have encountered problems with a portion of the student body cheating on homework and tests.

Students seek “help” from online apps, friends


photo by Robert Le Cates

Students use apps like these to cheat and get help on assignments. Apps like these include; PhotoMath, Google Translate, Auto Citation, Slader, and Essaybot.

With the challenge of online learning and schedule management, students all across the U.S. have started doing each other’s assignments through cheating. Whether it is sending a screenshot into the Spanish II group chat or asking your friends for answers, most students nowadays have become more dependent on someone to do the work for them.

“Yes I have cheated and it was on math cause I really did not know how to do the homework and it was late and I wasn’t trying to stay up so I just asked my friends for answers which they sent to me,” an anonymous Meridian student said.

Academic Dishonesty among students

Some students are tempted to not attend the meetings their teachers arrange to learn the material and choose to work on homework instead.

“I am really not a fan of sitting at my laptop and staring at a screen all day. None of the students have the cameras on and sometimes none of the teachers have theirs on either. There is honestly no point in it,” an anonymous Meridian student said. “I have kinda been testing the limits and not showing up to the classes because I can learn the stuff much quicker […] if I don’t join the meetings and do homework instead.”

Remote learning is a whole different academic challenge. The same holds true today and nine months ago; students cheated through group chats and other online platforms.

“This year I have definitely used Google for answers a few times, and I’ve used the app PhotoMath on my math homework. I’ve also sent people answers to homework,” an anonymous Meridian student said.

Students have not only used apps to get “help.”

“Yeah, I cheated during remote learning. Most of my cheating consisted of me doing what I know, then getting help for the rest via friends, apps, or other online sources,” an anonymous Meridian student said. “Even when I cheat, I still check the answers.”

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Teachers’ way to monitor remote learning


photo by Robert Le Cates

Teachers have adapted to using Google Classroom to teach during remote periods. Google Classroom has many behind-the-scenes additions such as an online plagiarism bot.

Even before COVID, academic dishonesty was a big problem in schools. Nowadays, with a large percentage of schools being online, teachers have to deal with cheaters on a larger scale.

“We really have to rely on students seeing the value in really learning materials, developing good study habits, and challenging themselves to do true assessments of what they are learning vs just sitting there on Google or with notes open,” science teacher Payton Cloe said. “I try my best to monitor student work for honesty but I admit I am fallible and probably have overlooked many instances of dishonesty.”

While some teachers might have overlooked student cheaters, some haven’t.

“When I see students use apps to translate their Spanish homework or solve their math problems or copy from the teachers’ edition of the textbook they found online, I wonder if they will understand later that the reason they didn’t learn was a direct result of their actions and not because the teacher didn’t teach or provide opportunities for them to learn,” high school history teacher Michelle McKinney said.

In certain subjects, students use aids like Google Translate and PhotoMath to finish their homework faster.

I cannot control students at home communicating and sharing homework or even test answers. I see students copying and pasting from Quizlet.” McKinney said. “By the way, Google Classroom lets me know if submitted homework is copied and pasted from the internet.”

To work around this new struggle of computerized dishonesty, some teachers have adapted to new methods of teaching.

Academic dishonesty has been around long before any of us were born. I rely on free responses and extended responses more so this year than years past, as students are tasked with explaining their reasoning and applying information,” math teacher Cara Gatchel said. “The respect I have for students who approach school with academic integrity will outlast the satisfaction a student has of receiving an ‘easy’ grade.”

Some teachers feel as if they are being lied to by their students when they decide to cheat.

“Sometimes I think students are so focused on grades that they forget the point of an education is to learn and to think critically. When students copy homework or plagiarize a paper, you are also lying. You are saying this is your work when it isn’t,” McKinney said. “No one likes to be lied to, ever. Cheating is morally wrong.”

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