Teachers tech savvy when it comes to student cheating

According to a poll done last year by then-Sandpiper editor-in-chief Edie Ellison, 63 percent of Carmel High students have admitted to cheating. But now that every student has a laptop, are students cheating more than usual?

The answer to that question is a resounding “no,” according to history and English teachers here at CHS.

Almost all English and history teachers use Chromebooks daily. However, very few use them for tests and quizzes. Hans Schmidt, an English teacher, says that “logically, if you’re on a computer, [cheating] would seem much easier.”

Jillayne Ange, a freshman history teacher, is one of the many teachers that prefers pen and paper to Chromebooks. However, she says she is willing to try MySchool for assessments. What she likes about preparing assignments on MySchool is that she can make many different versions of a quiz or test very easily.

Another benefit of assigning online quizzes is access to Teacher Dashboard, an application which lets teachers view their students’ desktops.

“I notice kids on webpages that they shouldn’t be on, so I close them using Teacher Dashboard,” history teacher Marc Stafford says.

But Teacher Dashboard does not always work for some teachers. If students bring their own computers to school, teachers cannot see what they are doing unless they walk around the room. The Chromebooks that freshmen, sophomores and juniors were issued are the only computers that work with Teacher Dashboard.

For many teachers, one website that helps prevent cheating is Turnitin.com. English teacher Dale DePalatis says that he has found kids sharing homework and notes on Google Docs.

“Last year, I found some kids trying to copy each other on some journal assignments, but Turnitin.com uncovered that cheating,” DePalatis says.

Carli Barnett, also in the English department, has noticed cheating not on tests and quizzes, but on homework assignments.

“I haven’t noticed cheating on quizzes with Chromebooks, but I have seen students sharing their work through Google Docs so their friends can copy them,” Barnett says. “This results in severe consequences.”

Nora Ward, a history teacher, says that she doesn’t even let her students do homework online to prevent cheating before it happens.

“One of the reasons all of my homework assignments have to be handwritten is because it is too easy for kids to share, and thus copy, with Google Docs.”

History teacher Golden Anderson says he adjusts his online tests so his students cannot see their results after they finish test-taking. He does this so the students cannot share their answers with other classes.

After speaking to a few students on campus, several admit to cheating without getting caught. They think that having Chromebooks does make it easier to cheat because students can just look at the screens around them.

Although teachers try to prevent students from cheating while taking quizzes and tests, they can’t seem to catch everyone.
-Kim Burns