Mar 27, 2006

Using Cell Phones To Cheat On Exams

(London) There has been an increase in the number of students in England who have been caught cheating in their exams, and the most significant change has been the rise of the use of mobile phones to cheat.

"Over recent years we have seen a noticeable rise in the number of mobile phone related incidents in examination halls across the country," said Ken Boston, chief executive of the examinations board. "As we enter the summer examination season I have today written to schools and colleges to remind them of their responsibilities to impress upon students the importance of not taking mobile phones into examinations."

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, the body that oversees exams, found that more than 4,500 students were cited for cheating in 2005, an increase of more than 27 percent since 2004.

Smuggling cheating aides into the exam was the most common type of violation, with 1,887 students getting caught for this offense.

Students in England can lose points or even be failed just for possessing a cell phone with them during exams, whether or not they use them to cheat.

England, of course, is not alone in the phenomenon of cell phone cheating. Students in the same room could type the number of a problem on a test or quiz and receive a text message from a classmate containing the desired answer.

Better yet, if students needed help on an exam, they could enter a word or problem into their phone and send it to a student away from the testing site who can look up the answer for them.

And, given the amount of memory that some of these phones hold, a student might very easily store an entire semester's worth of notes in his cell phone.

Of course, the best cheating scam I have yet to hear involves water bottles. I had students last year in a moment of candor tell me that water bottle cheaters are everywhere.

"You peel off the label, dry it, fill the back side up with notes, and then glue it back on the bottle," said one student, whose identity I will keep safe. "Professors never think to check the water bottles."

Other favorite cheating techniques include: notes in the pantyhose, notes on one's hand, and notes posted on a nearby bulletin board disguised as a harmless announcement.

Another interesting technique disclosed to me involved foreign alphabets.

"If you learn the Greek alphabet you can put up a lot of notes around you that look like fraternity newsletters," said one student. "The only risk you run is if the instructor reads Greek."

To my mind it seems easier to just work hard and study. Some of these students put more time into beating the system than if they had just studies in the first place.


Anonymous said...

I used to post notes on the bill of my baseball cap.

Geek Girl said...

I'm a teacher - I only teach 8th and 9th grade in the US, but I have noticed and increasing trend over the past six years of academic dishonesty. It's as though they don't see it as being dishonest, or don't care, or both.

historymike said...

Anonymous - That's a new one by me.

Misty - thanks for dropping by. I agree that there seems to be less shame attached to cheating than when I was a young man.

This seems to be especially true with plagiarism, as today's students want to cut-and-paste entire research papers.

Is it just the technology, or are there deeper social changes occurring?

When I was in high school a person had to go to the library, go through a bunch of books and articles, and then type the paper. One could conceivably copy whole sentences from the sources, but at least plagiarists in earlier times had to do a little work.

Today a person can go to a research paper mill and buy one for $49.

Anonymous said...

We used to use programmable calculators in the early 90's to put in formulas and other stuff we couldn't remember for trig.

Then the teachers found out, and they had to check the calculators every test.

Calico Jack said...

I didn't have the programmable calculator. However, my girlfriend at that time was an English major and helped put her way through school by writing research papers for the gear heads. One regular customer complained that the papers were too good, and about a third had to be dumbed down a little.

Another man in my class was a computer science major, and he and another student were both accused of plagiarism on a program he wrote. He was able to prove that he was the author by showing previous versions of the program, and the other student was expelled. The prof was originally going to expell both of them, and the other guy wouldn't confess. And no, there wasn't a first class ass whuppin' involved.

I never had any trouble, mainly because I could write and I refused to take classes with an instructor that wouldn't give essay questions on their exams. Profs don't like to give essay questions because they take time to grade, and the stupid kids can't write, let alone summarize a quarter's worth of knowledge. One English grad. ass. assigned the class a 500 word essay on something the author did well, and one of his more memorable students turned in a hand written paper on taking birth control pills, written in gold ink.

Stephanie said...

I recently took a proctored test for my college admission. They wouldn't let me take a cell phone in, and I wondered why. Now I know.

(Stephanie has never owned a cell phone, so doesn't really know how useful those little critters can be.)

historymike said...

In my mind "annoying" more accurately describes cell phones.

I much prefer email. I can respond when I have time, as opposed to answering an intrusive call.

I am firmly convinced that there is an inverse relationship between the likelihood that a cell phone will ring and one's relative ability to answer the blasted device.

I would never get a phone call on Sunday morning, unless I happened to leave my phone on as I entered church.

Stephanie said...

LOL, that and the expense is why I've never had one, Mike. Though, as I find myself traveling more and more, I'm probably going to get one eventually for safety. However, limited minutes and having it off will, hopefully, curtail most of the annoyance.

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Anonymous said...

I am currently a college student and most of my teachers grade on curves. I have noticed lately that the majority of students ARE cheating on tests in one way or another. Because my teacher is grading on a curve I feel as if I must cheat as well in order to maintain a fair standing in the class. It's a very tough moral decision between cheating and be honest. It amazes me that the teachers do not see this happening.

Anonymous said...

bahahahhaa im a highschool student :P thanks for the waterbottle tip kidding