Eye of the Editors: Preventing Cheating

OPINION: Teachers need to prevent cheating by creating original tests.

Integrity. With a quick scribble of the pen, a student can sign off on it before letting the meaning of the word slip into the back of their heads.

As one of the systems in place for the math department to prevent cheating, signing integrity on every test is supposedly there to have students take the test truthfully while allowing teachers to grade and set curves for the test. However, this symbolic action seemingly does not deter students from spreading answers to friends during passing periods or even taking pictures of the test when looking it over in class.

With some teachers re-using their tests each year, pictures or copies of old tests can circulate throughout the student population and even tutoring centers, providing students undeserving of the grade to receive an A while affecting the curve for struggling students. Although this situation does not occur in every circumstance, the root of the problem still lies with how teachers continue to re-use their test each year. (See news story on page 8.)

Taking this into account, teachers should acknowledge that there could be old documents of their tests being distributed among students and find new ways to prevent cheating. Whether it’s giving different forms of the test to each class period or even changing the test from year to year, teachers can implement a more secure process to prevent students from cheating. While it’s more time consuming to revise a test, the results of providing a fair assessment of each student’s skill level should outweigh any consumption of time.

This is especially true for those teachers who take their tests either partially or entirely from online sources. This makes getting an unfair advantage both easy and potentially unintentional as tutoring centers or students may stumble upon the tests when searching for study material. Additionally, it is ironic that math tests are notorious for being cheated on, yet simply changing the numbers within the problems is not a precaution taken by most Diamond Bar math teachers.

For students who are tempted by pictures of the test or feel the need to share answers with friends, cheating only provides detrimental and short-term results. Receiving a guaranteed score will only procure a lax attitude to testing, which would not last as a solution forever.

As it often is with most issues at school, the responsibility for fixing this problem lies with both students and teachers. Students must recognize that cheating, while it may seem appealing and useful in the meantime, will significantly hurt their future performance in all areas, from college to their careers. On the other hand, teachers must be aware of the commonality of cheating and take measures to prevent it from happening, especially when their tests are easily accessible and widely spread among outside sources.

High school is the foundation of a student’s education, and cheating only hinders the learning process. Without actual understanding of topics that are built upon throughout the years, cheating students are bound to struggle once it becomes more difficult to cheat. Ultimately, taking the easy way out will not last into college and beyond.