Cheating in schools has always been a concern; however, in today's high-tech age, where students can find information quickly on the web or in text messages from friends, it is perhaps more prevalent than ever. According to a December 1, 2008, AP news story titled "Survey Finds Growing Deceit Among Teens," 64% of all U.S. teens admitted to cheating on a test in high school.
In addition, a June 17, 2009, USA Today article by Greg Toppo reported that "a significant number of students have stored information on a cell phone to look at during a test or have texted friends about answers."
The survey also revealed a large discrepancy in the perception of how teenagers are using their cell phones. While "only 23% of parents whose children have cell phones think they are using them at school, 65% of students say they do."
Even if a student is never caught cheating, the practice brings harm in the following ways:
1. It replaces actual learning in a child's education.
2. It fosters a sense of personal inadequacy, guilt, and dependence on others.
3. It reinforces dishonesty and destroys character.
4. It brings suspicion upon honest students.
Since teachers at Alpha Omega Academy® cannot observe students taking tests, you, the parent, should be your child's greatest protector against the temptation to cheat. The single most effective way to protect your student is simply to be physically present while the test is taken. This does not mean watching your child in a way to signal, "I don't trust you." Rather, it simply means maintaining enough presence during testing that the student knows you will notice if he has something besides test questions on his computer screen or he refers to another source. Also, make sure to take other precautions, such as clearing the test area of all books and notes.
At Alpha Omega Academy, we strongly encourage parents to know when your student will be taking an online test. Login to your student's Switched-On® program frequently to stay abreast of what's coming. To assist you, the Academy has blocked the tests in many Switched-On courses, so you or your student must ask a teacher to unblock the test before it becomes available. We recommend you alert your student's teacher from your personal email account to unblock the test the day before your student is to take it.
Finally, emphasize preparation for the test. Confidence should replace temptation. Make sure your student has reviewed adequately and has mastered any areas of the unit in which he or she had difficulty. Plus, make full use of the reference section of each unit, including study guides for many of AOA's courses.
Principal, Alpha Omega Academy