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What to Do about Cheating

Why do so many students cheat in school—and what can we do about it? That’s the question motivating Jay Mathews column yesterday in The Washington Post. His suggestions run along the line of encouraging teachers to be smarter.

There are dozens of smart ways to give a test, starting with staying in the room and paying attention to what is going on. You can change the order of questions for test papers of students sitting near each other. You can look for obvious similarities in answers. You can have a probing conversation on the lesson after class with a student whose work suddenly and mysteriously improves.

But teachers can only be so smart when it comes to preventing cheating. The real first line of defense is to capture the heart of students, to convince them not only that it is wrong to cheat, but that it matters if they do wrong. Unless students are committed to refusing to cheat under any circumstances, cheating will continue.

If you ever want to have a great conversation about the nature of truth and situational morality, ask a roomful of teenagers if it is ever okay to cheat. Even many Christian students who openly swear allegiance to God’s Word will often make a tortured case for the “okay-ness sometimes” of cheating. They’d rather you not try to equate cheating in school with lying or stealing and apply passages like Proverbs 20:23: ““The LORD detests differing weights, and dishonest scales do not please him.”

Seemingly in answer to those students, the Teen Advice page put together this uncompromising list of “Ten Things You Need to Know About Cheating.”

As parents, we have two roles to play. One involves teaching the morality (and wisdom!) of truth-telling and courageous peer-resisting to our kids from the time they are quite young. The other is harder: Being willing to accept the fact that yes, Virginia, my kid might be cheating, too. As parents, we’re often the last ones to believe.

That was demonstrated last year in the results of a coordinated survey of parents and teens about cheating with cell phones as reported in U.S. News:

More than 75 percent of parents responding to the survey say that cellphone cheating happens at their children’s school, but only 3 percent believe their own teen is using a cellphone to cheat.

How about you? What’s your approach to knowing if your kids are cheating—or responding when they admit it or get caught? Do you have a strategy to intentionally address the issue before it becomes an issue with your son or daughter?


elywaldoya on Sep 07, 2010 said...

Would you think someone was cheating if cellphone purchased without telling significant other?Can anyone please tell me?Thanks.
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Sandy on Oct 04, 2010 said...

I met a guy, he told me he was single and would like to know me and share. After 5 months i got pregnant, he told me to have an abortion, i had an abortion because of medical reasons and because also he manipulate telling me my baby will suffer without a father, because he was not going to be there for me and his family will not accept me. After the abortion he dump me. After 1 month i found out he was engaged the whole time. The girl was supposly his best friend, he once told me i hope my friend find a nice guy she is very good, how cruel, when she was his fiancee and cheating on her with me. He only used me, lie to me and to his fiancee. I sended an anonimous e mail to his fiancee telling her to be aware of his boyfriend, then next day he erased his false single profile, for sure he did it so she didnt find out he was hiding a profile to meet other girls as single. I didnt tell her at first about that profile because i wanted her to ask for evidence, but she did not, she ignored the message and obviosly told him about it, and he erased all evidence before she could find out. I dont miss him, he is a jerk, but a really miss not having the risk of having my baby because of my medical problems, but also my child could be born with health problems, an unloving dad and maybe a mom that coulnt take care of him it something had happened to me during the pregnancy and labor, He didn’t care of my health, our baby, he just told me it was for the best and he did not regret having to loose him…I just think that a man like these doesn’t love nobody, he lie to me, to his fiancee and was happy about the lost of our child..i think he doesnt love anybody just him, a feel pity for his girlfriend marrying a guy like this, but at least i warn her, she didnt ask for evidence, so it is her problem to marry a dishonest men that will continue to cheat on her..

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