Preventing Cheating with Distance Learning

The answer to any imaginable question is at everyone’s fingertips. Whether it be on a phone, Chromebook, iPad, or any electronic device, the Internet is readily available to answer any question it is asked. Every answer is only a few taps away, keeping our lives easy and entertaining. But with technology’s helpfulness comes a whole new world of challenges.

Because of the new hybrid model of learning and full distance learning option, students sit at a screen all day, utilizing the internet to their advantage. Resources like Google Meet and Schoology are available to all members of Region 16, which allows students to effectively learn and communicate with teachers. 

This means teachers also face the challenges of students using technology to cheat on tests and quizzes while at home. Whether it be a simple Google search, a Quizlet, or a study guide close-by, it’s so easy for students to use outside resources on tests and quizzes. 

Each teacher has a different strategy to prevent cheating to their best ability. While some are depending on Go Guardian to monitor Chromebook screens, others are having their class take each quiz or test on whichever day they are in person.

Science teacher Jill Blasi, found that the best approach is to use Go Guardian while students test at home. 

“The testing is all online, so students in class and students online are taking the test or quiz virtually. There’s no paper copies because I wanted to keep it fair,” Blasi explained. “They all need to have GoGuardian on and no cell phones. They have to have their cameras on, make sure that the camera is facing them and not the wall, the ceiling, or the top of their head. If I find someone looking to the side a lot; or they’re not looking at the screen; or looking at where the quiz or test should be, then I’ll ask to see their work area, but I haven’t had to do that yet.”

This approach ensures that students will uphold academic honesty. Blasi utilizes these resources to her best ability to guarantee that students do their best, honest work. 

Similar to Blasi, Spanish teacher Daniela Santos uses GoGuardian while students take tests and quizzes at home. 

“I’ve been trying to use GoGuardian and I’ve also been trying to open and close the quizzes as soon as I can,” Santos said. “I open the quiz as soon as the students are in class and I close it once the block is over. I’m trying all the resources I have to use, but I might try to do the quiz in class and then come in the next day and have the other half do it.”

This approach allows students to only complete their quiz or test while they are being monitored on GoGuardian and logged into the class Google Meet. By closing the test at the end of the block, it enables Santos to closely monitor her students and prevent them from returning to the assignment after class. 

While Santos and Blasi utilize GoGuardian to prevent cheating, math teacher Monika Fryc-Gabrys finds it best to have students take tests and quizzes in person.

“For the bigger assignments, like quizzes or tests, I chose to have them on paper in class. So whoever is in the class on Monday gets it on Monday and then the students that come in on Tuesday take the quiz or test on paper on Tuesday,” Fryc explained. “I want the students to have an experience on the paper. The SATs we will have on the paper, and also especially for AP students because the AP exam, we assume, is even on the paper, so I want the students to have this experience.” 

Fryc’s approach allows students to show their work on paper and prepare for future exams. Although it gives one group extra time to study, overall it will help students in the long run.

Each of these teachers use their resources to their best ability in order to prevent cheating, but in the end, it is up to each student to decide to uphold their academic integrity or not. 

“I’m not going to be able to catch everything,” Blasi said. “If someone is determined to cheat, they’re gonna figure out ways to do it, but I really just want to uphold the academic integrity to the greatest possible extent. I just hope that students take enough pride in themselves and their work to be honest.”