How students use cell phones to cheat

We’ve spent the past couple of weeks focused on the CRCT cheating scandal, which centered around administrators and others changing students’ answers on state exams.

A recent national poll looked at the ways students cheat, with 35 percent of teens saying they use their cell phones. The results released by Common Sense Media also found:

  • 41% of teens say storing notes on a cell phone to access during a test is a serious cheating offense, while 23% don’t think it’s cheating at all.
  • 45% of teens say texting friends about answers during tests is a serious offense, while 20% say it’s not cheating at all.
  • 76% of parents say cell phone cheating happens at their teens’ schools, but only 3% believe their own child has done it.
  • Nearly two-thirds of students with cell phones use them during school, regardless of school policies against it.

How often do students cheat? What are the consequences when you catch them? If you could change the consequences, how would you punish cheaters?

ATHERTON UPDATE: Thanks to everyone who sent me copies of DeKalb Superintendent Crawford Lewis’ memo regarding the two Atherton administrators arrested for their role in the CRCT cheating scandal. Lewis had more to say when the AJC called him.

11 comments Add your comment

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HS Teacher, Too

June 25th, 2009
10:45 am

Most of what I have encountered is just kids in one class texting kids in later classes particular details. It’s no different than telling them the same information during lunch. I’ve heard of worse — taking photos with the camera so kids can have the actual exam, etc., etc.

Solution is just to use different exams/forms for different classes, putting the problems in different order, etc.

One thing that I always did when I was in the classroom was to make make-up tests different, and typically a different format, from the test the rest of the class took. So, for example, multiple-choice would become short-answer, in addition to the actual questions being changed.


June 25th, 2009
12:05 pm

Drop in the bucket. The big problem? Our schools attempt to exist amidst a Republican philosohpy that doesn not want to generate the funds necessary to keep them alive.

Get what you pay for.


June 25th, 2009
12:51 pm

What an interesting comment Ray since the federal government is entirely controlled by Democrats and, except for the last 7 years, the Georgia government has always been controlled by Democrats. The last two major school funding formulas in Georgia were presented by Democrats (QBE – Joe Frank Harris and A+ Reform by Roy Barnes) I think you should have said a “Democratic philosophy.

I think a failure to adequately fund education and new mandates in education is a bi-partisan effort.


June 25th, 2009
2:16 pm

At the elementary level I doubt much of this happens. Altho I work in a Title 1 school (70% or more free lunch) quite a few kids who cannot buy their lunch have the use of cell phones. These are 8-10 year olds with NO afterschool activities. I find that astounding.


June 25th, 2009
2:30 pm

I think cheating is happening more than we all think, even with the supposed high ability students. I attended my nephew’s graduation last month at Camden County High School. The salutorian was caught cheating on her final exams. It was decided that they would only have a valedictorian and no salutorian at the ceremony. It was quite the scandal.

Classroom Teacher

June 25th, 2009
6:18 pm

I too work in a Title 1 school where 83% qualify for free lunch. You couldn’t tell that by all the cell phones that are taken up due to violations of the school handbook. I’m not talking about cheap ones like trac-fone or jitterbug. I’ve always found it astounding that kids come to school, eat for free, then whip out a blackberry or envy. Go figure.

The AJC fails again

June 25th, 2009
6:48 pm

Did the AJC ask Crawford Lewis about the reports that his grievance officer, state senator Ronald Ramsey, illegally shut down a grievance hearing where a teacher was about to blow the whistle on a major cheating scandal?

Did the AJC has why Crawford Lewis doesn’t comment when a teacher’s legal rights are allegedly violated, but when an administrator willfully breaks the law, he sends an email to those same teachers whose rights have been violated, asking them to support the lawbreaking administrator?

I guess that would be too much like the AJC doing real reporting.


June 26th, 2009
3:52 am

As a high school teacher over the years, todays teenagers seem to have very little regard for ethics/morals. Call it lack of parenting, lack of church influence, whatever – it is what it is.

I often teach an AP class and very few of those ‘good’ kids even give a darn about the AP test to get college credit. They only want an A for the class grade for their gpa – and they do often try to cheat to get that A. Few care at all about actually learning the content/material.

And we wonder why the US is falling faster behind the rest of the world?

How do we change this? The solution is the same to most of societies problems. The solution isn’t the teacher or the school. The solution begins and ends AT HOME!


June 26th, 2009
3:56 am

Mark – give me a break! Your statement that the federal government is controlled by Democrats is true – but only over the last few months. Why must you intentionally mislead the intent of Ray’s comments? Have you taken lessons from republicans/Rush L.?

Everyone knows that NCLB is a Bush/republican idea and was never adequately funded by the ‘then’ republican federal government. Tell the truth, dude – it won’t hurt you.

Public school parent

June 26th, 2009
7:40 pm

High school students are using their cell phones and PDAs to cheat. it is more than just texting each other answers. they acually look up answers on the internet during the test. All the school systems should enforce the no cell phone use during the school day and ALL parents should respect this rule and not expect to text or talk to your child during the day. Most important, when a teacher takes custody of a phone the administration needs to back up the teacher.