Can Teachers Accuse You Of Cheating
Educational institutions are places of learning and training for the both young and old. To ensure that parents achieve the objectives for which they enrolled their children, and students proceed to become productive members of society, schools institute strict academic integrity policies.
Students are expected to do the work and receive the necessary grade and qualifications for the work done. Unfortunately, there’re always students trying to beat the system through illegal means.
A popular excuse given by students caught cheating is that they aren’t hurting anyone. After all, they need to pass with good grades to get the job they want. The score becomes more valuable to them than the actual learning.
Although our education systems indeed put a greater value on test scores, cheating devalues education in general. This is why cheating comes with dire consequences for students caught in the act.
In high school, cheating could ruin a student’s chances of getting into their chosen college as it may be disclosed on their college application. Consequences in the case of college students could range from suspension to expulsion.
So how do teachers monitor students to identify attempts at cheating in both online and offline learning environments? And what should students accused of cheating do?
How Teachers Monitor Students
With online learning gaining in popularity, several educational institutions have already incorporated some form of online learning into their activities. At this point, it’s fair to say a majority of students have experience using Zoom and other communication and distance learning tools for learning.
While these tools can be leveraged for distance learning, how do teachers monitor students to deter cheating in both online and offline assessment environments?
This is the traditional form of proctoring or invigilation. The Cambridge dictionary defines this as a person whose job is to watch people taking an exam in order to check that they do not cheat.
We’ve all most likely had to deal with invigilators in our education. They are in the examination room with us and serve as a deterrent to cheating. Students caught in the act have their examination put on hold while the issue is investigated and the appropriate punishment is applied.
Despite how effective these in-person proctors may be, some students still find some ingenious ways to cheat. In-person proctors are also necessary for online learning as some schools prefer their online students to take tests in select examination environments.
One of the challenges online learning faced in its earlier days was how to administer online tests while preventing students from cheating. Using examination or testing centers didn’t seem the most ideal option where students were located in different parts of the world or countries.
This led to the development of online proctoring tools like Honorlock, ProctorU, and Proctorio. While some claimed the use of these tools constituted an invasion of privacy, their efficiency could not be argued.
With the student’s permission, these tools are able to access the student’s computer webcam and microphone to record the student and their environment during online examinations.
This means the students’ movements and actions at home are recorded during tests. Any movement in the background is logged and reported or the instructor is alerted.
Additionally, they’re able to restrict certain computer activities which prevent users from performing any unauthorized actions including minimizing windows, switching tabs, and using shortcut keys.
The computer screen is also recorded during tests and virtual machines and other unauthorized applications are restricted from running on the user’s computer within the duration of the examination.
While this does not prevent users from performing activities on other devices outside the computer they may be using, it locks down various functionalities and applications on the student’s computer.
A Lockdown Browser is a custom browser that locks the testing environment within learning management systems preventing students from performing various activities on their computers.
Installing LockDown Browser enables the software to gain some level of control of the user’s computer during test-taking and then restrict actions like copy-pasting, keyboard shortcuts, opening other applications, printing or even switching to another browser.
Lockdown Browsers alone may not serve as a good deterrent to cheating during online tests as users could still use other devices outside the examination device to cheat. Lockdown Browsers alone can only serve as a good deterrent when used in examination centers in addition to in-person invigilators.
Respondus Lockdown Browser on the other hand is built on top of the Lockdown Browser to provide additional remote proctoring services including accessing the computer webcam and microphone to record the student’s examination environment. Additionally, it also records the computer screen to flag and log any suspicious activities.
Plagiarism checkers are a great way to identify copy-pasting content both appropriately cited and otherwise. They’re commonly used by higher education institutions to determine similarities between submitted work and content available on the internet and other databases.
Unlike the above-mentioned options that prevent students from cheating during examinations, plagiarism checkers function after students have submitted their work. They compare students’ work with various others to identify similarities.
If you want to learn more about both free and paid plagiarism checkers, feel free to check this article.
Plagiarism checkers don’t necessarily identify plagiarism but simply compare any submitted work with their database, Google Index, ProQuest, and other databases to identify similarities. Any identified similarities, sources, and percentages are presented to the teacher to determine whether it constitutes plagiarism.
Preventing exam-taker impersonation is a part of protecting assessment integrity. To prevent impersonation, educational institutions leverage various applications to verify the identity of students taking examinations.
From taking pictures of students before tests to taking random pictures during the course of examinations, these tools provide a way for the institutions to ensure students do not switch places with others in the testing environment.
Other options besides image verification include keystroke recognition and fingerprint scanning. These are usually good impersonation deterrents, but they don’t do much to stop other kinds of cheating, and they can be expensive for the institution.
Can Teachers Accuse You Of Cheating
Yes, but mostly when evidence is readily available. Academic dishonesty accusations can carry severe consequences for students and teachers. As a result, teachers only make such accusations when they have evidence of the offense.
What To Do If You Are Accused Of Cheating
Cheating is a huge offense in the academic field so it’s rare for teachers to accuse you of cheating when they don’t catch you in the act or have some form of evidence to back the claim. But on the off chance that this happens, what can be done about it.
The first step is to read carefully through the official academic dishonesty accusation brought against you. If there’s something you don’t understand, read through your school’s policies on the offense and their guidelines on the best approach to resolving the issue.
Talk To A Guardian
Talk to your parents or guardian if available for advice. Do not worry or fear telling them as they’ve also been students before. They would be in a good position to advise you on the best approach forward given your school’s guidelines on addressing the accusation.
Don’t Confront Professor Or Inform Friends
Refrain from confronting your professor in an attempt to defend yourself against the accusation. Do not speak about the accusations against you to any other students on campus, even if they are your friends. Only talk to your professor when instructed by your lawyer.
Student Defense Attorney
Contact a student defense attorney who would be able to properly handle your case. Keep in mind that such accusations can come with consequences that could follow you long after you’ve left the institution.
It’s advisable to root out the problem by contacting a specialist in this area. Student defense attorneys deal with such cases and have a better understanding of the best way and evidence necessary to be acquitted of all charges leveled against you.
Consequences For Cheating In College
Most educational institutions have regulations against cheating and punishments that come along with the act. And while consequences for cheating may depend on the school, we’re going to list the most common. Keep in mind that punishments could include more than one of the consequences listed below.
If you’re found guilty of cheating, students may need to retake the class. That said, there are cases where students aren’t given the option to retake the course.
Depending on the severity of the accusation, a student may be temporarily kicked out of the institution for a couple of weeks.
In much more serious cases, students may be kicked out of the institution altogether. While this may seem extreme, schools need to ensure their academic integrity while also setting an example for other students.
Students could face legal consequences in the form of a fine or worse.
Students on scholarships caught cheating would most likely lose their scholarships.
Cheating would be entered into a student’s academic records. This could ruin a student’s chances of getting into their chosen school, undergraduate, or graduate program as the offense would be disclosed on their applications and other records if requested by the institution.