The high-tech tricks kids use to cheat in school

Smartphone apps and group texting are just a few of the ways students are using technology to cheat.

Forget the old ways of cheating.

Technology is making the process a whole lot easier for students to cut corners in the classroom.

A 2008 survey of 24,000 high school students by Rutgers University Professor Donald McCabe found 64 percent report they’ve cheated on a test, while 95 percent acknowledged copying someone’s homework.

High school senior Louis Armstrong said using social media to cheat is pervasive.

“The kids in first period will do the test and take pictures,” Armstrong said.

When the bell rings, he said, students will send the answers to one another.

Other teenagers point to the proliferation of apps as a way to glide through assignments.

"There's tons of apps out there that will pretty much solve any math equation you can find,” said high school freshman Nathan Shugart.

Apps like PhotoMath, Yup and yHomework make it easy to solve a problem.

"All you do is hold your phone over it, (it) scans it, then it gives you the answer,” said eighth grade student Joe Haggard.

Other students said group texting is a popular method for piggybacking on another student’s homework.

“People will gang up and they’re like, ‘OK, you do half the homework and I’ll do the other half,” said seventh grader Adam Shugart.

"I was on a group text and someone had one of their sibling's quizzes, like every single quiz they had the year before," said high school freshman Alessandra Garofolo.

Shawn Lee, a freshman in college, said he believes there is a distinction between group study and outright copying.

“Doing homework with other people is OK, but if you’re sending the answer and they’re copying it, it’s like copy and paste,” Lee said. “That’s when it becomes cheating.”

Other students said gadgets, like Apple Watches, are replacing old-school cheat sheets in class.

"The Apple Watches, you can pull up pictures,” said high school senior Isabella Garofolo. “So a kid turned his Apple Watch and he had all the vocab definitions and was just breezing through the quiz.”

In some schools, quizzes and tests are administered on a laptop that blocks student access to the internet. But some students still find a workaround by propping their cell phones against the laptop and using search engines for answers.

For Armstrong and countless others, the temptation is there.

"It’s very much unfair to see somebody cheat and do better than me,” Armstrong said. “It's like, ‘Why am I not cheating?’”

© 2017 KHOU-TV


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