Cheating Escalates during Distance Learning

An epidemic of cheating has accompanied the Coronavirus pandemic. With teachers forced to deliver instruction and collect work over the internet, students have taken advantage. The inability of teachers and administrators to maintain the same level of academic security and the waning interest among students to sustain academic integrity is readily apparent on social media. Teens have literally boasted about the fact that they can cheat more easily during distance learning on popular platforms like Instagram and TikTok.

“I feel like it’s kind of a given with this situation. Most students will cheat. With distance learning, it’s really hard to focus on studying and actually giving the time to properly learn things,” admitted a Campolindo freshman.

Yet teachers are not ignorant to the behavior of their students. Some have implemented strategies in response to the increase in cheating. Science teacher Tren Kauzer has attempted to address the issue by reducing the workload in his courses.

“The school board has said that classes should be assigning around [2 hours] of work per week. If students don’t feel overloaded I think the chances of students cheating will probably decrease,” Kauzer said.

At least 1 Campolind sophomore agrees with Kauzer’s assessment: “With the coronavirus taking so many lives every day, everyone’s a little on edge. I honestly believe that decreasing work was the right thing to do.”

Another way to reduce the temptation to cheat is to reduce the stakes. According to Kauzer, the administration has said that teachers should not be giving out any formal tests during this time. “I think this is another great way to decrease the stressors associated with this new, and sometimes scary, situation,” said Kauzer.

Kauzer hesitates to put the blame on a lack of integrity on the part of his students. “I think part of [the reason why students cheat] is stress. The stress/pressure of getting good grades. The stress of having too much work. These stressors can push students to cheat, even students who might not normally cheat,” Kauzer said.

“This is definitely true. I know a bunch of my friends are more inclined to cheat because of stress at home and the pressure to do well in school,” said a Campolindo freshman.
History teacher Lindsay Webb-Peploe said, “Students cheat for lots of reasons – they can’t see the value of the assignment\; they don’t understand the assignment\; they’re swamped with work and just trying to look for an easy win, etc.”

While teachers may be sympathetic to the plight of students under a mountain of pressure, cheating is still a breach of ethics and will trigger consequences should it be discovered.

“As always, students can be reported to administration. If there is a record of students cheating, then consequences can be more severe in the future if students cheat (and get caught) multiple times,” said Kauzer.