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Cheating has been an issue in schools for as long as we can remember, and teachers say cheaters always seem to be one step ahead of them. But how can teachers prevent cheating when videos on sites like YouTube are teaching students how to do it?
If you type in the words "How to cheat on a test" in the YouTube search bar, more than 2,400 entries can be found, teaching many different ways to sneak answers into seemingly harmless items. Some of the videos are from people who make no apologies for cheating. One man said, "Cheat as much as you want. It will only make you a better person."
You have the "tape a small roll of answers to your pen's ink tube" bit. The kid teaching that one instructs us all to, "Roll it up as much as possible, tight, too, so it will fit."
There's the "write on a stretched rubber band" routine. The man in that video claims, "You can write whole sentences on here, and no one will have any idea what's on there."
Others are more complex, involving sewing new seams in a skirt to slip in pieces of paper, or even doctoring a soda label in Photoshop. What's alarming to some teachers is not the fact that students cheat, but the percentage of students who cheat.
University of Utah Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence Director Stephanie Richardson said, "It's 50 to 80 percent of undergrads who say they have cheated at some point."
Richardson says even if a student is caught cheating, what happens next is a long and drawn out procedure.
"The appeals process for proving the cheating and taking it through due process through the university becomes so cumbersome and so burdensome that it's almost not worth it," she said.
That's not to say they don't pursue cheaters, it just takes a lot of teacher support to do it properly. For cheaters who think they're learning really cool tricks by watching these YouTube videos, Richardson says they watch the videos, too, and there are simple things teachers can do to prevent cheating.
"It's painfully boring to not bring your own work during the exam, but you've got to get out of your chair and walk and watch and walk and watch," she said.
She says she encourages teachers to hand out pencils so cheater pens can't be used, and to take the students' cell phones before the test so they can't text each other. She also says some of the cheaters on YouTube put so much time into cheating, they probably actually know the material just from the preparation.