Distance learning has made it easier for students to cheat

Story by Sierra Delp, Editor-in-Chief

The Coronavirus pandemic brought online learning, but with it cheating quickly influxed. However, disagreements on why and what this means for students arise.

Placer English teacher Erin Lee explained that she believes, “with greater use of technology it enables easier cheating.”

This holds true as The Daily Pennsylvanian states that, “case investigations of cheating saw a 72% spike from 52 cases in the 2018-2019 academic year to 89 in the 2019-2020 academic year when classes moved online in the spring.”

Students agree that there is an influx, some admitting to knowing of cheating. Teyah Karde, a sophomore at Placer High School stated, “anyone who’s had the opportunity to be online, if they’re stuck on something of course they’re going to look it up¨

Karde provided further explanations to this sudden jump, “I think it’s just because a lot of people are struggling right now. It’s hard to know what’s going on and sometimes it’s easier to give yourself a rest and look things up than it is to put in the work. It’s not necessarily just people being lazy.”

Another Placer sophomore Aidan Garrity elaborated on this point, stating that “it’s hard to have the will to study at this point in time.”

Even so, there are consequences for cheating, both disciplinary and long term. The Placer Student Handbook states that, “acts of cheating (including giving or receiving information during a test), plagiarism, altering official school documents or other acts as defined by department or instructor course syllabi will not be tolerated” and that “If a student is found to be in violation of the Academic Code of Conduct, he or she will earn a failing grade on that assignment and the teacher will notify the parents and the Assistant Principal’s office.” 

It further explains that second time offenders will face discussions of “appropriate consequences and the student’s future at Placer High School.”

As a teacher, Lee described how she prevents cheating. “I am trying to limit online tests, like google forms. My assessments are individual writing assignments so I can gage a student’s understanding.” 

While most teachers are trying to limit cheating, students disagree on whether or not there is leniency. While Garrity said, I really don’t think teachers are being easier on us” Karde disagreed.

“There’s nothing they can do.” She added that, “If we’re fully online it’s not like they (a teacher) can come to our house and tell us not to look answers up.”

Lee also shared her concern for students’ futures with consistent cheating, ¨I’m concerned about it (cheating) especially thinking about students going off to college, colleges can have extremely strict consequences when it comes to cheating and so I would hate to see that happen to students in the future.”

Students may want to keep this in mind considering that top universities such as Stanford have strict policies with cheating. The university’s honor code expects that those who break the rules will go through, “the standard sanction for a first offense includes a one-quarter suspension from the University and 40 hours of community service. In addition, most faculty members issue a “No Pass” or “No Credit” for the course in which the violation occurred.”

Even so, students disagree about personal long term consequences, as Karde told, “times are hard right now… If we don’t know the answer to a question looking it up isn’t going to drastically affect our futures. It might have a mild impact on our study skills but nothing major.¨

Differing opinions and thoughts leave the ongoing effects and reasons for cheating unclear, but what’s certain is that it is indefinitely happening one way or another.