Monday, July 20, 2015

Solving the Cheating Problem | Taking Note

Solving the Cheating Problem | Taking Note:

Solving the Cheating Problem

Because America is committed to testing every child in every subject in order to make sure teachers are doing a good job, the number of high-stakes tests is increasing, and that means that we have to act boldly to eliminate cheating, which, coincidentally, also has been increasing.
Some background is in order: We have a cheating problem in our schools[1]. While a handful of students cheat because they are competing to get into top colleges, many more principals, teachers, and administrators either cheat or encourage cheating. After all, their jobs are on the line because we now judge, reward and fire them based on student test scores..
The situation has gotten out of hand. In AtlantaWashington, DC, Austin, Texas, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Dayton, Ohio and many other places, adults have worked together, even holding ‘erasure parties,’ to change student answers from wrong to right.
So what can we do to punish cheaters? Unfortunately, we cannot just fire the cheating teachers and administrators. After all, who would replace [2] them? Education is fast becoming an undesirable occupation, largely because of the pressure to demonstrate academic achievement (I.E., high test scores), and that is making it extremely difficult to recruit new people into education.
No, we have to work with what we’ve got, just as former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had to fight the war with the army he had. There are two obvious steps: 1) increase surveillance to catch the cheaters and 2) make the punishments more obvious to the outside world.
Increased surveillance will cost more, of course, but we can trim other expenditures, perhaps in the subjects that aren’t being tested and therefore not occasions for cheating. I’m thinking of art, music and physical education, but, if schools have already cut those, then electives like journalism, minor sports, and theatre are places to look for savings.
Publicly shaming the cheaters is essential. Making the punishments more public should curtail cheating. For younger students, the shaming should be temporary. Perhaps cheaters should have to wear bright yellow shirts Solving the Cheating Problem | Taking Note: