Thursday, September 20, 2007

more about students cheating on exams

When a student is confronted about cheating on an exam, they usual response is that everyone does it and it is no big deal. According to several studies, about 75 percent of high school students admit to cheating, and if you include copying another person's homework, that number climbs to 90 percent. As a future science teacher, I do not mind that students help each other on homework assignments, but cheating on the assignments?

In the past, the weaker students tend to cheat so that they would not get bad grades in their classes. Only a few number cheated in high school. But now, it
is accepted as a normal part of school life, and is more likely to be done by the good students, who are fully capable of getting high marks without cheating. It is the students with very good grades that are cheating. The students are under so much pressure to get admitted to the good colleges that they resort to cheating in order to keep their grades up to par. Nationally, 75 percent of all high school students cheat. But the ones who cheat more are the ones who have the most to lose, which is the honors and AP (advanced placement) students. Eighty percent of honors and AP students cheat on a regular basis. Wow!! This is absolutely nuts. Some students claimed that if they get one B average, their application is tossed into the reject pile. So they have to perfect in every way in order to get into the good colleges. As a result, cheating is like their safety net to be successful in life.

Top 5 Ways to Cheat

-- Copying from another student

-- Plagiarizing by downloading information or whole papers from the Internet

-- Cell phone cheating - text-messaging answers to another student, taking a picture of the test and e-mailing it to another student, or downloading information from the Internet

-- Getting test questions, answers or a paper from a student in a previous period or from a previous year

-- Bringing a permitted graphing calculator into the test loaded with answer material previously input into the computer portion of the calculator

Top 5 Ways to Curb Cheating

-- Create an honor code with student input so they're invested in it

-- Seriously punish cheaters according the academic integrity policy

-- Create multiple versions of tests to make purloined answer keys useless

-- Ban electronic devices in testing rooms

-- Develop multiple modes of assessment so the grade is not determined primarily on tests

Are high school graduates ready for college?

Somewhat surprising answer to this question is no. This is truly unfortunate for many students that want to go to college after high school. However, there is a big difference between high school and college. Students are forced to enter remedial coursework due to either their high school coursework or grades. This costs everyone involved with the college student's education tons of money in terms of tuition and time. There are several things that are addressed in high school that students need to develop before reaching college. One of them are critical-thinking skills, such as analysis, interpretation, problem solving, and reasoning skills. Key content knowledge is the essential knowledge of each discipline that prepares students for advanced study, or study of the "big ideas" in each content area. Also students need to develop academic behaviors include skills such as reading comprehension, time management, note-taking, and self-awareness of how one is thinking and learning. Otherwise, college would eat them alive because it in not all fun and games. Students need to learn how to balance their social life with their academic life. It can be tough at times but sometimes we have to make sacrifices. I know that I had while I was working on my bachelor's degree.

Abolish the SAT exam?

There is an on-going debate about whether or not the SAT test should be abolished and replaced with the subject tests. I feel that the SAT test needs to stay around for several reasons: 1) the majority of America's college campuses accept it for a means of admissions criteria and 2) it possible that the test can show how a student performs on basic aspects of education: math, reading, and writing. Two of these are essential to do well in college. The subject exams only test to demonstrate on how a student performs in that particular subject. If the student performs poorly on the general SAT but performs well on the Subject tests, this can show that the student might be capable of performing well in college.

High school students stealing exams

In a town in New Hampshire, about 50 high school students were involved in stealing final exams from their teachers in advanced subjects such as Calculus and Algebra II. I wonder how these students were able to steal the exams. Where is the honor system in terms of cheating? Are the stakes so high that it requires for students to find means of cheating in order to get good grades? I feel that students need to live by a honor system when they are in school. As for me, my exams would never be left in my classroom for sake of students finding them then cheating in my classroom. I will be fair if they are fair to me.

how much advanced math & science are needed?

A study recently came out indicating that majority of parents feel that they students do not need to study advanced science such as chemistry and physics. The majority of the parents felt that physical science and biology are the only essential science classes needed in schools and forget about chemistry and physics. I might be biased but I feel that students going to college need to have a year of chemistry and a year of physics, particularly if the student wants to study a field that has science embedded in it. If the student takes only the required science classes to graduate from high school then eventually goes on to study science in college, they would need to start at the lowest level. This was ultimately cost the parents money in terms of college tuition. Also, it would take the student longer to graduate from college.