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Hundreds of students caught cheating during remote learning

HOUSTON – Since the pandemic started, schools have needed to quickly shift from face-to-face learning to learning and testing in a remote environment.

Cheating is nothing new. Now, whether it’s high school or college, cheating has gone high-tech. Since most schools are remote, the temptation to cheat has never been higher.

KPRC 2 Investigates asked area school districts to share their records on how many children got caught remote cheating, since March 2020.

Conroe ISD reported 23 cases. In at least one instance, a student was given an in-school suspension.

Fort Bend ISD reported 79 instances, including two third grader students getting in trouble at Cornerstone and Rita Drabek Elementary.

Katy ISD reported 109 instances of virtual cheating. The highest number was at Seven Lakes, with 33.

Pearland ISD reported 59 instances. More than half (31) involved 10th-grade students.

HISD

In Houston ISD, the region’s largest school district, they could not offer any numbers. They don’t code specifically for cheating.

Montgomery ISD

Montgomery ISD had two reports involving three students violating the district’s code of conduct.

Waller ISD

Waller ISD doesn’t track the difference in virtual or classroom setting.

Colleges and military academies

Some institutions with well-established honor codes have fallen victim.

Here’s a look at how cheating has played out at some higher-learning educational institutions.

Air Force Academy

The Air Force Academy is the latest institution to be plagued by a cheating scandal.

USAFA announced it is reviewing its honor code after 249 cadets were suspected of cheating during online learning last Spring.

“The vast majority have admitted to cheating and have been placed on six months of probation and remediation. The remainder are pending cases at various stages of the Honor process,” said the United States Air Force Academy in a statement to KPRC 2.

West Point

The prestigious U.S. military academy at West Point is dealing with the biggest academic scandal in decades.

More than 70 students have been accused of cheating and 59 have confessed.

Texas A&M

It has also been reported that Texas A&M is investigating a “large scale” cheating case.

University of Houston

According to the University of Houston, it experienced an increase in reported academic misconduct cases in the fall 2020 semester with a higher number of cases involving coursework plagiarized from online websites.

  • Fall 2020 – 489 reported academic misconduct cases
  • Fall 2019 -- 204 reported cases

“The University of Houston uses a variety of strategies to ensure academic integrity during online testing. For essay and project-based courses, we use Turnitin, which scans student work for plagiarism.

For timed proctored exams, we use the Blackboard Respondus Monitor software, which works through the Blackboard learning management system. It locks down the test takers’ computer screens and records video from their web cameras, using artificial intelligence to flag suspicious video for faculty review.

The lock-down aspect of this software doesn’t work for classes in which students are expected to access certain items during the exam. For those instances, we are creating an in-house system that records video from the webcam, as well as recording the student’s computer screen, allowing faculty to ensure the student has accessed only allowed resources. This will also be used for hand-written exams, allowing students to be monitored during the exam and then given a short time to upload scanned images of the written work using smartphone apps like CamScanner.

Regardless of the software used, UH encourages the use of problem sets for exams so that the likelihood of two students having identical problems is remote. We also encourage tests to include enough problems that students would have little time left to evade proctoring software and check online for answers.

In addition, since the beginning of Fall 2020, Chegg has assisted the University by providing (on request) information associated with students who post UH exam materials on their website.” - Chris Stipes, UH Director of Media Relations

UNT and Texas State University

According to the Texas Tribune, the University of North Texas saw a 20% increase, and Texas State University saw reports of cheating increase by one-third over the previous fall.

Baylor College of Medicine

“Baylor College of Medicine’s School of Medicine has not seen any cases of cheating since the beginning of the pandemic. We have moved our exams to online as has the National Board of Medical Examiners and these exams include remote proctoring. In addition, our training focuses on competency and the goal is for students to know how to find and interpret the appropriate information. Our foundational science curriculum has been pass/fail for several years now and the clinical clerkships temporarily changed to pass/fail from March - December 2020.” - Dipali Pathak Lead, Communications and Community Outreach Baylor College of Medicine

Have you heard about cheating during virtual learning at your child’s school? Contact us.