Saturday, January 21, 2006

Learning to Cheat

Students are cheating in school. No surprises there. Cheating will always be a tempation. The difference now is that schools are now making it legal. With the help of wireless PDA's and cellphones students are now logging onto the Internet and logging in A's in the grade book. High tech cheating is an issue in many schools. However it is mostly in the aflfuent ones where these devices are common. Quoting from the Wall Street Journal Weekend Edition (1/21/06) the solution seems to be to just let them cheat.
Change the rules and make it legal. In doing so, they're permitting all kinds of behavior that had been considered off limits just a few years ago. The move, which includes some of the country's top insitution, reflects a broader debate about what skills are necessary in today's world - and how schools should teach them. The real world strengths of of intelligent surfing and analysis, some educators argue, are now just as important as rote memorization.
I guess personal integrity and perseverance to master something aren't skills necessary in today's world. Not only are the students allowed to look up answers for themselves, they can beam the answers to their fellow students. The teachers don't consider it cheating because they are allowing the students to do it. So why test at all? Just give them a worksheet and have them look up the answers and discuss their findings.

At a school in Denver, kids join together and share even on multiple choice exams. According to teacher Karen Waples,
"It doesn't hurt, she add, that it has the side benefit of relieving the stress that students say comes from keeping all the answers in their heads."
So what's the purpose of teaching anything if we don't want them keeping the answers in their head? What's hilarious is that while they are allowed to beam the answers to each other in class, they will still receive an F if they talk about the exam. So low tech cheating is forbidden but high tech cheating is OK? And what do the students think about this new development? Oren Kantor a senior at the private Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida said,
It makes it easier to get a better grade." Oren says he wouldn't have had time for 18 holes of golf last week if he'd had to prepare alone for a project on Hamlet.
After all we can't let our education get in the way of what's really important now can we?

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