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Preventing Academic Dishonesty: What Parents Can Do

  
  
  
Melissa CrossmanCheating, or academic dishonesty as many schools refer to the practice, is a problem that continues to persist in the field of education. And for teachers who aim to fill their students’ heads with knowledge and prepare them for the future, this is a serious issue. When students cheat they fail to fully engage in the learning process and, as such, will likely not acquire the knowledge necessary for later-life success.

Whether students engage in this type of behavior in online classes or as part of their traditional, brick-and-mortar schooling, it will necessarily adversely affect their learning. While parents may not be able to prevent their children from cheating, they can reduce the likelihood that their students make academic dishonesty a common practice by engaging in frank discussions and being on the lookout for cheating.

Discuss Cheating

You can’t assume your child knows what cheating is and that it’s bad. As a responsible parent, you must sit down with your child and talk about cheating. When having this talk, make it a conversation, not a sermon. Ask your child if he knows what cheating is and listen to his answer. Add to his definition of cheating if it isn’t sufficient. Talk to him about why cheating is wrong, highlighting the fact that if he cheats he will not learn the material necessary for long-term success. Not only will this conversation leave your child with a clear understanding of why cheating is a problem, it will also show him that you care about him and that you want him to be academically successful, potentially increasing his desire to give his coursework his all.

Be Specific

When talking to your child about cheating, avoid the overuse of generalizations. Don’t simply tell him to be honest or to refrain from breaking rules. Instead, talk about specific behaviors you don’t want to see. Tell him, for example, that you never want to hear that he copied a friend’s homework or that you don’t want to receive a call from a teacher telling you he was cheating on a test. By giving him these specifics, you can improve the likelihood that he fully understands what you’re demanding of him.

Punish Appropriately for Cheating

If you get a report from your child’s school that he was caught cheating, don’t take this lightly. It isn’t sufficient to assume the detention or other school-based sanction your child received for cheating will serve as sufficient punishment. Apply a penalty at home as well to show your child you don’t agree with his behavior and it won’t be tolerated. Along with this punishment, make it clear to your child that you’re disappointed in him. For many children eager to capture their parents’ approval, knowing Mom and Dad are disappointed will have more of a lasting impact than any other punishment can.

Monitor Your Child

Even after talking to your child, you should remain a proactive parent. It will be harder for your child to cheat if you’re closely monitoring what he’s doing each time he sits down to complete his homework. Stay up-to-date on the assignments your child is completing. Pay attention to how long it takes him to complete these tasks. If you notice he’s blazing through them at an unusually high pace, he may be cheating.

Also, after he completes these assignments, look through them and make sure they seem to be written by your student. If the assignments contain words or phrases your child doesn’t know, they’re likely not his doing. If you suspect your child is cheating after you’ve already discussed how detrimental the practice is, call him out on it.

While it may seem that, as a parent, it isn’t your job to police your child and ensure he doesn’t cheat, by watching out for the telltale signs of cheating you can do a great deal to help ensure your child reaps the maximum benefit from his time in the classroom. Consider the time you spend talking to your child about the problems associated with dishonesty and monitoring his academic behaviors an investment in his future. These efforts may well improve his chances of academic success.

Melissa Crossman blogs on behalf of Colorado Technical University. She holds a Master's degree in Education and previously taught Junior High English classes. You can follow her on Twitter @melcrossman3.

Comments

Thank you, Melissa, for giving parents such clear tips on how to teach their kids the value of honesty and what it means to be a trustworthy person! According to a recent national survey, 25% of teens don’t consider sneaking peeks at cell phone notes during a test as “cheating” at all. In a culture that often values "getting ahead" by any means, parents have to deliver clear and consistent messages, and to back it up by holding themselves and their kids account able for walking The Walk when it comes to honesty. As political campaigns gear up, with their self-serving distortions and out-right lies, we parents and educators will have many teachable moments. Here's what I've written on the subject on teaching kids about honesty. http://blog.anniefox.com/2008/09/19/why-let-the-facts-get-in-the-way/
Posted @ Wednesday, May 30, 2012 2:10 PM by Annie Fox
I appreciate your concern for academic dishonesty. I took a survey of the five most common ways of cheating at our high school. The two most favored were: simply looking on someone else's paper and texting on a cell phone. Personally, I would require more students to hand write all papers submitted. This is because copies from computers or other sources are too easily duplicated. So, if the paper is hand written, at least the information had to travel through the student's eyes to their brain and be transferred through the muscles down onto the paper. Hopefully some information remained in the brain.
Posted @ Wednesday, May 30, 2012 7:43 PM by Dale Knepper/online instructor/Fresno Pacific University
Having gone to school before texting it didn't even occur to me kids were doing this. I appreciate you listing the specifics so I can explain clearly which acts are dishonest so my kids know they're wrong and why.  
 
While I agree that parents need to keep an eye on their children, they can't hover over them 24/7. Once children clearly know what cheating is and why it's not ok, we have to rely on how strong their sense of conscience is- the inner voice that guides them when we're not around. As parents, it's our job to start building a child's inner guide when they are young so they as they gain more freedom, we can trust them to make good choices. If you have young children, check out this book on honesty that will help children learn how to listen to their conscience- even when no one is looking.
Posted @ Wednesday, May 30, 2012 9:36 PM by momstoryteller
Thank you for all of the intriguing comments! I know that when I was teaching, many of my students didn't consider looking up the answers on their phones or sharing their answers cheating, and I agree that after we've given them the foundation to make the right decisions, we have to step back and let them decide for themselves. I'm glad that I was able to provide some helpful tips on how to do so!
Posted @ Thursday, May 31, 2012 7:54 AM by Melissa Crossman
What Parent Can> They can push for Parent Standards. They standards with help parents have a voices in their child education. 
 
 
 
Parent-U-Turn Standards for Parents, Caregivers and Parent Leaders. 
 
 
 
Standards for Parent Engagement, seven standards are delineated. These standards fall under three larger organizers, as shown below, and include: 
 
The Focus of Parents Rights and Advocacy The Conditions for Parent rights and Advocacy Parent as a Advocate 
 
 
 
 
 
Standard 1: ParentsAccess to information and Data collection: 
 
• Access to information: The school/ district inform parents of testing results and the statistics of the area/school/subject matter. 
 
 Information of results/statistics available via handouts or on-line 
 
 The results would be printed in multiple languages 
 
 alert system to inform parents that the information is available 
 
 Contact person that parents can ask to help them read and understand results-how readily available is this person. 
 
 Parents understand and use varied assessments to inform instruction, evaluate and ensure student learning. 
 
 
 
• Collection and Analyzing data: 
 
o The school welcome parents on campus for research or just to observe. 
 
 How easy or hard is it for a parent to come on campus for these purposes? 
 
 Some type of procedure should be in place and strictly abided by, by all involved as to accommodate the parent as well as not to cause too much classroom disruption. 
 
 There a person who is readily available to provide the parent support to conduct research. 
 
 
 
Standards 2: Parents in Decision-Making Roles 
 
 Parents must be representative of school population, for example 1 parent for 3,000 students is not acceptable 
 
 Space for parents to have access to administrators. 
 
 The attitude of administration generally open to parent collaboration. 
 
 Parents treated as reflective thinkers with possible solutions. 
 
 Expanding roles of existing modes of parent representation, for example the PTA 
 
 Parents can carry out research for the school, conduct trainings for other parents or even teachers on various subjects 
 
 
 
 
 
Step 3: Parents as Student Advocates: 
 
 Teachers are open to have parents contact/participate within their classes 
 
 The school is informing parents on how to contact people within the power map 
 
o For example: A handout which lists, “If you have a problem with _________ then you would contact _________ at number and office.” 
 
 This can be in a handout that was sent home but is readily available at school functions, front office, and maybe even in the classroom. 
 
 Trainings provided for the parent and school personnel which include power-mapping. 
 
 Provide a list of common school-used terms complete with the definition of the term and the context it is most commonly used is readily available and sent home. 
 
 Parents collaborate and communicate with students, parents, other educators, administrators and the community to support student learning 
 
 
 
Standards 4: Parent Leaders at Home and in the School-Community 
 
 Information being passed out to parents to inform them of the college process and resources available to their child and family. 
 
o Handouts 
 
 A process for reserving space at the school to facilitating easy meeting space for parents and the community. 
 
 Assigned a person to be able to go to for trainings 
 
 Parents assume responsibility for professional growth, performance, and involvement as individuals and as members of a learning community 
 
 
 
 
 
Standards 5: Parents Effective Two-Way Communication: 
 
 Efficient amount of translators readily available for all languages spoken by parents at school functions 
 
o Handouts in multiple languages 
 
o “Efficient” would be at least 90% of the teachers who need translators have them 
 
 For any type of communication home, teleparent or phone calls home, are the comments balanced between positive comments and things that the student needs improvement on. 
 
 Teacher respond to e-mail of phone messages within a timely manner. 
 
 Ongoing evaluation of effectiveness of the parent liaison. 
 
 
 
 
 
Standards 6: Parent District Level Support 
 
 The district have a point-person whom the parent representative, the administrator who is the point-person at the school, and any other relevant persons could go to for support and resources. How available is this person? 
 
o This person could even run the parent-district meetings and act like the liaison for the district. 
 
 An effect program that supports parent participation, may have minimum of 25 parent. 
 
 
 
Standards 7: Friendly School Atmosphere 
 
 Is the school clean? 
 
o Trash 
 
o Tagging 
 
o Paint: Dingy? Peeling? 
 
 Welcome signs 
 
 Office personnel and Teachers maintain professionalism, have an understanding of and practices good customer service. 
 
 Parents understand student learning and development, and respect the diversity of the students. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Posted @ Tuesday, June 05, 2012 12:10 PM by Mary Johnson
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