Caught a student cheating

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by Pi-R-Squared, Nov 18, 2013.

  1. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Nov 18, 2013

    She admitted copying answers from the student in front of her. It was a multiple-choice test and she, by some miracle, guessed correctly on 12 straight 4-choice questions! (HAH!) Major problem with that argument was that the copier had form B while the one in front had form A. After questioning the innocent party (the one copied from) and dismissing her from the classroom, the offender broke down crying..... She knew she had been caught... "I don't want to get in trouble...." she said as she cried.

    Question is, what could be done? A veteran teacher told me to talk to admin and get their opinion..... I thinking along the lines of making her write a letter of apology to me and to the one she copied from stating why what she did was wrong. But what about the test score? Should I give a zero and make her re-take and then average? Forget the zero and just have her re-take?

    Suggestions?
     
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  3. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    I give a zero if students are caught cheating.
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Nov 18, 2013

    I would give a zero and allow a retake after the student brought in a note from a parent stating that the student talked to the parent about the incident.
     
  5. Ted

    Ted Habitué

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    Nov 18, 2013

    This is what I do for the first offense.

    Any offense after that, and it's an automatic zero. No excuse after the first time.
     
  6. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Nov 18, 2013

    Caesar's idea is a good one. It balances the consequence of a zero with the consequence of admitting a major blunder to parents. Giving the student the choice is perfect.
     
  7. Auter12

    Auter12 Comrade

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    Nov 18, 2013

    ZERO! I wouldn't even allow a retake, unless you need that data to measure for mastery.

    I explain to my students that if they were to get caught cheating in college, they could/would be kicked out.

    I would make sure the parent is notified. Also I agree that you should talk to administration about the school policy on cheating.:2cents:
     
  8. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Nov 18, 2013

    I recommend checking school policies about giving zeros for academic dishonesty. My school doesn't allow academic penalties for behavior issues, even when it comes to academic dishonesty. We have to offer a retake. Other schools might have different policies, so it's worth asking about.
     
  9. live

    live Companion

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    I agree. My previous school's policy was to write a referral even on the first offense. The referral always resulted in suspension. The teacher was then allowed to decided whether to give a zero, though we were encouraged to allow a retake.

    At my current school, the policy is that cheating results in an automatic zero for the first offense; a zero and parent contact for the second offense; and a zero, parent contact, and referral for any offense that follows. No matter what, the student receives a zero. I follow this policy, but generally contact parents even on the first offense; many of my parents would want to know about this. My students are younger though.
     
  10. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Nov 18, 2013

    The odds are overwhelming that there's already a school policy in place. I would check with the dean(s) or whoever in your school is in charge of discipline.

    She's not the first kid who has cheated, and won't be the last.
     
  11. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    I spoke with the P and he says to give a retake. I will also make her write an apology to the student who she cheated off of. The innocent student was shocked that she was involved in this. I will also call her guardian and tell her what happened.
     
  12. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Nov 18, 2013

    Good.

    Anytime you come across something like this, it's generally a good idea to check with administration. As clever as the kids think they are, there's always a precedent, and someone will know how they want it handled.

    It's also a good message to the kid who was cheated on to keep her answered covered.
     
  13. AliceB

    AliceB Rookie

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    Nov 20, 2013

    I also agree with Caesar I would give a zero and allow a retake.
     
  14. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Glad administration had clear guidance on this issue. It's tough when they shrug and say it's up to individual teachers to design policy, especially with something as delicate as a cheating student.
     
  15. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Well, it's been two days since I caught her and she's been "out sick." Of course, I put it in quotes because I just don't really know. I called her legal guardian (grandmother) and she was disappointed in hearing the news. She told me that the student has had a rough childhood (father ran off to work in another state) and now the student lives with her grandparents..... I believe that she just didn't know the material and felt desperate..... Now, I just wonder when she'll come back! The one who was copied from asked me if she moved to another class!
     
  16. bison

    bison Habitué

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    Nov 20, 2013

    I wonder if the student is not showing up because they're embarrassed. Others may disagree with this, but I would not have done the apology letter to the other student. While I understand why you did it, I don't think other students should be involved in the discipline unless they're directly involved or impacted, which wasn't the case here. Even if they were a little bothered by the copying, I don't think it warrants receiving a letter. IMO, it unintentionally adds an element of embarrassment/humiliation as punishment, which isn't appropriate. If you feel like they need to do some reflection in writing, maybe a short essay about why it's wrong to copy and what the student can do instead when they're struggling (ways to study, asking for help beforehand, etc). That way they're reflecting while coming up with ways to prevent this scenario in the future. Another idea is to require them to show you their study materials before the next exam and/or retake. Notecards, outline, whatever. It's more of a way to provide structure and prevent this kind of situation for a student who is struggling than a punishment.

    Btw, policy at every school I've worked at and attended is to give a zero after any cheating. Usually a referral as well. In this case, retake with evidence of studying seems appropriate to me.

    Side note, I don't work in secondary these days and am no veteran teacher. :) However, I was a struggling teen once, although I don't think I ever cheated. I can understand where a student like the one you described is coming from. It sounds like she's having a tough time and could use some help.
     
  17. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Even good kids make stupid choices. That's OK-- it doesn't make her an axe murder, just a kid who made a stupid choice.

    This may just be the incident that helps her make a better choice next time.
     
  18. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Good idea.... I didn't propose that to her so I'm going to take that off the table. But what about just apologizing to the person she copied from in person instead?
     
  19. RadiantBerg

    RadiantBerg Cohort

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    Did the other person even know she copied?? Honestly if someone copied off of me, I wouldn't care too much unless I was facing repercussions for it. I don't think any apology is really necessary. It's not like they were fighting or something.
     
  20. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    I wouldn't do it. Keep it between the student, her family, and yourself.
     
  21. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Why I originally asked is because I confronted both the innocent party and the "cheater" together after class left. They both stood in front of me as I was questioning how the innocent's answers matched exactly to those on the "cheater." The innocent one did not participate in helping the other cheat, but, since she knows her answers were copied, there's a known breach of trust. That's why the "I'm sorry I cheated off your test" mea culpa might help, but I dunno. :D
     
  22. bison

    bison Habitué

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    It makes sense and like I said, I understand your reasoning. Your intentions are good, but I just think it adds an unnecessary component and that it's unwise to involve more students than you need to, especially when the guilty party seems to be having a rough time.
     
  23. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    Nov 21, 2013

    I've had students react that way. I wrote a student up last month because when she discovered her seat had been moved to a place she didn't like, she threw some books, flipped over a couple of chair, refused to work and then walked out when confronted. She received a 2 day suspension and refused to ever come back to class. *shrug* I called home, talked to mom who was very "oh, well, it's her decision", tried with guidance and now it's too late. Her temper tantrum has now cost her a failing first semester and since she needed this glass to graduate this year (this is a SENIOR acting this way), I guess she's now not going to graduate on time. All because she was mad at being written up. :rolleyes:

    There's only so much you can do. If the student doesn't show up a 3rd day in row, I'd alert guidance/admin, but you shouldn't feel bad. You followed school protocol and I don't see any problem with the apology. The student risked another student's good name and should have to apologize to them. That's part of growing up is accepting responsibility for poor decisions.
     

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