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It used to be that cheating on a test was a somewhat simple endeavor; write answers to difficult questions on your arm, or look over at your neighbor’s work for the correct explanation to that tough problem.  Times have certainly changed and catching cheaters is getting more and more difficult.

In Meridian, Idaho, the school has enacted a recent ban on iPods and other digital media players during test periods. It seems that students don’t have any issues with rigging up the audio answers to problems that may exist on the test, so they feign music appreciation while listening to the contraband material.

The school has previously banned cell phones (friends outside the classroom were text messaging the answer-needy students), and baseball hats (kids were writing the answers under the brims,) but this new twist puts even tighter restrictions on what can enter the classroom on test days. It’s another effort to stop cheaters, but I personally don’t think it will make much of a difference.

Much Deeper Issue

Cheating has been around for a long, long time! Whether its baseball caps, or cell phones, forearms or iPods, the problem goes much deeper than how it enters the classroom. This is a moral issue, and until that aspect gets addressed, it probably won’t make much of an impact.

Tim Dodd, Executive Director of The Center for Academic Integrity at Duke University says this about it; “Trying to fight the technology without a dialogue on values and expectations is a losing battle." I wholeheartedly agree! This stuff starts at home, and as parents, if we don’t instruct our kids about right and wrong, they may decide to take their cues about school work from peers who cheat.

It’s not a foolproof method by any means, but sitting our children down and discussing their academic integrity can certainly be a step in the right direction. Oh, and our integrity in dealing with life also comes into play here as parents. If our kids have witnessed us lying on the phone about our spouse not being there, or have watched us stretch the truth in business dealings, we’ll probably come off as being more than a little hypocritical about it all.

Honesty is a heart issue, and it needs to be dealt with on an individual basis with our children. They will often live up to our expectations; what we expect of them, and what we expect of ourselves. If we want our kids to be truthful, honesty is not just the best policy in our families…it has to be only policy!

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By Michael Temple. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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