July 20, 2010

As David asks here, how does cheating fit into the standards-based framework? I’ve always tried to discourage cheating by planning for it–multiple versions, etc., but I know some kids still cheat. S and I have already discussed more active monitoring during quizzes and tests, so I’m hoping we can nip any potential cheating in the bud.

From a philosophical standpoint, I can see the virtue of allowing the student to reassess the cheated-upon quiz; in general, content grades should be about assessing skills, not behavior. It’s hard not to think there shouldn’t be consequences, however. Lowering the student’s conduct grade and/or calling his parents don’t seem to be severe enough for most, if not all, of my students, so I think in this instance philosophy must bow to circumstances.

So what to do? From a logistical standpoint, how do I differentiate the grades so that I remember that so-and-so cheated on his quiz three weeks ago?

For any quiz that I plan to give, half of it will be the first time an objective has been assessed. I think it’s fair to give a 0 on these objectives, as they will be reassessed in the normal course of things, and I don’t think cheating should affect that. The other half of the objectives are the second (and more difficult) assessment, and those are the ones I do not want the student to be able to reassess. In order to let me know what’s going on, I think I will give the student a 0.5–it’s close to being a 0 for the assessment, but if I only use that number for cheaters, then I know not to allow the student to reassess.



  1. I’ve had this brewing in my head as well. I also don’t think that a phone call home or some conduct grade is enough, but what about something more serious? Cheating is a serious offense, something that can get you kicked out of college in certain circumstances. Cheating in high school should have a serious behavior consequence, just like fighting.

    • I’ve talked with my administrators before about this, and their basic response has been that I can do either behavior consequences (referral) or grade consequences, but not both. I usually give the student a 0, since that seems a more severe punishment than sitting in detention.

      I’ve found I take the students’ conduct grades much more seriously than they seem to. When I was in school (lo, those many years ago), my parents expected me to bring home A’s in conduct; anything else resulted in a whipping (either my dad’s belt or a switch).

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