The Latest Ways that Kids Cheat on Exams

Last Updated Sep 11, 2009 6:02 PM EDT

If a student cheats on an exam by texting is it really cheating?
Not apparently for millions of teenagers, who typically send and receive 2,272 text messages a month. The cell phone for many students is just as important on test day as a No. 2 pencil and a good night's sleep.

In a survey conducted by Common Sense Media, one out of three students in grades seven through 12 admit that they have used their cell phones to cheat on tests. What's more, 65% of all the students surveyed say other kids in their schools are using their cell phones to cheat.

Here's how kids who admit to digital cheating pull it off:

  • They check notes on their phone during exams. (26%).
  • They text friends for tests answers. (25%).
  • They hunt for answers on the Internet during tests. (20%).
And isn't this thoughtful? More than half the cheaters say they text or use their cell phones to call friends to warn them of pop quizzes. Only 16% of students think alerting classmates about a quiz is cheating and only half of students believe that using their cell phone to cheat during tests is a serious offense.

Cell phone cheating prompted the nonprofit Common Sense Media to suggest that schools and parents need to start searching for solutions to this ethical disconnect:

"The results of this poll show the huge need for a national discussion on the concept of digital ethics. Kids have always found ways to cheat in school, but the tools they now have at their disposal are more powerful than ever. Just as they need to be taught the rules of right and wrong in the offline world, kids should have a similar set of guidelines for good online behavior..."
In the meantime, if phones continue growing smarter, students may some day not have to think at all.

Cell phone image by Nesster. CC 2.0.