School exam cheating goes high-tech

Dec. 16, 2011 at 12:45 PM
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MISSION VIEJO, Calif., Dec. 16 (UPI) -- U.S. educators say they are trying to combat new digital cheating trends made possible by students' access to computers, smartphones and the Internet.

Students are finding high-tech ways to help themselves during tests, school officials said, from sharing answers by texting each other to digitally inserting exam answers into soft drink labels to carry into the classroom.

A YouTube video showing how to digitally scan the wrapper of a soft drink bottle then use photo editing software to erase the nutrition information and replace it with test answers has gotten nearly 7 million hits, USA Today reported Friday.

"There's an epidemic of cheating," said Robert Bramucci, vice chancellor for technology and learning services at South Orange Community College District in Mission Viejo, Calif. "We're not catching them. We're not even sure it's going on."

More than 35 percent of teens ages 13 to 17 with cellphones have admitted using the devices to cheat, Common Sense Media, a non-profit advocacy group, said, and more than half admit to some form of cheating involving the Internet.

Digital devices haven't necessarily made cheating more prevalent, just harder to detect, experts said.

"The naive folk belief is that cheating never used to be a problem," Bramucci says. "It's always been a problem."

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