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Academy School District 20 teachers catching students cheating in online classes, parents helping

Academy District 20
Posted at 5:44 PM, Oct 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-15 00:05:02-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — With the switch to online learning, some local school districts are seeing a rise in cheating. While it's always been a problem, some say it has increased with so many kids unmonitored at home.

Teachers with Academy School District 20 say it's hard to monitor students while they're learning from home and some are taking advantage.

"We started hearing reports of kids that are doing a preassessment and scoring way high and then they do a test when they're being monitored by the teacher and the scores are so different," said Kathryn Spencer, Academy School District 20 teacher.

When teachers ask about the scores, Spencer says students admit to getting help from their parents.

"Some of those kids when you ask them will say my mommy did it for me. We get those kind of answers at the high school level as well," said Spencer. "I ask my high school students how much cheating is going on and they say it happens all of the time."

Spencer says cheating has become a major issue for educators since the COVID-19 pandemic. For high school students, she says the main reason for cheating is stress over getting into college since ACT and SAT scores are being waived.

"Kids are worried about their GPA so some of the things that they are doing is the old trick. It's using multiple devices. They're using one device, even if the teacher is using a lockout browser then they're using another device and looking up answers." said Spencer.

Jared Verner with the University of Colorado Colorado Springs says while the requirements have been waived, colleges will be looking at more than just grades.

"We're looking at students' whole academic career. So while grades are apart of it and standardized tests are apart of it, we're looking at other factors whether it's extenuating circumstances that may have impacted their studies or a change in their home life," said Verner.

He says there are no reports of students cheating on campus. With the college doing online learning for the last 20 years, they have precautions in place.

"We have a lockdown browser to prevent anyone from having multiple tabs open on their computer. Whether it's a webcam option so that a faculty member can see the person taking the test is actually the one suppose to be taking the test," said Verner.

Spencer says it's important parents avoid helping their child cheat because it can create gaps in their education and cause them to continue cheating into college.

"Parents need to trust their kids, you need to trust that they know the information and let them do it," said Spencer. "As a community, we need to stop saying it's all about the grade but the journey getting there. It is okay to fail because you'll learn from the growth."

If students are struggling with their online classes, Spencer says it's important for parents to reach out and ask for help.

Academy School District 20 told News 5 that they were not aware of any student's cheating during their online classes. The district released the following statement:

“We are alarmed to hear some teachers believe there is an increase of cheating in the online learning environment. We ask that any teacher experiencing this challenge work through the appropriate channels and we will work together to provide solutions and support.”
Academy School District 20