Students share stolen answers, retake test

By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers

SOUTHGATE — For one Anderson High School class the year-end “final” exam was not the conclusion of that course as the test was soon retaken after it was confirmed that many — if not most — had obtained an answer key ahead of time.

Southgate Community School District Supt. Leslie Hainrihar said two students admitted to having taken cell phone pictures of the teacher’s answer sheet prior to a final exam on June 13. There had been a break between exam periods during which the students were unsupervised in the classroom.

“During that time some students did access the area of the teacher’s desk and discovered an answer key,” Hainrihar said. “By their own admission they took pictures of it with their cell phones.”

One of the students claimed to have only used the answers for their own test, she said, the other admitted to having sharing the test key with other students.

The test was quickly graded, and Hainrihar said the teacher recognized grades that didn’t add up.

“There were enough irregularities that the teachers saw something that didn’t make sense, and asked (administrators) to investigate,” Hainrihar said. “They were afraid the test had been compromised.”

(The extent of cheating has been exaggerated in some news outlets and forums: Hainrihar said it was “not true” that nearly every student scored a perfect 100 on the exam.)

Two students admitted to having taken a photo of the answer key — at least one had shared it with other students —and Hainrihar said that the class was given another version of the test that day or the next.

School officials have yet to determine what discipline the 11th-grade students will face, which could carry into the 2014-15 academic year. Hainrihar said punishments may vary depending upon the student’s past record.

Hainrihar said school officials will continue discussing the use of cell or smart phones in school, but that the technology used is a new method for age-old behavior.

“Kids will try to cheat,” Hainrihar said. “We need to recognize what the temptations are and try to minimize them. The flip side is that there are many amazing instructional uses for the technology.

“Instead of banning them, can we use them in as an instructional tool? School districts will continue to look at it. It’s an ongoing discussion.”

(James Mitchell can be reached at jmitchell@bewickpublications.com.)

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