By Maya Silberstein (’21)

Cheating is an issue that students and teachers alike have faced since the dawn of modern academia. But in recent years, the rise of cellphones and instant messaging has opened an even bigger can of worms in respect to academic cheating. Yet, even with these modern challenges, old ones still resurface on a daily basis at the San Diego Jewish Academy.

Everyone seems to have some inkling of an idea about what cheating means.“Cheating is when a student is taking a test and you look at another student’s test or when you use their answer on a study guide,” said Karina Evan-S (‘21). Many other students who were interviewed gave a response similar to this one. Galia Cohen (‘20) said, simply, “Cheating is copying someone’s answers.” It became evident immediately that the majority of students agreed that looking over someone’s shoulder on a written test and copying down someone’s answers is wrong.

However, when asked about digital methods of cheating, students’ answers began to vary. Dayla Kahn (‘19) said that “sending homework is only cheating if you use it verbatim, but I think that every once in awhile it’s okay to paraphrase.” Other students, such as Charlie Talman (‘21)  believe “that sending homework or copying anyone’s answers is cheating.”

Cheating photo
Some of the most common applications used by students to aid in their cheating pursuits. Photo: Maya Silberstein (’21)

Then, when students were asked about punishment for cheating, responses began to vary even more. Kahn (‘19) said that the epidemic should be dealt with on a “case by case” basis. Sharon Cohen (‘18) weighed in on the issue and said, “There are worse things than sending homework. There are worse things that people do and don’t get caught and punished for.”

However, the digital era of academia could actually hold some benefit for teachers. Mr. Hagarman, a science teacher at SDJA, says that he “wants to encourage that kind of collaboration” outside of class. Hagarman clarifies, “It’s up to the students whether or not they are cheating themselves just by copying what their friend wrote or if they are actually using it as a resource to help their understanding [of the content].”

Whether or not pupils in the new age of academics benefit from the opportunity technology provides is entirely up to the people at the core of every learning facility: the students themselves.  

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