High-Tech Cheating

January 23, 2020


If you’ve ever suspected cheating may be responsible for some uncommonly high test scores, Cheat-Tech may be the culprit. Not surprisingly, an entire tech industry has grown up around helping students cheat on exams in ways impossible to detect, and just as difficult to prove.

Is Cheat-Tech prevalent in International Schools? We’re not in a position to say. Except one thing is for certain, privileged students have the financial resources to purchase any or all Cheat-Tech devices.

If you believe your exams are falling victim to technology, here’s some helpful insight into how students use Cheat-Tech in, and outside the classroom, and what you can do to deter offenders.

IN the Classroom

Smartwatches – So-called smartwatches are the perfect device for streaming test answers sent by an accomplice in a remote location. Special screens can make a smartwatch appear to be turned off to all but the user who is wearing special lenses. Solution:  In late 2019 the Independent Commission on Examination Malpractice in the UK recommended all watches be banned from exam halls, even what appears to be normal watches which may be a smartwatch in disguise.

Smartphones – Would-be cheaters have gone beyond the obvious, using tiny earbuds to listen to prerecorded information transmitted from their smartphones hidden away in their purse or pocket. Solution:  Signal Jammer

Spy Cam Glasses – This may seem extreme, yet students have been caught cheating with spy cameras hidden in eyeglass frames. These micro cameras read and transmit exam questions to an off-site helper who sends back the answers to a smartwatch.  Solution:  No watches allowed in exam hall

Invisible Ink Pens – Perfect for creating cheat sheets, invisible ink pens have a special light at the tip of the pen that makes otherwise invisible ink, visible to the user. Solution:  Pass out easily identifiable pencils/pens and erasers. Prohibit the use of any other writing device.

Electronic Erasers – Like spy glasses, this device can transmit questions and receive answers. Solution:  Permit cross-outs. No erasing.

Calculators – We’re talking calculators that look just like ordinary scientific calculators but can stream answers from an offsite accomplice, store and retrieve information and connect to the internet for a quick Google search. A push of the right key instantly puts the device into calculator-only mode – a handy feature if the user thinks the teacher is watching. A code is needed to return the device to Cheat-Tech mode, making it impossible to prove the device was used for cheating. Solution:  Insist on the use of school-supplied calculators during exams.

Fake Fingerprints – Although we’ll never encounter this form of cheating in our classrooms, it’s interesting to note that students in China have been caught using fake fingerprints to appear to be another student for whom they had planned take a college entrance exam. Chinese education authorities now have taken to using facial recognition systems, fingerprint verification, metal detectors, drones, and signal jammers in a bid to thwart unscrupulous pupils.

 

OUTSIDE the Classroom

Auto-summarize – The latest trend in student cheating involves students using auto-summarize features in programs like Microsoft Word that extracts the most important information from a large piece of writing and generates a much shorter version that anti-plagiarism software has difficulty detecting. Summarizing software is easily found online. Solution:  On the first day of class, get a writing sample from every student. A few paragraphs, handwritten, on an impromptu topic should be enough.

Have something to add? Please scroll down to join the Discussion.


Beyond the School Gates

December 12, 2019

“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” – Anthony Bourdain

•••••

  If you frequent our Discussion Boards, you’re well aware our recent Survey revealed that nearly 50% of 650 surveyed teachers would break Contract if they could do so, consequence-free.

If you are ready to take the next flight out, it may help to know that seasoned International Educators will sometimes accept positions at poorly reviewed schools solely for the opportunity to experience a culture and country of great interest to them. It’s a bold move, but it is done all the time. If you’re unhappy with your current school situation, take pause. ISR encourages you to look outside the school gates to all your host country has to offer.

No one says it’s easy to rise above a school when everything about it flies in your face. Your objective, however, for going overseas was far more than to just be part of a school — you could have done that without leaving home. It’s YOUR choice:  You can wallow in the dissatisfaction of being at a lousy school and let negative feelings destroy the incredible overseas adventure you’ve worked so hard to earn, or…you can just let it be and do like seasoned International Educators and focus on, and savor, all that’s happening outside those school gates.

Comments? Have Something to Add?

Please scroll down to participate in this Discussion


Consequence-Free Early Departure?

November 21, 2019


.From time to time teachers write to ISR and ask:  Why would anyone teach overseas? They reason that based on negative School Reviews, no one is happy.

No situation is perfect. Annoying and even unacceptable situations worth writing a School Review about do not necessarily translate to:  “I’m miserable here and I’d leave today if I could.” A negative School Review may simply be intended as a heads-up to other teachers. Helping each other Make Informed Decisions is what International Schools Review is All About!

ISR Asks:  Are you sufficiently satisfied with your current International School situation that you’re looking forward to honoring the remainder of your Contract? Or, would you leave on the next flight out if you could do so without suffering any financial and/or career consequences? 

Take our survey with real-time results:


GOOD Things Are Happening!

October 3, 2019

These days, you can hardly turn on the TV or open a news source without being bombarded with bad news.  It can feel like the world is imploding…

The good news is, International Educators around the globe are creating student-powered Community Service projects destined to make a positive and lasting difference. 

In the words of the Dalai Lama: 
If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.

Here’s a sample of some projects IEs around the globe are spearheading in an effort to make the world a better place for one and all:

• Beach/river/lake/park clean-ups
• Planting trees
• Bake sales/carnivals to raise money for designated charity
• Adopting a local school – Help repair/paint and donate supplies
• Big buddy for kids at an orphanage/hospital
• Habitat for Humanity – teacher/students volunteer in building homes
• Packets for the homeless – socks, snacks, toiletries

ISR invites YOU to share what you, your school and colleagues are doing to make the planet a better place, one small step at a time. When we share our ideas, projects and insights with each other we become a source for positive change! Thank you!

Please scroll to participate in this Discussion


ISR’s Top Discussion Topics, 2019

September 19, 2019

ISR Weekly Discussion topics often prompt 50 to 100 (or more) insightful comments from our readers. If you missed any one of these timely and popular Discussions, now’s the time to catch up and join in:

.
International
 Educators Keeping Each Other Informed
is what International Schools Review is All About!.

Slipping Out Early w/ My Possessions & My Sanity
(90 teacher comments)

Hooks-Ups & Breaks-Ups:  Taking Relationships Overseas
(82 teacher comments)

Back-Stabbing Director As My Confidential Reference
(62 teacher comments)

Why Don’t Schools Post Age Restrictions?
(88 teacher comments)

Back Home w/ the Job Search Blues
(68 teacher comments)

Are the Golden Years of International Education Over?
(53 teacher comments)


I’m Choosing to Have a Good Overseas Experience

September 12, 2019

An ISR Member Offers Timely Advice:

I”m in my second year at XYZ International  School. Is the school as spectacular as represented by the director at the recruiting fair? Not quite. In fact, it’s not even close.

It’s not a bad school. But certainly not what I was led to believe by our illustrious leader. Last week I decided to write what I consider to be a factual ISR Review of this school. I feel it’s my responsibility to keep other international educators informed.

As it turns out, our director follows ISR like a watchdog. As such, he called an emergency faculty meeting right after my review was included in the ISR weekly newsletter. Following his senseless rant we were all “given the opportunity” to sign what amounted to a gag order, the alternative being….“pack your bags and go.” Essentially, we were agreeing to never post information or opinions about XYZ International School to ISR (or any other website). Yes, we all signed.

Violating the new gag order carries some heavy consequences, culminating in immediate termination and prosecution….”to the full extent of the law.” By signing, we also gave the school the right to financial compensation for any perceived loss of revenue which may result from a specific school review. That is, if they can figure out who wrote it. Good luck with that!

It’s no secret what happens when you tell a child to keep their hands out of the cookie jar. Well, overnight two new reviews mysteriously appeared on ISR. If you know anything about ISR (and apparently our director does not) you already know your identity is completely protected when you submit a review. Whoever it was that posted the newest reviews did so knowing there would be no consequences, unless they included specific personal information that led straight to them. That they did not!

By mid-afternoon, via the school’s intranet (working for a change), the entire staff received an aggressively worded memo from the office. It looks like a witch hunt is on!

I know I acted truthfully and responsibly in sharing my experiences about this school. I also feel that for me, right now at this point in my life, I have a responsibility to myself to ignore the school’s shortcomings and make the most of this overseas experience. I’ve wanted to live in this part of the world for a very long time, and since nothing at this school flies in the face of my principles and/or integrity as an educator, there’s no reason to ruin this opportunity by obsessing on all that’s wrong here.

You can’t fix stupid and certainly not guys like the one running this school. If you’re in a similar situation, the choice is yours. You can focus on the negative and frustrate yourself until your blood pressure is off the charts, or you can choose to accept and work with the situation.

Is the glass half full or half empty? That’s open to debate and, to me, it kinda depends on what, exactly, is in that glass. My best advice:  Stay Positive!

Sincerely,

B.

ISR Invites your comments


Do The Pluses Still Outweigh the Negatives?

August 8, 2019

I grew up in International Schools. Today, with a teaching credential and 3 years classroom experience under my belt, I’m preparing for my first ever International Teacher recruiting fair. I’m ready to get back overseas where life feels so much more authentic to me!

I recently discovered ISR and have been reading Reviews of schools I attended as a student (grades 4-12 in 4 different international schools). In my teen years I was well aware some stressful stuff was going on for the teachers, but not to the degree or magnitude of what I’m now seeing on ISR.

My question:  Do ISR readers who’re currently overseas think the positive aspects of living internationally as an educator outweigh the negatives, especially the really harsh stuff I’m reading on ISR?  Memories of life overseas are among my most treasured possessions and I’m willing to take the bad with the good….to a reasonable extent, that is!

Sincerely,
Grace

Survey:

 

Comments Anyone? Please scroll to participate