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Academic dishonesty with cellphones

LeopardLife Carter Satterwhite, Editor-In-Chief

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While the school policy on cheating states “Willow Springs prides itself on challenging students to reach their full potential.” This does not include student use of cell phones or other devices to aid during testing.
Guidance counselor, Kay Bordelon, believes that phones should not be used in a testing environment.
“Clearing desks of materials, keeping backpacks away from students, phones off and away, are all things that can be done to ensure students are only using their knowledge on tests,” Bordelon said.
Tests, especially STAAR tests have become one of the focal points of an entire school year. Some students compare and keep track of scores on tests like a football game keeps score of points. Sometimes, they feel pressure to be perfect on tests and be the best among their friends.
“[Cheating is bad] Because you don’t get the full education you need. You get someone else’s knowledge,” eighth-grader, Sydney Barker, said.
According to Principal Kent Messer, on the first offense, the student’s parent will be contacted, and a parent meeting may be set up where the parent would be shown what exactly was done. On the second offense, the student loses complete credit for the assignment. If it was a test, then the student receives zero points. If it was a regular assignment, the student receives zero points.
“Academic dishonesty is bad because eventually you will be caught and you’re only lying to yourself,” seventh-grader, Foster Wissman said.
Some schools across the globe take very few tests every year while students at Willow Springs can take over 30 tests a year. In a commemorative study by the Council of Great City Schools, students take between 20-25 hours a year on tests. This may not seem like a lot, but that is an entire day of one’s life. For the average eighth-grader, testing takes about 2.3 percent of class time. In other countries across the world, time is spent less on tests and more on learning. These excess tests can causes students to stay up later, sleep less, and thus be more stressed and tired. President Barack Obama had called for capping the class time at 2 percent because the excess testing can lead to negative results like sleep deprivation.
“Well, I think it’s (cheating) wrong, but at the middle school level, we always look at it as a teachable moment. There are institutions and grade levels where when you are academically dishonest, you can be expelled, kicked out of universities, kicked out of colleges,” Messer said.
Many students at Willow Springs belong to an athletic program such as football, volleyball, swimming, cross country, tennis, basketball, or track. Academic dishonesty or failing grades can lead to suspension from playing or worse.
Teachers at Willow Springs put up folders between each desk to attempt to prevent cheating, but most folders are either pushed to the top of the desk or vandalized.
“Because we all are human, and sometimes we look for “the easy way out” (not using our brains, but relying on outside help), not having our phones with us when we take a test is a good idea,” Bordelon said.
The Campus Improvement Plan states that “The mission of the public education system of this state is to ensure that all Texas children have access to a quality education that enables them to achieve their potential and fully participate now and the future in the social, economic, and education opportunities of our state and nation.” WSMS strives to guide students to a quality education through teaching and learning, so that students can obtain a job and a successful future.
“At the middle school level, our teachers do a really nice job of keeping an eye out for it. There’s also a lot of tools now that can track it or trace it via online sources, so you know it’s something that’s certainly on everybody’s radar because when you are academically dishonest, you aren’t demonstrating really what you know and what you don’t know. It’s really cheating, and that’s why it’s called cheating. It’s kind of cutting corners. It’s only gonna hurt you in the long run,” Messer said.

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Academic dishonesty with cellphones