The online courses San Diego Unified has used to boost its graduation rate are shockingly easy to cheat, and students at schools across the district are taking advantage.
The online courses enabled students like Fernando Saucedo, a senior at Hoover High, to make up credits he previously failed – sometimes in a matter of days or weeks. But Saucedo said he and everyone he knows who’s taken an online course understands that finding answers to test and quiz questions is as simple as opening a second computer browser and looking up answers in real time.
“The online courses basically save you from not graduating, so I like them. But I don’t think they’re an effective way to learn. We all know we can find all the answers online and everyone looks them up,” said Saucedo, who’s taken three online credit-recovery courses at Hoover.
Saucedo’s story is a familiar one. I recently visited East Village High School, where students openly demonstrated for me how easy the courses are to game.
There, I saw students Google quiz questions from their online courses and pull up websites where other students have uploaded answers. I saw one student type nonsense where short answers were supposed to go and watched as the computer marked the answer as complete. One student stored screenshots of test questions on her cell phone because she said the same questions often appear on second and third attempts to pass tests.
A district spokesman didn’t deny to the San Diego Union-Tribune that online courses could be easily cheated, but told the paper that claims that cheating occurs were merely “anecdotal.”
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
Let me continue, Mario. This is much ado about nearly nothing.
Online cheating? Really? This is about showing up! How many kids simply blow the whole thing off and "move on". The kids doing this "credit recovery" may be waking up to some basic realities. And, the school is there to provide 2nd, 3rd, 4th chances before these kids have to "hit" the reality train. What do you, Mario, want to do? Penalize the kids? Ok. If cheating goes on in real tests like the SAT, the ACT, that ridiculous Baccalaureate thing, then, maybe, ok. Then, how can you say the written essays submitted didn't go through a parental washing, a neighbor's washing, and finally(the rinse) a professional's washing to be acceptable to a "college board"? No. This whole on-line cheating thing was reviewed by Shakespeare many centuries ago: "Much ado about nothing".
Schools are in the business of providing the means to an end. And, it is a very short end. Children who want to tap dance to fame should have their "shot". Why would a high school put their foot in front of the door to stop them? Are all students in high school on the train to doctor of pediatric neurology at Johns Hopkins? Excuse me? No! Each child is attempting to locate their path on their vision, on their passion.
Nothing in the "make-up" online "thing" should prevent them from realizing their potential. High school is not a prison.
@John H Borja What a novel concept. The billions spent on education in California is "about showing up." Beyond this drivel, I suggest a child attempting to "locate their path on their vision" (sic) might wish to learn rudimentary English. That skill could certainly help you, should your tap dancing career end somewhat short of Broadway.
As usual, Mario, you totally miss the point. The point is learning. The proof of what the students did will be quickly seen in the pudding. Children know what they are doing. They just want to get the thing done. They know that if they do not master certain skills to move into college, they will fail....anyway. Second chances.
Alternative schools, charter, vouchers, whatever actually hurt children in quick fashion. What is required to succeed hasn't changed for decades. Children can't be fooled. They know. The USSF online test for referees, as compared to the physical multiple "guess tests" at some physical venue is a joke. The proof of your expertise is ref-ing a match. Parents, coaches, and players will move you off the field if you don't ref correctly. And, that is the same with transferring credits from high school or two year college to a full fledged university.
The kids know they will not be "good enough" to succeed unless they have an underlying understanding of the concepts tested.
Cheating? Cheating? Hmm. The system, testing, the course presented is not the point of focus. The focus is on the concrete understanding. It is here that an online course actually fails. It is here where charters, vouchers, and private schools lie.
And, do you know what? Children know. They are intuitive. Who is o.t.l.?(out to lunch) The parents. Whatever canvas you want to paint, the proof is in the pudding. Kids get that.
There is no way around basic and concrete skill. And, kids know this. This is what you and Betsy DeVos do not understand.
I don't fully understand why you are comparing Mario to Betsy Devos. But the problem is with the set up and format of these online classes. Perhaps there's no substitute for a real teacher. My takeaway is Egenuity has got to go. Kids deserve better. It's like the district gives kids this crappy program that they know will let kids google answers, but they let it happen because it increases their graduation rates. Why do you think Charter School of San Diego uses Edgenuity too?
@espanolmatt You and the rest of the respondents today don't "get it". It's not about the app or the program or the "online curriculum". It's about closure. Kids know they will need more. They know they will need to take courses to support what they didn't "get" in high school. It's about human development and awareness. Mario and Betsy DeVos are feeding on the inadequacies of the school system. When, the real issue is the awakening of the children. Some kids need time to get with the program. Most kids, really, do the thing and get on with their lives.
I don't mean this offensively, but I don't understand what you're saying. You mention the issue is closure, kids knowing they'll need more classes, the issue then being awakening of children, and kids also doing the thing. None of these are concrete ideas. They are vague and unintelligible. At least that's what I would write if a student turned that in in my class. Could you please clarify?
Technology is a two-edged sword and one of those edges is destroying much of the integrity that once existed in our lives. But it's not just the young students who are to blame. For supposedly savvy adults - teachers and administrators - to believe that these online courses would somehow NOT involve cheating is inexcusable. And to call what happens with them by "graduating" these cheating students a success is beyond belief. That so many teachers came forward to talk about their own experiences tells the real story here.
Using this method of "teaching" we are not producing educated young people, but an entire generation of lying, cheating dummies. Of course, they have a lot of leaders as role models these days.
@Molly Cook This is exclusively about time and second chances. The kids on "go" were on "go" by the ninth grade.
@Bill Bradshaw The universities can distinguish between the real candidates and the "faux" graduates.
These kids don't make it passed the first quarter/semester.
@espanolmatt Good point! I wonder if WASC is on to this method of "teaching." The sad part about WASC is that they often only receive information from administration and not enough from teachers. The few days that a WASC committee is actually on campus is really not enough to see what is happening. Much of the material they get to review, etc. is often sugar coated by the administration.