The Score
The Score
Oct 19, 2021
The Score on Academic Integrity -- Derek Newton, editor of the Cheat Sheet and journalist
Play • 42 min
On this episode of The Score, we'll get a feel for the lay of the land when it comes to cheating in schools with Derek Newton. Derek is author of The Cheat Sheet, a biweekly blog post that explores all aspects of academic misconduct.

How big is the problem? Derek Newton (03:52):

We ask college students, "Are you cheating? Have you been cheating?" And most people tend to discount or pass over their own misconduct when you ask them. So those surveys tend to be underestimated or under count cheating. But most of them, if you go back 15 years or so, come up with numbers somewhere between 2/3, up to 80% of college students acknowledge in engaging in some form of misconduct over their college career. So, it's a significant amount. I say 2/3 and up.

Derek Newton (04:22):

The other way to get a handle on how big this issue is, misconduct issue is, is looking at finances. What sort of money are we talking about? I don't think that there's anybody who would disagree with the statement that this is a multinational, multibillion dollar industry, stretching across Australia, Africa, Europe, the United States.

Derek Newton (08:10):

People who sell cheating services are really good marketers. They make billions of dollars. They're not stupid people. They are creative and persistent and really understand the language they need to use when they speak to students.

Derek Newton (16:05):

Yeah. One of the biggest companies that provides this is Chegg. They have a service that will get you an answer to any question within 15 minutes. I think it costs $10. They have what they call, tutors, on standby all over the world. So any time of day, 24/7, if you're taking a test and no one's watching you, and you come across a question you haven't seen before or you weren't prepared for, and you'd really like to get it right, you can basically just text these companies and in 15, 20 minutes you'll get an answer that you can just pop into the thing and get it right hopefully.

Derek Newton (16:37):

Then there are other ones, I think Chegg has this service as well, but there are companies that, especially math questions, they don't even go through people anymore. You can use the camera on your cellphone to take a picture of the math problem and the software will translate it into math, solve it, send you the steps that are required to solve it back. You don't even engage with a human. That's very fast and very cheap and on demand 24/7.

Kathryn Baron (18:41):

Well, I just looked up, "I need help with a math question." There was quite a few popped up. But here's one. It says, "Chat with a math tutor in minutes, 24/7." And then there's a little chat box that opens up and it says that there are two AP teachers online right now. That's advanced placement teachers. And it looks like you actually will get your answer almost immediately.

Derek Newton (27:15):

[Cheating] is an existentialist threat not just to the institution of higher education, which I believe it is, but to all of us who rely on people to know stuff. If you rely on people to know stuff, this, you should be concerned that they may not

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