October 22, 2005

How NOT to get caught cheating in DH's class

DH just assigned his first research assignment, a 1-2 page essay on an element, and it was due last week. We've been grading them this weekend, and it's unbelievable how brazen some of these kids are about plagiarism.

Clearly these kids are too stupid to know how NOT to get caught. I'd like to point out a few things they can do to keep from getting caught:

1. You're 12 or 13. You don't know what the word "albeit" means. Or the word "allotropic". Or the word "criticality". Is that even a real word????

2. You're AMERICAN, so you don't spell using "oxidises", "grey", or "colourless". Not to mention "Aluminium".

3. Changing the color of the text doesn't make it any harder for me to google the OBVIOUS copied phrases in your paper, like "Plutonium has assumed the position of dominant importance among the transuranium elements because of its successful use as an explosive ingredient in nuclear weapons and the place which it holds as a key material in the development of industrial use of nuclear power."

You need a PhD to write a run-on sentence like that. Hell, I have a PhD and I can barely make sense of it.

4. When you cut and paste text that includes links, try to remove the underlines and change the text color to match the stuff you actually wrote, mm'kay?.

5. Utterly ruining the grammar of the sentence doesn't stop me from googling and catching you cheating. (ex: "He was impressed by the vivid colors of the chromium compounds, and such a joy after the endless colorlessness of sodium and potassium compounds." ain't a good way to hide the sentence "He was impressed by the vivid colors of the chromium compounds, such a joy after the endless colorlessness of sodium and potassium compounds." An eighth-grader DOES NOT use words like "endless colorlessness" anyway, duh.)

6. When cutting and pasting from two different sources, be sure you don't include the same information twice. This is a dead giveaway that you have no idea what's on your paper.

7. When cutting and pasting, try not to get the "Back to the Top" link at the bottom of the page.

8. Mr. DH is smarter than you. He knows when you are talking straight out your ass. Mrs. DH is also smarter than you, and she is VERY GOOD with Google. Keep these things in mind.

At least 4 of the little turds are going to get referred to the counselor. After I found the pages they copied from, I bookmarked them, and when we take the computer upstairs, DH is going to print them out. I wrote the URLs of the "suspected" sources on the papers marking the plagiarized text, as well.

Moral: Don't cheat, but if you do, only use sources you COMPLETLY understand and proofread, dammit!!!

I can't believe how easy it was to catch the little fuckers.

Posted by caltechgirl at October 22, 2005 10:28 PM | TrackBack


That's just lazy on their part.

But really, I blame the parents. I mean, honestly, what kind of parents haven't taught their kids to cheat properly by jr high?

Posted by: KG at October 22, 2005 10:43 PM

Once again, it just goes to show that if you're smart enough to cheat effectively, then you're smart enough not to cheat at all -- not cheating is a whole helluva lot less stressful!

Posted by: Ian Hamet at October 22, 2005 11:39 PM

When cutting and pasting, try not to get the "Back to the Top" link at the bottom of the page.


Posted by: Pixy Misa at October 23, 2005 12:17 AM

Only 4 are getting referred to the counselor? I think that means that many more of them have figured out how to cheat successfully. They took your advice already, and are using it.

I don't even want to imagine what I would be doing if I was that age again.

Posted by: Bill at October 23, 2005 07:23 AM

And what do you expect from a California Public School?


Posted by: Flap at October 23, 2005 11:57 AM

By the time I finished jr. high my friends and I had cheating down to an art form.

Those kids just aren't applying themselves.

Posted by: RW at October 23, 2005 01:34 PM

Oh my! Oh my!

It would be fun to have a conversation with the kids, asking them questions using the words they used in their papers...

Posted by: Marie at October 23, 2005 01:40 PM

Might be fun, for only a few minutes. Then it becomes a tedious exercise in pain...

Posted by: Bill at October 23, 2005 03:45 PM

I "my day" (no computers. no kidding), the cheater would go to the library and laboriously copy directly, jot for jot, from an entry in the eneyclopedia. There was no such thing as Google, but the teachers knew damned well that a seventh grader can't write a paper about the civil war like the historian who wrote the piece for the encyclopedia.

While it was plagarism plain and simple, in the "old days" at least one actually had to copy by hand every word, which meant that, on some level, the student read the material. Not so, with huge "cut and pastes."

I believe I tried it once and was instantly busted.

Posted by: Jim - PRS at October 23, 2005 06:30 PM


Stupid little f*ckers, huh??

Posted by: Christina at October 23, 2005 06:36 PM

Maybe my naiveté is on display here, but I am appalled at these kids! How freakin' hard is it to read something, internalize it, and regurgitate it in your own words?


Posted by: Phoenix at October 24, 2005 09:35 AM

Caught their parents too, probably.

Posted by: -keith in mtn. view at October 24, 2005 10:29 AM

Bummer. I used to teach physics and electronic labs at VCU and, not surprisingly, I busted a couple of dipsticks who decided to cheat on the quizzes rather than actually study for them. Some other students who actually worked for their grades were less than sympathetic to the cause of cheaters and pointed the losers out to me. One student received an "F" in my class and got booted from school to boot. Turns out that she'd been cheating in ALL of her classes. Seems that she didn't know how to cheat without getting caught.

Fail them all and let God sort 'em out. It's the only way to be sure.

Posted by: physics geek at October 24, 2005 06:10 PM

I really hate cheaters. I am positive that at least half the people I work with managed to get their jobs because they either lied on their resumes or they cheated their way through college.

When I was in college, more than one person tried to cheat off of my test papers in finate math (which is really pretty funny if you know me)and in all my psych classes.

I did everything possible to keep them from viewing my answers, but due to extreme peer pressure, I did not rat them out - and I should have!

One is a dentist now, the other a podiatrist, and one became a major league umpire!

Posted by: Beth at October 25, 2005 03:13 PM

I'm with physics geek -- refer them? Show them the door -- that's what I get to do!

Posted by: Ogre at November 3, 2005 11:09 AM