Students will go to many lengths to cheat on tests, but are their attempts successful? Not usually. It's not easy to fool a teacher.
TheROMKing asked teachers of Reddit: What's the dumbest thing one of your students has tried to cheat on a final?
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
An A for effort would be appropriate here.
I once had a seventh grader yell "time out!" and reach for his notes because he believed it wouldn't count if he took a "time out" from the test.
His older brother or possibly uncle told him that.
Seriously sounds like something my brother would tell me.
Yeah, this is dumb.
I had a student submit a paper which was literally the Wikipedia page on the subject. It wasn't even edited or altered.
Once watched my English professor call someone out for pasting Wikipedia entries or something like that and not even merging the formatting.
One of my students did this but used Google translate to another language and back to English. So every mention of "cheese" in his paper about cheese-making was instead the word "cheddar". The student also left in the citations formatted exactly the same as the Wikipedia page (but with mistranslations, so "dictionary" was instead "word reference").
That's almost genius.
Back when I was teaching high school, I had a student in my first-year Spanish class steal the key.
...to the second-year exam.
He was not subtle about it, either. The whole "fake a sneeze, go get tissue, pick up a large piece of paper and think your skinny teenage body can conceal it"-angle. I should have said something, but the fact that I was so fed up with this sorta crap by that point is one of the reasons I quit teaching high school.
Anyway, that's not what made it the dumbest thing. What made it dumb was when he bombed the exam, he tried to claim discrimination. He insisted that I mis-graded his exam because I hated him, and even got his mother in on it for a parent conference, which means his own mother was front and center for me when I pointed out how his answer form was a perfect match for a test he didn't take.
Mom was not happy, to say the least.
You should have brought your mom into the conference
My boss was there. Does that count?
Depends. Did you call your boss "Mom" by mistake once?
I called a teacher "mom" one time and it was all I could do the keep from jumping out the window.
When you don't even know how to try.
Community college math professor here.
I had a student turn in zero homework all semester. He missed one of the exams. Of the exams he took, scored around 20%.
Then comes final exam time. It is a small class and I am walking around the room. The student has his notes on his desk. I tell him to put them away. He says he needs them. I insist, and he does. Then I see him obviously copying off another student. IT WAS A DIFFERENT EXAM VERSION. His "answers" had nothing to do with the questions.
He turns in the exam then thanks me and says, "see you next semester." A class that I don't even teach and he is clearly not ready for. He scored in the single digits on the final. I don't think he understood how the whole college thing works.
I still have nightmares about being enrolled in a class, almost always a math class, that I have forgotten about and for which I have not done any of the homework and have missed most of the exams. I am fairly certain I have had that dream within the past week. Your student is literally living my nightmare, except he seems to at least know he has the class. I am so uncomfortable right now.
This doesn't seem very ethical.
This didn't happen to me. It happened at the school of business at the university I attended; I just had classes in the business building so I got to hear what happened.
There was a professor who taught the same class every semester, and used the same tests every semester, derived word for word from his notes and lecture materials. This was a huge lecture hall class of 300 or so. Some of the Frat / Sorority students kept a filing cabinet with old tests for students to study from. Some genius scanned an old copy of the final exam for this professor's class, transcribed the answers in case there was any doubt, and emailed it to all 300 students. And someone forwarded that email to the professor and TAs.
The class? Ethics in business. A requirement for seniors to graduate. The professor held a mandatory session in which he dressed down the entire class and pondered whether to fail everyone or send everyone to the disciplinary board.
IIRC, the guilty parties were outed and went before the student discipline board. Some students were allowed to write a reflective paper about ethics and then sit for the re-written final exam.
At my school this would have been the professor's fault for re-using identical exams. Sharing exams from previous years was specifically allowed university-wide and students were encouraged to do so (often the professors sent out the old exams themselves).
Stories like this piss me off. 300 students didn't ASK to have that emailed to them. Most of them had nothing to do with it, and professor dickhead threatened them all anyway.
I never understood what is wrong with having old exam questions. It is good to practice and to get a general overview what the exam will be about. My university time was mostly memorizing the content of that semester and then practice it by the available old exam questions. Yeah, sometimes there were quiet similar questions in the actual exam then, but assuming a professor who did his PhD in a similar way is too stupid to use the exact old exam questions is just ridiculous.
At least they're reading something.
Not a final, but I used to assign weekly reading homework—you can read whatever you want, but you need to write me a summary of what you read and submit online. Well, one student decided to summarize reading Twilight. Only she summarized the movie and used the actors actual names, not their characters.
Another time she decided to summarize the instructions for a box of cake mix.
I told her (and amended the assignment instructions to include) that if she's going to read and submit a recipe, I better get a cake the next day.
That cake mix idea is good though. You said they could read anything.
I did lol
But when I said that I was more thinking of students (particularly boys) summarizing Sports Illustrated or Play Boy articles.
A lot of teachers won't accept magazines or are very rigid in what they think is quality reading material. I honestly don't care what you read, as long as you are reading.
More than half my classroom library is graphic novels.
Do your own work.
(Not a teacher but a college student). My friend was taking a history course on Nazi Germany in his 3rd year of college. The final was a 10 page paper where the professor gave us 3 weeks to write. My friend being the lazy guy he was used a tutor website (Nerdify) and paid them like $200 to write his essay. They did an amazing job until the professor noticed one of the sources Nerdify used was a book written in German. Of course my friend didn't know German and was completely busted.
Couldn't he say he read a translation though??
Technically if you are using a translated version you still need to source the translation.
Pretty sure not citing a translation is miles above paying someone to write your essay though.
Cheating successfully isn't easy.
I teach English at a university in a Spanish speaking country. One student submitted his final paper, and it was just terrible. As per usual, I ran a plagiarism checker, but the English showed up fine, no plagiarism detected. However, as I scrolled down, I saw there was a bunch of Spanish at the bottom below the English essay. Some of the Spanish was plagiarized. I copied the Spanish into Google translate and it came up word for word as the English. He wrote/plagiarized his essay in Spanish, and then used Google Translate to make the English. He didn't even try to correct anything. He pretty much failed the class immediately after that.
He was so close to pulling it off.
Wait, so he had an English and Spanish version of the paper in one doc???
I know right. At LEAST delete the obvious evidence.
Does it count if you were a tutor?
I used to help this one kid out with biology when she was a high school freshmen. I was always really good at science, so I figured I could at least get some community service hours out of it—freshmen bio should be easy, right?
This girl that I worked with was honestly the most annoying student ever. She had zero desire to learn, wouldn't even try to study, and wanted me to cheat for her. When she realized that getting me to cheat for her wouldn't happen, she decided to cheat on her own. I gave her a practice test just before the final, and she decided to cheat on the practice final for some reason, but she had the wrong answer key. It was AP Bio, not freshmen bio, and it wasn't even a multiple choice test, it was all written answers. Every one of the questions read like this:
Q: Define DNA.
A: The stages of cellular respiration include glycolysis, pyruvate oxidation, the citric acid cycle, and oxidative phosphorylation.
She failed the final pretty badly.
Maybe she was just way above her grade level.
I took a government class at community college a few years ago. The first exam was a basic multiple choice test, and our professor began with the standard "don't cheat" talk that a few freshman level classes had. Literally two minutes after he tells us to start the exam, we hear a phone from the back of the class reciting word for word the first question of the exam at full volume. Literally two minutes into the exam they tried to cheat and somehow they even failed to do that right.
Wtf, did that ask Siri/Google and not mute their volume?
I think Quizlet has an option to read the question/answer out loud.
Same thing happened in my class during an exam. It was Quizlet.