Hi-Tech Cheating

In an episode of M*A*S*H, Corporal Klinger is set to appear before a Soldier of the Month review board. In preparation for the review, he is supposed to study for the American History portion of the review. Instead he opts to steal a copy of the test, photograph it and then write the answers on his body. Unfortunately, the questions are not asked in the order in which he recorded them on his arms, legs and chest.

Fast foward to the computer age. US News & World Report (October 13-20, 2008) reports that cheating has evolved as technology has evolved. Using computers and scanners, some students have learned to replace the nutritional information on drink labels with answers to tests. Other creative methods are chronicled in the article.

Schools have had to respond by creating hi-tech methods to monitor students and detect cheaters. So, a direct result of wide-spread cheating is that education dollars are being spent in less than ideal ways.

According to a study by Rutgers University, students studying business are most likely to cheat. One student interviewed was not repentant. He said,

“I don’t consider what I did cheating…because in the real world I would be using that device…I see that as just being more efficient (p. 75).”

What this student and others like him fail to realize is that businesses and other professional employers need people that are capable of studying, analyzing information and responding to questions about the subject matter. Using a tool may allow you to complete a business task. It will not allow you to build a business.

In the end, not much difference exists between answers recorded on water bottles, in calculators or on Maxwell Klinger’s hairy chest. The result is that better candidates exist for Soldier of the Month or Employee of the Month consideration.