The world is intensively evolving into a global village, especiallywith the increased use of technology. Various industries continue toadopt new technological applications that are customized to suit thevarious procedures. The education sector is on the frontline ofadopting information communication technology. Several years ago,communication technology was a domain of the middle and higherinstitutions of learning. The use of social networking in educationcomes with merits and disadvantages. The use of social networking ineducation facilitates cheating because it is possible for learners toshare information with ease and they can copy other people’s ideasand present them as their original thoughts.
The inventions of social networking websites aimed at increasingpeople’s interaction across borders as well as eliminate thephysical barrier that existed. As it developed, it gained otherperspectives that not only allowed individuals to communicate butalso to learn from each other. In the United States, commercialinternet first came into the public scene in 1969. The followingyears experienced intensified research and the first emailcommunication became operational in 1971 (Engel and Chris 29). TheWorld Wide Web became popular in 1993, and it forged a path forsocial networks. Eight years later, people started using social mediafor communication. The use of social media by teachers and collegestudents became ideal in 2003, and some schools adopted the trend.The instigating factor for this as that students had acquaintancewith the use of social media outside the school arena and, therefore,administrators felt that learning could embrace the use of socialnetworking to reflect the trend in the other sectors of the society. In 2005, innovators made several milestones in social communication(Engel and Chris 29). They introduced a different version of Facebookthat students could exploit and share ideas. They also introducedYouTube and Twitter and the subscription the communication sitessoared.
The use of social media has been a primary contributing factor toexam cheating especially among teenagers who fall among thepopulation that uses social media intensively. Bob Schaeffer, apublic Education Director at the National Center for Open and Fairtesting provides that the problem is creeping in SAT and ACT exams(Bowie). The motive jeopardizes the standard of the tests. On July2012, the department of education faced a similar situation (Blume).Students shared photos of Standardized tests on social networks. Theexamination conducted in 150 schools in California faced a delaybefore release as the department of education contemplated on how tostandardize the tests since they had already leaked (Blume). Studentsfrom the individual schools were found to have shared informationduring the examinations. The department of education providedinformation to the public that it is working to prevent suchoccurrences in future including the institution of tough examregulations (Blume).
Standardized tests provide students with a limited time to shareinformation. However, when given homework that may not be due untilone week is over, students have all the time to consult and share theinformation. It is not surprising to see students posting questionsonline and requesting for answers from their friends (Bowie). Allthey do is change a few words and present the homework as theiroriginal work. It can be difficult for teachers to detect this sincestudents may belong to different institutions but taking the samesubjects. According to Bob Schaffer, the chairperson of ColoradoState Board of Education social media has been a factor in cheatingfor SAT and ACT (Bowie). The chairperson provides that the problem isbecoming common with younger students undertaking standardized tests.Earlier this year, two Maryland students in 10th grade sitting forthe statewide English examination posted the test questions onTwitter, and the information was available to other students in otherstates. Schaffer is of the idea that the intensified Facebook andTwitter have made some of the conventional means of cheating likelooking over the shoulder obsolete (Bowie). Cheating continues toevolve, and one question can reach thousands of students in less thanone minute. Therefore, social communication is a great contributor toexamination cheating.
Various states have adopted the Common Core tests for their students.Although there is a paper version available for this test, mostschools are offering the test online. Some schools have a limitednumber of computers, and this provides a chance for students to cheatby sharing information with their friends. Pearson, a famed educationpublisher in New York, is one of the partners administering the testto students in readiness for college. The publisher identifies theaccess to social media by students as a threat to the credibility ofthe tests since students are likely to access the questions beforethey sit for them (Courtenay). Pearson found more than 70 instancesin six states whereby students posted information on the publicsocial media (Courtenay).
Another major form of cheating perpetrated through the social mediais plagiarism. Plagiarism is the presentation of another person’sidea without giving him or her credit. It mostly results from copyand pasting from social sites and handing the information as part ofhomework. A study conducted by the Academic Misconduct and PlagiarismTaskforce dubbed An Approach to Minimizing Academic Misconduct andPlagiarism at the University of Sydney revealed that social media isthe major source of impersonated ideas (Courtenay). At the Universityof Sydney, stunts share stolen papers, and this affects thecredibility of the exams. When given tests to carry home, most of thestudents wait until the last moments to complete it. In such a hurry,students duplicate ideas from the internet or their friends(Courtenay).
However, some scholars feel that the advantages that socialnetworking brings to education cannot dissolve under the single pointof cheating. Kyle Christie, a media relations assistant at theUniversity of Sheffield, provides that the availability of researchdocuments of social networks motivate students to read large volumesof work in the most convenient way (Christie). Using social media,they can hold group discussion at any time of the day. Christies goeson to indicate that the institutions of learning cannot act in theoblivion of the possibility of the students to use their socialnetworks to share information regarding their tests (Christie).Therefore, they should implement control, measures instead of heapingblame on social media.
However, the learning institutions cannot dispel the threat socialmedia causes without the input of students. The students stand on thelosing end although the institutions can implement harsh measures(Blume). The rules that learning institutions put in place tocounter cheating are not mean to be punitive to the students but tomaintain the quality of the examinations. Students should desist fromcontributing to examination irregularities by leaking answers toavoid becoming victims of the restrictive regulations. Therefore,they should uphold the responsible use of social media withoutcontravening the outlined examination rules.
Conclusively, social networking highly contributes to cheating inhomework and standard examinations. Students share photos ofexamination questions, and this affect the credibility of exams. Inaddition, they share the duplicate answer for their homeworkquestions, and this contributes to plagiarism. Institutions shoulddevelop policies that curb such practices and encourage students touse social networks responsibly.
Blume, Howard Students` online photos of California tests delayrelease of scores.Los Angeles Times, July 18, 2012. Web.Nov. 18, 2015.
Bowie,Liz. Studentscheated by posting test questions on social media. TheBaltimore Sun,Nov. 15, 2o15. Web. Nov.18, 2015.Christie,Kyle. Going Viral: Using social media to publicize academic research.TheGuardian. April11, 2011. Web. Nov.18, 2015.Courtenay, Michael StudyFinds Social Media Assisting Students Cheating Exams. TheDaily Dot,August 17th, 2015. Web.Nov.18, 2015.
Engel, Steven, andChris Gerben. "The Harvard Cheating Scandal: The Language ofPlagiarism and Collaboration in the Age of the Social Internet."The CCCC-IP Annual: Top Intellectual Property Developments of 2012(2013): 29.