Teacher goes viral on Reddit for showing how they caught students cheating

Teacher grading papers in the classroom

In the age of ChatGPT, teachers need to have eyes like hawks to watch for students who use unscrupulous methods to do their schoolwork. But sometimes, even in the age of technology, kids turn to more old-fashioned methods of getting the answers without doing the work. That’s what a high school science teacher shared in a viral Reddit post about catching a group of students cheating in a surprisingly low-tech way.

The teacher, who goes by Miss Storey, said she teaches 9th-grade chemistry in Oklahoma. In her post, she shared a video showing the moment she spotted something a little unusual about three of her students’ assignments.

The question the students were asked was, “What causes the trend in acidic/basic oxides?”

Storey told Newsweek that one of the first things she noticed was a student who answered that they “couldn’t have existed,” an answer that just didn’t make any sense.

“I was going to see if he was OK the next day at school,” she said. “But then I saw the other papers.”

While reviewing the rest of the class’ assignments, Storey saw that another student had answered that question by writing, “covalent bonds are acidic.” A third student had written, confusingly, “covalent bonds are existed.”

Suddenly, everything clicked and she figured out what had happened.

“They had all secretly copied each other’s work and played the telephone game by accident,” Storey said.

And when you think about it, that does make sense. The first student wrote that “covalent bonds are acidic.” The second student probably misheard that answer and wrote that “covalent bonds are existed.” The third student was the one whose paper Storey saw first, who got the message the most twisted.

A recent study from researchers at Stanford reveals the percentage of high school students who cheat surprisingly remains statistically unchanged compared to previous years without ChatGPT. The university, which conducted an anonymous survey among students at 40 US high schools, found about 60% to 70% of students have engaged in cheating behavior in the last month, a number that is the same or even decreased slightly since the debut of ChatGPT, according to the researchers.

“While there are individual alarming cases in the news about AI being used for cheating, we are seeing little evidence that the needle has moved for high schoolers overall,” Victor Lee, Stanford’s faculty lead for AI and education who helped oversee the survey, told CNN.

While it’s understandably upsetting to educators when students are dishonest with their work, it’s a far more common occurrence in high school-aged students vs. elementary.

According to a recent survey conducted by plagiarismcheck.org, 75-98% of the surveyed students confess that they started cheating in high school. The tendency proves the pivotal role of establishing writing and studying ethics from an early age since students who start cheating at school continue it at college and even influence younger learners in elementary classes. Moreover, in the first study year, 59% of students admitted cheating. In the second, the number in the same group reached 95%.

Storey was not surprised to discover students copying each other. “They always copy,” she said to Newsweek. “It was more upsetting in the beginning, as this was my first year teaching. By the time I graded those papers, I expect to see copying.”