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Test-hacking concerns arise amid pandemic-caused online-only schooling

Posted at 7:47 PM, Jul 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-29 23:32:44-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — With the new school year set to begin online-only because of COVID-19, concerns are mounting over videos on YouTube and the social-media app Tik Tok that show students teaching other students how to hack into their online tests to find the correct answers.

Corpus Christi Independent School District leaders are confident they'll be able to prevent that form of cheating.

"As far as it being a major concern for us -- no," CCISD Associate Director of Communications Lyndall Gathright said. "We've dealt with this kind of thing for years, and we have our own ways to make sure our students are learning and not cheating.”

Those ways include the use of Google platforms like Sheets, Docs, and Classroom to teach and test students online that Gathright said have protections against cheating built into them.

The technology may be new, but the act of cheating on tests is not. And Gathright said good teachers can usually sniff it out no matter the circumstances.

"Teachers are very good, and they have been for a long time, of knowing their students," he said. "They know their writing style. They know their language. They know their capabilities. So it’s not that difficult to tell when a student has moved outside of what they’re comfortable with and are using someone else’s materials."

Some parents said they hope the school district will be able to prevent online test-hacking.

“It’s very concerning for me, because I want (my son) to be able to grow and be able to learn what he needs to do,” said J.T. Trailor, the father of an incoming first grader.

"To cheat -- (that's) bad, because he’s not learning," said Carina Hernandez, who is the mother of an incoming seventh grader. "He’s actually (using) an easier way to get to the answers than to actually read and go back and see what the answer was.”