Some Students Cheat by Lying About Identity

El Vaquero Staff Writer

A few students use their understanding of the system to cheat in classes. And a few master the nature of how professors run classes to cheat.

Occasionally students have gotten caught posing as someone else in the classroom.

Math Department Chair Peter Stathis said there was an incident at GCC where a student was taking a math class for another student. “About three-quarters of the way through the semester the student who was taking [the math class] for another student made the mistake on a quiz of puting his name instead of the other student’s name and the teacher caught him.

“[The teacher] said ‘bring your ID’ and the student didn’t show up again. The teacher found out who they both were and they both were expelled from school.” Stathis said that it was by accident that the teacher caught him but thinks this might be happening more often than it seems.

Paul Schlossman, dean of student affairs, said that students expelled from GCC are no longer allowed to enroll at the school. But this doesn’t mean that the student can’t enroll at another institution.
“We’ve had some incidents in the past where students have assumed the identities for other students,” said Steve White, vice president of instructional services and associate professor of economics. “As a result we’ve had some situations where we have required students to show a picture ID, in order to prevent that form of cheating.” White says this happens on things like challenge tests where student would like to challenge to get out of a course and, “so we have exams for certain courses and so sometimes another student shows up and claims they are other student so and so and ask to take the test. We now make [students] provide a photo ID and double check to make sure they are who they say they are,” White said. This method is also done more often in bigger math classes such as Math 101, 120, 146, and Math 141.

“I would say [students assuming the identity of another student] is rare, it only happens in rare occasions,” White said. White didn’t have any statistics on the specific amount of times these cheating incidents have occurred in the past two years. “This is also a problem for the educational testing service which does the College Board exams, SAT’s, and that’s why they now require identification.”

White assumes that students who assume the identity of another student is happening everywhere considering the kinds of comments he has heard at the state-wide-meetings. “I don’t think the incidents of cheating at Glendale are any different than what happens throughout the system. I think all the colleges are taking similar precautions now,” he said.

Most professors, however, don’t ask to see the students photo IDs. Stathis said, “I pretty much assume those students in my class are the person who they say they are.” On the other hand, he said, “someone may go through the trouble of getting a photo ID under the name of another person but that may be hard to do. But generally speaking that would be a way of catching those students.

“That is one of the worries of on-line classes so that’s why its good to have some test security for tests because you could have some family member take the test for them,” Stathis said.

In a different department, said Stathis, a teacher passed out the tests at the start of class and a student who wasn’t enrolled in the class sat there got a test and left the room. Then another student who was enrolled in the class went to the bathroom, “came back with the test that this other student who wasn’t in the class had filled out. It wasn’t even in her handwriting.”

There are two ways of combating this; “one is you make sure who is in the class,” said Stathis, “but sometimes at the start of the semester sometimes you don’t know the people especially in large classes.” And second, is making a seating chart for the day of test. Stathis said, “I mix up the people randomly, because the most common form of cheating in a math class is two students agreeing that one can copy the other or they trade answers and that usually occurs when one sits behind the other.”

White hopes that by strongly enforcing the rules and regulations of the college, “we would discourage cheating out of existence and convince students that performing their own academic work and scholarship is the only and right thing to do and that’s why we try and be very consistent to prevent cheating,” he said.

Until cheating disappears White said, “we are going to enforce these regulations that encourage honesty among students in order that the grading system at the college maintain respect so that students can transfer. If our grading policies aren’t respected at the Cal States and UC’s ultimately students from our institution won’t be able to transfer there so we have to maintain these standards to help our students.”