So Omar Khan
wanted to get into college, but he didn’t want to do his homework to get there.
The Orange County, CA, high school senior decided instead to use spyware, grab credentials off teachers’ log-ins, and then change failing grades to top grades.
As if no one would notice.
Forget about four years in college. He now faces as much as 38 years in jail. Surely, working one’s way up from the lumber department at Home Depot is still a better path to a satisfactory career.
Khan gets his moment in infamy from a transparent form of hacking. You don’t just give yourself a magical ride up your class rankings in one fell swoop.
If you want to check out some really high-stakes cheating, check out what the Chinese go through
. Last June, with about 10 million students competing in entrance exams for about 5.7 million places at China’s universities, one student apparently spent $1,500 for his own stake-out team of assistant cheats. He took a wireless mike with him into the exam, read off the questions to the three-person team working outside in a mini-bus. Two focused on finding answers on a computer. One read answers back by walkie-talkie.
In Sichuan province, pinhole cameras were used to send images of exam papers out to ‘hired guns’ working for a total of 19 students. In Liaoning province, officials spent more than $15 million to try and block cheating in 8,000 exam halls, using metal detectors and cameras.
But if you’re going to get serious, these days, about stopping high tech cheating in high school, the way to cheat the cheaters is to take away all their electronic devices. Make them rely on what they know, only. Even calculators can be used to store formulas, answers and text.
For a good while, the most popular method of cheating, though, seems to be instant messaging by cell phone
. Ask a friend, when you don’t think you’re being watched.
If you don’t want to use detectors to enforce a ban on electronic devices, then consider creating communications-free classrooms, where wireless phones and devices are jammed and the only line out is a phone on the teacher’s desk, for emergencies. Making the teacher the safety valve, one way or another. Worked for the first couple centuries of this country’s emergence as a world power.
It’ll probably come to be in China, first. Last year, authorities probably wished they could disrupt what their students wear. About 42 pairs of shoes
with transmitting and receiving capabilities were confiscated in one province. “Cheating wallets” and hats also came into play.
can be used to play back lesson notes, other handheld devices can store Cliffs Notes. If not already banned from your child’s testing place, they should be. Anything with a circuit in it, other than a brain.
Even low-tech handheld devices bear discarding. Such as beverage containers, which in recent years became popular for quenching the thirst for scores. Remove the label, put answers on the inside, replace.
Only don’t make it too obvious. Teachers who know what they’re doing tend to figure out what you’re doing, as a student in tony Westport, CT, found out when a chemistry crib sheet was spotted inside his water bottle