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Back to Sept. Ed Reporter

Education Reporter
NUMBER 224 THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS SEPTEMBER 2004

Technology Catches Up With Cheaters
As plagiarism of assigned papers has grown in the internet age, human ingenuity is making it easier to detect copycats.

The software product Turnitin by iParadigms is used by about 2,500 high schools and colleges in the U.S. and 1,000 more abroad to make a digital fingerprint of an entire document and compare it against material on the internet and in other sources. Other plagiarism-detection providers include Glatt Plagiarism Services, MyDropBox LLC, and CFL Software Development. Wcopyfinder is a free program that compares strings of words only.

In a survey of 30,000 undergraduates at 34 colleges, 37% admitted to plagiarizing from the internet, up from 10% in 1999. (Associated Press, 4-06-04) Essays and term papers are now available for sale from at least 150 web sites. Colleges are responding with efforts to educate their students about "academic integrity," and faculty members routinely vet suspect passages of student work by searching them on Google.

Computer technology can be exploited not only to plagiarize papers but also to cheat on tests. Cells phones, calculators, pagers and personal data assistants all can serve as tools of academic fraud. Students have been known to send answers silently from one personal data assistant to another during tests and bring in notes stored in calculators. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 2-8-04) E-mailing from one cell phone to another is another avenue for sneaky students. (contracostatimes.com, 2-24-04)


 
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