Quizlet, GroupMe Make Cheating Efficient

By Samantha Van Dyke

The Razorback Reporter


Websites such as Quizlet, and apps including GroupMe are making it increasingly easier to cheat, according to the Office of Academic Initiatives and Integrity.

“Studies show that 65 to 85 percent of college students are self-reported cheaters,” said Hannah Johnson, the Administrative Analyst for the Office of Academic Initiatives and Integrity, referring to a study done by James M. Lang in 1993. “We only get somewhere between 400 to 600 cases a year, but the self-reported numbers are really high.”

One in three college students and two in three high school students use the site, which functions as a way for students to create virtual flashcards, according to the Quizlet website.

However, problems arise when students use Quizlet to upload test, quiz and even homework answers that can be pulled up on their computers while completing work online through Blackboard.

“It’s no secret that those answers are out there,” senior Sergio Romero said. “Often I will ask friends for help studying and they will tell me to just look up a Quizlet of all the answers.”

Quizlet isn’t the only way students share classified materials though. According to Johnson, the University of Arkansas sees a lot of academic misconduct through the messaging app GroupMe.

“We get about 70 cases a year of what is considered unauthorized material charges, and GroupMe is a big part of that,” Johnson said. “You can’t really control who is in these groups or what they put in there so we often have to print out books of GroupMe messages and determine who has shared the material, who has responded to it and who could have utilized it.”

As far as policing these sites, Johnson said often times professors and teaching assistants will embed themselves in these groups to see if and when material is being leaked.

Romero doesn’t use GroupMe or Quizlet to get access to unauthorized material, but he said he benefits greatly from these apps and websites.

“I think collaboration is the key to progress,” Romero said. “Having the ability to bounce ideas off of other classmates and hear the material presented in a different way that may make more sense has helped me be successful in my classes. At the end of the day though, you are paying for your classes and to cheat instead of trying to learn the material feels like a waste of money to me.”

As far as preventative measures go, Johnson said the university has initiatives in place to help students succeed and avoid academic dishonesty. These programs involve things like SafeAssign, an online system that scans papers for plagiarism before students turn them in, and a general outreach initiative that encourages a cultural change away from cheating.

“My best advice is to just remember that when you’re looking at unauthorized materials, you’re putting your faith that these answers are correct in somebody else,” Johnson said. “If you’re sharing test or quiz answers, oftentimes these are copywritten materials, which is a federal offense to distribute.”

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