Q&A: I’m considering allowing my high school student to attend online school, but I'm concerned if cheating is an issue.

Answer: Cheating can be an issue in both online schools and traditional schools, but there are ways that online facilitators can make cheating more difficult for students. Depending on the online school your child may attend, teachers use a variety of tools to discourage students from the ability to cheat during tests.

  • A test bank of questions: When students take a test, they will not be able to discuss with classmates -- through an online chat -- the answers to questions because the questions they have will likely be different than their peers.
  • Question type variations: It's more unlikely that students can cheat because teachers might use a combination of multiple choice, true/false, or short essay questions. Assigning different question variations will make it more difficult for students to quickly seek answers to testing questions.
  • Time limits: This makes it almost impossible for students to quickly look for answers in a text book and still meet the time requirement. They will need to have a fairly knowledgeable grasp on the content in order to answer within the time limit.

It is also very difficult for students to cheat on writing assignments thanks to technological tools such as www.turnitin.com. Websites such as this can quickly detect whether a student has plagiarized writing content.

And standardized assessments will be conducted at a physical testing site. Proctors will administer the tests, so cheating is relatively impossible in this type of environment.

Regardless of where your child attends school, cheating has been and will continue to be an issue. But with the technological tools available and the fact that teachers become very familiar with their students' writing style, it can be difficult to get away with cheating.

Christi WilsonChristi Wilson is a credentialed teacher of highly-gifted students in Northern Nevada. She has 11 years of classroom teaching experience, a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, a master’s degree in education leadership, and has even taught K-12 education online. A mother of three busy boys, she knows how important it is to keep students engaged in the classroom and interested in a lifetime of learning.