CdMHS Cheating Incident Discussed at PTA Meeting

posted: January 4th, 2012 02:11 pm | 12Comments

About 10 Corona del Mar High School sophomores had test answers before an exam earlier this school year by purchasing test banks on, the school’s principal told members of the PTA at a meeting today.

Test banks provide chapter-by-chapter questions for tests, which textbook publishers provide to ensure teachers craft exams that properly assess student learning, Bryan said.

“If you have the test questions in advance, you’re cheating,” said Principal Tim Bryan. “They altered the conditions of the test. It’s a really big issue for us.”

The history teacher discovered the cheating when someone, likely a student, wrote an anonymous note, Bryan said. In all, 180 students took the test.

He did not know if the teacher planned to have students retake the test, or if the test scores would be discarded — all scenarios that would hurt students who studied and honestly earned good grades, he conceded. He also declined to discuss whether students involved would be disciplined.

Some students and parents may have thought that the test banks were legitimate study guides, he said, not realizing that test banks are usually fiercely protected by publishers and available only when buying sets of textbooks, or to teachers who have teacher identification numbers.

But parents at the meeting said that the word among students was that those involved knew they had illicit information, and some were offering the information for sale to other students. One parents said her daughter asked her to buy the test bank, but she declined and said it looked like cheating — not knowing that other parents and students were buying the information.

A district official called the publishing company, Bryan said, and the test bank in question is no longer available on Amazon.

A parent whose daughter is taking the history class but who did not have test bank information said she heard about the cheating over the winter break.

“She’s frustrated, and I’m very frustrated,” said the parent, who asked her name not be used to protect her daughter’s privacy. “When you have a child who is taking a very difficult class, being challenged and doing well, and then find out that other kids are working the system — it’s bad. It’s a program fail.”

The parent said the teacher and administrators were handling a bad situation well, discussing it in class and working on ways to make sure students know that cheating is not permissible.

“They were on it the minute they heard about it,” the parent said.

Bryan said Corona del Mar High School and this particular class are unlikely unique, and that cheating is a problem throughout the nation. Students and teachers work together continually to combat cheating, which has included complicated maneuvers such as steaming off the labels of water bottles, writing notes and then reattaching them so that the answers are visible through the clear liquid. Water bottles aren’t permitted on desks during tests now, he said.

Students sometimes feel pressure to cheat because they want to get good grades to satisfy parents or to get into college, according to research by the school’s National Honor Society.

Some parents today suggested that the school conduct an all-grades assembly about cheating, and that a letter be sent to parents discussing this event.

“We’re going to have to take a look at all this,” Bryan said. “But this is not a CdM-specific problem. It’s getting harder and harder and harder for our kids to navigate their moral compass. There’s a lot of pressure.”

12 Responses to “CdMHS Cheating Incident Discussed at PTA Meeting”



January 4th, 2012

It's simply not a level playing field out there with many kids seeing high priced tutors and then situations like this. It sounds like the leadership at CDM is taking a reasonable and balanced approach to addressing this problem.


January 4th, 2012

None of the teachers should be using the actual book written test banks to test the students. It is well known that all these are available all over the web for every type of text book possible from elementary to graduate school level, there is no control on how these are sold, many come from sources in foreign countries. The teachers should be using the book written test banks as a guide to write their own tests, seriously teachers step up to the plate and challenge the kids!

Marry Ring

January 4th, 2012

I would like to hear the kids side of the story. Inoccent mistake possibly


January 4th, 2012

We all know that the school blows the story out of proportion

who belives them

January 4th, 2012

I can not imagine how lame these kids must be to have to resort to cheating! Yeah, everyone knows someone in HS or college who had their mother/sister/brother/paid writer do all their essays, or someone who wrote answers inside their fingernails, etc etc...but these people are also the same who flame out when the rubber meets the road in "real life." Heck--if you can't handle High School...what makes you think you can handle the rigors of a top-notch college? I hope the school "throws the book" at these cheating kids and gives them F's for the test they took...that way the kids who studied and learned the material will have an advantage (for once!). This kind of behavior disgusts me.


January 5th, 2012

U agree Tracy, just too lazy! As a former child of 2 educators & having family also educators, I feel this was the teachers fault for not being more productive!


January 5th, 2012

I'm in this class! Come on guys that test was sooo easy no need to cheat. No seriously, this whole thing has gotten way out of hand. Eyewitness News and Channel 5 have covered it. The school has been trying to hammer moral integrity into us. We've gotten lectures from all our teachers, NHS conducted a poll about cheating (which is totally inaccurate), and our AP World teacher is going bat**** crazy. Cheating is not a rare nor a novel occurrence. Why can't we just discipline these kids and move on?

melinda brower

January 6th, 2012

The student's who cheated are merely hurting themselves as they will not have the knowledge and comprehension of the material. They will be punished at the end of the year when they don't pass their AP World History Exam. The student's who studied and learned the material will be rewarded from their due dilegence and will pass the AP World History Exam.

Albert Nicholas

January 6th, 2012

I wonder if they'll just let this one go. If there were a bunch of rich kids involved, as is likely the case at CdM, then they'll probably be forgiven by administrators for fear of the wrath of rich parents' lawyers. I think these charges should go on their permanent academic record and should follow them at least up to their university applications. Shame on the teachers for using book tests. Why do we pay our teachers to cookbook? If we really want low cost education, we might as well give them prerecorded lectures on YouTube (ala Khan Academy), and give 'em all online multiple-guess tests.

Dont Worryboutit

January 6th, 2012

This was completely blown out of proportion the book was bought as a study guide it did not even say teachers edition or answers or anything its not their fault the teacher was too lazy to make her own questions and use a practice test booklet not even created for the teachers. The book was not made by the same company as the text book and this is not cheating.

Too Many Rich Kids

January 6th, 2012

Those kids knew they were cheating and so do the parents. Shame on them, their parents and the school administration.


January 6th, 2012

@ anonymous. Poll statistics always have an area of uncertainty. However, this took into consideration not just you (the sophomore class) but the opinion of many others.

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