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Our daughter came home today and she told us that her friend and study partner was copying her answers in the Mock Sat exam they had today.

What shall we do

  • nothing
  • tell the teacher
  • ask our daughter to tell the teacher
  • ask our daughter to tell her friend not to copy off her
  • I'd like a little more focus on the question. I presume teaching her to help her friend cheat better isn't something you'd consider. Are you asking how to encourage your daughter to stand up for her (your) principles against her friends? or perhaps how to teach her that cheating is bad? Maybe how to effectively discourage her friend from cheating? – user26011 Mar 27 '17 at 18:10
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    Is the mock SAT just a practice exercise to prepare them for the real thing? If so, and it does not affect their grades or overall school performance, that's going to impact which of the options is most appropriate. – PoloHoleSet Mar 29 '17 at 14:29
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    @PoloHoleSet yes it's just practice – chim Mar 29 '17 at 14:31
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    @notstoreboughtdirt we want to discourage cheating, mainly because teacher's are likely to criticise both the copier and the person copied. The main thing I guess is how she treats her friends – chim Mar 29 '17 at 14:33
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    No reason for teachers to be involved, then. But since it is her friend, makes her uncomfortable, and is actually harming her friend (cheating on a practice exam out of insecurity will only hurt her eventual test performance), "nothing" is not a good choice, either. Maybe a conversation with the parents is better, in the context of "it's not harming our child, but it's a self-defeating mindset for yours." – PoloHoleSet Mar 29 '17 at 14:34
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Have your daughter ask her friend to stop copying her. If this does not work, have your daughter tell her teacher and perhaps request a new study partner. If the teacher doesn't believe your daughter, then is the time for you to get involved. That's the basic "chain of command"; however, the teacher should likely be made aware of it anyway because this could be an issue later on and if not handled properly, could come back to your daughter. It would be a bad day if her "friend" turns around and blames her for sharing the answers with her.

I understand that your daughter likely values her friendship rather deeply and may not want to compromise that relationship. For that reason, she may choose to go straight to her teacher rather than confronting her friend about the issue. However, seeing that they are old enough to be taking practice SAT tests, the "friend" should know better than to cheat off of other's answers and might not be the best person to be hanging out with. That being said, this still might not be grounds for breaking off a friendship.

If your daughter is able to choose her own study partner (as opposed to the teacher saying, "Hey, you study with this person..."), she could perhaps quietly pick someone else to study with. If her study partner was assigned to her, then perhaps she can request a new one (as I previously mentioned).

A little bit of personal background on this... During EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) school, I often sat with someone who routinely tried to steal my test answers. I solved this problem by blocking my papers with my arms and shoulders (hunching a certain way so that he couldn't see what I was writing). In his case, I didn't tell on him because I knew that the issue would speak for itself. He was going to have to take a written computer exam issued by the state of Indiana. He would be sitting at a partitioned computer with people around him who could be taking a wide variety of un-related tests. If he was cheating and didn't know anything, he was going to fail the state written.

So that leads me to giving her another possible option. Hide your answers in some way, if she has long hair, flip it to one side so that it blocks the "friend's" view, hide her answers with her arms or shoulders... There are a variety of options here.

Edit: Also, when it comes time for the actual test, it is always a good idea to sit so that there is a good chunk of space between each student (my guess is the school will do this anyway). This is also helpful for those of us that like to spread out a little bit during a test.

I hope this is helpful, if you have any questions or concerns, please let me know.

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    Thank you for taking the time, this makes perfect sense to me. – chim Mar 28 '17 at 9:37
  • If it's just a practice for the sake of practice, why does a teacher ever have to get involved? More likely a conversation between them focusing on (A) the daughter's discomfort with it and (B) how the friend is sabotaging her eventual "real" test performance by cheating on a practice exam would be in order. This depends on whether the "test" exam counts for anything, of course. – PoloHoleSet Mar 29 '17 at 14:31
  • @PoloHoleSet I would be very concerned because if she's copying now, how is going to not copy when they take the real test – L.B. Mar 29 '17 at 15:13
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    FYI - The don't let them sit shoulder to shoulder or directly across from each other for the real thing. It's a pretty structured setup. Always has been, but moreso as competition and cheating has become a larger issue over the years. – PoloHoleSet Mar 29 '17 at 15:16
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    In any case, still self-destructive behavior that should not just be ignored, I'd say. – PoloHoleSet Mar 29 '17 at 16:37
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Don't solve this problem for your daughter. If she wants it to be solved, guide her in how she can solve it. Solving her problem for her has downsides:

  • If you take action which results in her friend being punished contrary to your daughter's wishes, your daughter is essentially getting punished for telling you.
  • If you make your daughter take an action she doesn't want to do, your daughter is essentially getting punished for telling you.
  • If you take an action which actually does resolve the problem and does make your daughter happy, you missed a valuable opportunity to teach your daughter how to fix her own problems.

Or in short, all of the above are outcomes you want to avoid. Your best course of action is discuss with your daughter what she wants to do, what the alternatives are, and what the likely outcomes of such actions are. She can then decide what she wants to do. If she decides to take action, follow up on the next day: ask her how it played out.

  • Hi Peter, thanks for your answer, I think it makes a good point..., initially it comes across as confrontational, but highlights the importance of encouraging independence. – chim Apr 3 '17 at 7:55
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    @chim Thanks for the constructive feedback. Edited in an attempt to make it come across less confrontational. – Peter Apr 3 '17 at 8:55
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Is your daughter afraid to say no to her friend? How about asking the friend not to do it again? If not, then ask your daughter to tell her friend not to copy from her. If she won't/can't and you cannot speak to the friend, then call the friend's parents. If you cannot do that, you tell the teacher and leave your daughter out of it.

  1. Your daughter refuses to allow others to read from her page. Body position should work. This is always #1 and the rule for the future. Explain why to your daughter. (She could be accused of being an accomplice and so on.)
  2. Your daughter warns her friend not to try it again. If that is agreed upon, it's finished.
  3. Call the parents and let them know that you do not wish to involve the school. If they agree to take care of the problem, it's finished.
  4. Call the teacher and tell her you know that another student was copying from your daughter's test and let the teacher handle it. It's finished.
  5. If there is any peer pressure or a repeat of the cheating, call the school and involve Administration. Your daughter could be expelled if the other student says your daughter 'allowed' cheating. You cannot do nothing.

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