More students involved in cheating

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The number of Glenn Hills High School students implicated in using a stolen computer password to change grades has doubled, bringing the total to 28.

Richmond County Executive Director for High Schools Lynn Warr said Tuesday the investigation is continuing into how the password was stolen, but it's clear that one student is responsible for stealing it and that 27 others accepted his offers to help them improve their grades.

The teacher whose password was stolen also could be disciplined for not adequately securing the information, Ms. Warr said.

The cheating began this summer. In October, the state Department of Education notified Richmond County when red flags were raised by unusual grade changes in Georgia Virtual School classes.

Georgia Virtual School is a statewide credit recovery program in which 170 Richmond County students participate.

The student who obtained the password changed some scores to 100 within a minute or two of a classmate earning a failing score, Ms. Warr said. In one instance, a student was shown to have passed a test she never attempted to take.

Richmond County's preliminary investigation found that a dozen students had their grades changed, but on Tuesday she said the number had grown.

In all, 27 students gave a classmate their user names and passwords so he could log in and use the teacher's password to alter their scores.

These students were suspended for five days to 10 days, depending on the number of grades changed.

"They all got suspended, all lost credit and all lost the opportunity for credit recovery," Ms. Warr said.

The student accused of stealing the password could face a stiffer punishment if he re-enrolls in Richmond County schools, she said. His mother withdrew him and sent him to live with his father in Arkansas.

Seniors involved also jeopardized their chances of graduating on time. Ms. Warr said these students gave up their free chance to recover credit and must now pay $150 to attend night school to graduate with their classmates.

Some who were approached by the student with the password were afraid of being caught, and others were honest, she said.

Teachers and staff members in the credit recovery class will meet Thursday to discuss how the cheating was able to happen and how to prevent it.

Ms. Warr said two other counties in the state had similar problems with cheating in Georgia Virtual School, which has prompted the Department of Education to rethink its security measures.

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (37) Add comment
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LouiseV
0
Points
LouiseV 12/10/08 - 05:18 am
0
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All of the energy and time

All of the energy and time put into stealing this teacher's password probably should have been spent studying : )
But on a more serious note: having your passwords stolen can be avoided by using the right tools like password managers:

http://www.passpack.com

The internet is as safe as we make it. Let's make it safe.

Louise (Passpack)

Martinez
154
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Martinez 12/10/08 - 06:49 am
0
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Unfortunately this incident

Unfortunately this incident and ones like it will detract from the value of the Credit Recovery Program. I know students who have benefited from the program which does fully require students master the required skills of a particular subject and be tested. At least some local counties require tests be taken on-site with a proctor to ensure the program's integrity. There are different reasons why a student fails a subject ranging from laziness to illness. For those with failed due to the later, being able to make up the class on-line in a self-paced environment has great value. Please don't let a few bull headed jerks ruin it for everyone.

Ole School
0
Points
Ole School 12/10/08 - 07:20 am
0
0
let the teachers keep a hand

let the teachers keep a hand written ledger like the old days !

TMS
0
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TMS 12/10/08 - 07:29 am
0
0
I believe that there should

I believe that there should not be a credit recovery class. If you fail the class the first time you should retake it until you pass. The teacher left the password on her desk. How stupid can you get. She needs to be reprimanded as well.

Martinez
154
Points
Martinez 12/10/08 - 07:49 am
0
0
Credit Recovery classes

Credit Recovery classes require a student go through modules just like classroom chapters, perform specific tasks, take quizzes and tests etc. The student is going through the class again, just in an on-line and self-paced environment. It's not like a student takes a test and passes without re-doing any of the studying or work. It's actually similar to a lot of college online classes in that the student must be self-disciplined to ensure they accomplish the work within the specified time frame.

christian134
1
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christian134 12/10/08 - 08:10 am
0
0
I am with you Ole School...

I am with you Ole School...

john
991
Points
john 12/10/08 - 08:56 am
0
0
everyone thinks that IT

everyone thinks that IT security is a big pain in the you know what, but nonsense like this happens when people write their password on a sticky note and put it under their keyboard. this time it was grades, next time it is social security numbers or other private information, or downloading porn, or spreading a virus. there is a reason you have to log in with a name and password. sounds like this teacher enabled the behavior. not to take away from the students responsibility. they did it, they should pay the consequences.

white_trash
0
Points
white_trash 12/10/08 - 09:08 am
0
0
Martinez, I agree with you

Martinez, I agree with you this time. My daughter took a couple of classes over the summer to allow her to stay in the band and take a couple of electives she wanted. There is more to it than just a second chance to make up a failed class. But I have no problem with the credit recovery either. Much better than the old "social pass" program where the student was promoted even though they had not passed, for the benefit of the students "self esteem" of course.

lifelongresidient
0
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lifelongresidient 12/10/08 - 09:14 am
0
0
again i say credit

again i say credit recovery?!?!?!?!?!?!?, how about you fail you retake the class, that seemed to work the best. as i have said before just another wasteful, and useless "program" designed to benefit its developer as opposed to benefitting the students. as for the cheaters, i ask how come they have not been expelled, oh yeah i forgot to expell them would be the loss of state and federal money that the school board will be able to waste on other useless and ineffective "programs" but then i forgot, this is richmond county BOE they don't care about educating children, they just want to maintain their power and positions on the board of education. if they did care they would have demanded all students involved be immediately expelled as opposed to giving them a 5-10 day "vacation"

to tell the truth1
130
Points
to tell the truth1 12/10/08 - 09:26 am
0
0
I am willing to bet you a

I am willing to bet you a TEACHER gave one or more students the passcode to help her grade papers, etc. This is the major mistake, even if those students were not taking that exam, it didnt stop them from helping others. Teachers need to be more accountable for their actions. The school systems are going to the dogs; sex among administrators to each other and sex with even the students. I heard this morning on the news that from scientific experiments, that RED INKS scares some students, papers should not be graded in red ink. How do you justify that, when RED is a color.

NEone
6
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NEone 12/10/08 - 09:31 am
0
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Ole school: Hand-written

Ole school: Hand-written grade books can be changed too. I did it as a kid. It's easier than getting someone's password and getting online to make the changes. Ole school doesn't mean better!

justus4
101
Points
justus4 12/10/08 - 09:42 am
0
0
This is an issue of IT
Unpublished

This is an issue of IT security and demonstrates a failure of school personnel controlling sensitive information. A student should never have had access to such info and the teacher involved should be severely repremanded. Of course students are going to attempt such activities, but adults must be more mentally agile than kids. It's elementary.

KingJames
10
Points
KingJames 12/10/08 - 10:29 am
0
0
IT security can cause those

IT security can cause those involved with applications lots of headaches. As a government contractor involved with software development, I have encountered situations where my clients (different government agencies) will require that I access different web sites for various administrative reasons. Each site will prompt me to establish a user name and password. Each site has different rules for acceptable passwords. Some require a certain amount of characters. Others require alpha-numeric combinations. While others require alpha-numeric combinations with special characters and capitalization. If the password is not strong enough, or has already been used the applications will not accept them. This doesn't excuse writing down the password and leaving it where students can find it. It merely means I understand why it might have been written down. To remedy this, maybe the state should look into smartcard technology. Basically, it means one card with one PIN for one user to access applications. Yes, it will cost money, but it minimizes the risk of this happening again. Students would have to take the card and the the PIN from a teacher. The card is useless without a PIN.

142
Points
Dan White 12/10/08 - 11:00 am
0
0
No handwritten grade books!

No handwritten grade books! Do you realize how long it takes to average the grades with a calculator? With the computer programs, you can touch a button and get the average. Some systems - I think including Columbia County - have a seamless grade reporting system. The teachers press enter, the grades are averaged, and then they can send the grades directly to the systems main frame where the reports are published for the students every nine weeks. Teachers should have the ability to and then be required to change passwords often instead of receiving a password from the main office that never changes.

142
Points
Dan White 12/10/08 - 11:01 am
0
0
With all the time

With all the time requirements on teachers today, the last thing they need to do is go back to the 20th century of doing grades. If I recall correctly, there is one school in Gwinett County that has gone paperless. The students take their tests and do all of their work on computers,

142
Points
Dan White 12/10/08 - 11:03 am
0
0
At least the kids weren't in

At least the kids weren't in the public safety director's office getting it on like at Spirit Creek!

142
Points
Dan White 12/10/08 - 11:07 am
0
0
white_trash - credit recovery

white_trash - credit recovery is not about the kids - it's about the school system and administration. The No Child Left Behind Law requires schools to have a certain percent graduating from high school in four years to receive a Satisfactory. There is so much pressure and non-sense from this Bush law that school systems are desperate to keep their kids on track to graduate in four years. That's why they came up with this credit recovery junk.

georgiagator25
0
Points
georgiagator25 12/10/08 - 11:12 am
0
0
Failed security policy and

Failed security policy and awareness

Bizarro
13
Points
Bizarro 12/10/08 - 12:01 pm
0
0
Virtual School!! Does that

Virtual School!! Does that give you a virtual education too. Man that is "unreal"! hee,hee,hee.

Bizarro
13
Points
Bizarro 12/10/08 - 12:38 pm
0
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I see a long and successful

I see a long and successful career in politics for these cheaters.

Farful
7
Points
Farful 12/10/08 - 12:56 pm
0
0
good point, greenjacket.

good point, greenjacket.

Bizarro
13
Points
Bizarro 12/10/08 - 01:03 pm
0
0
Perhaps these kids can find a

Perhaps these kids can find a career at the University of Colorado and follow Ward Churchills career with his virtual education. He was promoted, tenured, and made chair without a Ph.D. and in a shorter time period that the real academics. Eventually his method of fraud was exposed and he was fired for misconduct. But really it was because all the students were saying why should they try when they can fabricate a career and then asked will Colorado hire them too. The moral of the story:Cheaters often succeed and do well in life.

mable8
2
Points
mable8 12/10/08 - 01:40 pm
0
0
In other GA State agencies,

In other GA State agencies, failure to maintain your assigned computer password is met with immediate dismissal; why isn't the teacher liable as well? When you accept a state position and are assigned a password, the contract you sign spells out the ONLY disciplinary action to you--your signature indicates that you (1) attended the computer class that addresses the importance of computer security; and (2) you understand that failure to abide by the policies regarding computer security (including the password issued to you) WILL result in immediate dismissal. No second chance available. The teacher in this instance violated his/her contract and should receive the same "discipline" other state workers received when they failed to follow policy and procedures--FIRE HER (or HIM).

mable8
2
Points
mable8 12/10/08 - 01:55 pm
0
0
The fact that students are

The fact that students are cheating is not a new idea; but it does tell us something about the quality of teachers that are hired. I have yet to hear contemporary teachers discuss integrity, honesty, or responsibilty in their daily agendas...perhaps that is where they fall short. Parents also have the responsibility to teach these same things in the home but seem to be falling just as short as the teachers in this respect. When I went to school, even in the 5th grade we were taught about integrity, honesty, and responsibility on a DAILY basis; our parents taught this in the home. If you did not practice the precepts of these ideals, then you suffered the consequences. But, then, when I went to school, parents and teachers worked TOGETHER; after all, the common object between them was the child.

142
Points
Dan White 12/10/08 - 02:07 pm
0
0
Bizarro - Cheaters always get

Bizarro - Cheaters always get caught. It's easy the first time and they get bolder and bolder until they think they are above the law. Ask the former governor of New York, former Senator Gary Hart, the CEO and management team at Enron., and now the governor of Illinois if cheaters do well in life.

142
Points
Dan White 12/10/08 - 02:10 pm
0
0
mable8 - it may be a hard to

mable8 - it may be a hard to fire this teacher if the teacher's handbook did not spell out the policy and consequences of not protecting the password and if the GA Professional Practices Commission did not spell it out in their code of ethics. The solution is like I stated before: Give the teachers the right to change passwords which they do not have now and then require them to change it every month or so or face consequences. I regularly change passwords on my online brokerage and bank accounts.

mable8
2
Points
mable8 12/10/08 - 02:26 pm
0
0
greenjacket: With all due

greenjacket: With all due respect, I believe that the teachers are instructed about computer security and that the topic is well-covered at the beginning of each school year. He/She has no excuse for violating that policy. I agree that one should have the right to change the password at certain intervals for security reasons (one company does expect this every 90 days; fail to submit a new password and the computer automatically shuts down. You are then in trouble because you have to contact the IT department who reports it to the supervisor. Works very well!).

Bizarro
13
Points
Bizarro 12/10/08 - 02:28 pm
0
0
I remember telling my Mom

I remember telling my Mom about cheaters in grade school and high school while growing up. She told me it would catch up with them. Caught up with none of them. One is a physician. One a city commissioner, all walks of life. All cheaters. While in academia numerous times cheaters were exposed with little repercussions-none were thrown out of school. One I exposed turned around and then tried to charge me with sexual harrassment. After that experience I gave up.

142
Points
Dan White 12/10/08 - 03:58 pm
0
0
Bizarro - Obviously, they

Bizarro - Obviously, they quit cheating somewhere along the way. Maybe their conscience got the best of them. However, it they are still cheating, you can bet your bottom dollar that it will catch up with them.

142
Points
Dan White 12/10/08 - 04:00 pm
0
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mable8 - being instructed on

mable8 - being instructed on computer safety and securing the password is one thing. Having a policy with consequences is another. I'd say there was and is no policy in Richmond Co. about what happens to teachers who do not protect their password. Therefore, there is not a lot they can do to this teacher.

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