DepEd to regional offices: Take steps vs academic dishonesty

Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 22 2021 12:27 PM

MANILA — Teachers can monitor their students' activities online or have them sign an anti-cheating "contract," the Department of Education (DepEd) has suggested in a bid to curb academic dishonesty under the current distance learning setup.

The recommendations were made in a Sept. 20 memorandum issued by Diosdado San Antonio, DepEd's undersecretary for curriculum and instruction, to the department's regional directors.

San Antonio issued the memorandum following the discovery of a Facebook group called "Online Kopyahan," where students shared answers to their modules and other learning materials. At one point, the online community had over 600,000 members.

"In view of the most recent controversy on cheating as publicized via Facebook, it must be emphasized that DepEd does not and will not tolerate any form of academic dishonesty," San Antonio said.

He said that while the DepEd's self-learning modules (SLMs) have answer keys, "it is not intended to be used to cheat and bypass authentic learning."

"Regardless of the designs of the SLMs and the extent of freedom in the online space, cheating cannot be justified under any circumstance," he said.

To protect academic integrity, the DepEd gave the following suggestions to its regional offices:

  • Conduct orientation with parents to raise awareness on the existence of Facebook pages that promote cheating, encourage their support against academic dishonesty, and explain the repercussions of cheating.
  • Ensure proactive transparency of the assessment and grading system to parents and learners to promote understanding of the purpose of formative assessments in the SLMs.
  • Monitor the learner's online activity and warn them against membership in any online cheating platform.
  • Encourage teachers to write up a contract about academic dishonesty, and have parents and learners sign the contract. If a learner is caught cheating, "the teacher can pull out the contract and act accordingly."
  • Develop self-learning activities or learning activity sheets that require learners to analyze information, craft creative presentations or explain their thinking.
  • Incorporate other assessment schemes such as doing online assessment during class, creating multiple versions of tests, and randomizing test items for students to work on, among others.
  • Create TV and radio programs that promote honesty and integrity.
  • Encourage schools to build support groups for parents to ensure that they are instilling the values of honesty and integrity to their children.
  • Intensify academic consultations through any available modes of communications.
  • Include academic integrity in capacity-building programs for teachers to help them identify teaching actions and attitudes that push students to cheat.
  • Direct all schools to prioritize the development of programs and school rules that promote academic integrity.
  • Offer recommendations to improve policies and guidelines on assessment and grading system.

'FLAWED' DISTANCE LEARNING 

In a statement, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) blamed the "flawed design" of the government's distance learning program as the "root of the reported cheating among learners."

ACT said many students "have very limited access to gadgets and internet connectivity, which further hampered their means to seek guidance from teachers or to find other learning resources."

"We, therefore, cannot blame students who turn to desperate measures just to pass their classes... These are but mere results of the problematic system of education that the government continues to neglect," it said.

The group said the government should provide quality modules, gadgets and internet connectivity, and community tutors to address the issue of cheating.

ACT also called for the implementation of a "genuine academic ease" by being more lenient in deadlines.

Last Monday, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said the DepEd has sought help from authorities to look into the Online Kopyahan group, which has already been deleted.

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