Cheating on Exams with SMS?

Pic by nathan


On Monday the students in my VCE Outdoor and Environmental Studies class completed their end of semester exam. Now I’m opposed to the idea of high stakes testing in an exam format,  but it is however how they will be assessed in the final year so they need as much practice as they can get. Anyway throughout the year I’ve been using SMS technology to send assignments, homework reminders and general information to my students concerning our class from my laptop. Overall it has been a highly effective way of communicating and certainly engaged them during different times of the year.

With the success of the SMS tool in the class I decided to use it within the exam preperation. Here’s how I did it.

1. Using smsexpress I preset text messages to be delivered to students automatically over the course of the week leading up to the exam.

2. Each day students received a text message with a question from the exam (Before this process I asked each individually when they would like to receive their questions, some chose early morning, others chose mid afternoon etc)

So why is this method valuable? Well I feel it allowed students time to revise and research the necessary information from their notes throughout the semester and with myself. It encouraged them to talk with and share their knowledge and understanding with others within the class, it also prompted further investigation of the concepts they didn’t understand. It also allowed important time for reflection and evaluation of their own responses to questions and how they could be improved before completing them within the exam.

So as I sit and mark the exam, it is quite clear that by using this particular approach that the student’s have significantly improved their depth of understanding. The most enjoyable thing to note is that their learning has been shared as its clear they have discussed what they feel the most appropriate answers to the questions should be.  Overall a very powerful learning tool that I will be sure to utilise again.

So what do you think? Am I cheating them? Or simply teaching them the more valuable skills of networking and reflection within their learning?

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