I'm convinced that cheating in the school system is currently at epidemic proportions. I cannot tell you how many times my university classmates
copy assignments, store data on progammable calculators, or bring in unauthorized notes & examples. It is absolutely ridiculous. And no one in
authority cares. Of all the cases of cheating and plagiarism I have ever seen, only once, in the most serious case that I am aware of, did the
administration try to do anything about it.
That was in my first year. I took a C++ programming course. Only a few people were doing assignments; the rest were copying code, modifying it
slightly to make it not completely identical. Change a variable name here, move this line over there, re-word the comments, and submit for marks.
The administration would never have caught on until some guy went and hacked into a prof's computer, stole his assignment solutions, and submitted it
unmodified. When the marker then saw an assignment identical to the prof's, right down to code comments, even the idiots in admin realized
something was really wrong.
The solution? They held an 'amnesty', they called it. A time period was defined, and anyone who 'turned themselves in' for cheating on a
particular assignment(s) would receive a 0 on those assignment(s), and no other disciplinary action. After that time period was up, anyone found
cheating was to be given the normal penalties (F in course, expulsion, etc). No one turned themselves in, surprise surpise. Except for that one guy,
no one got in trouble, either.
It's easier to catch people cheating on things like computer code, or in the arts, essays and papers. In my field (engineering) it is extremely
difficult to prove someone cheated. If the answer to the question is 'the train is travelling 50km/h', everyone who worked the question out right
is going to get that answer. Of course, there are different methods, and people solve things in different ways, or find different values first in
intermediate steps, etc. As a result, due to the extremely low risk, it happens all the time that people just copy each other's work. It's nearly
impossible to prove cheating in these cases, as well, so no one reports it. It's disgusting.