Students seek out homework apps for answers

Charlie Truelove

Cheating on homework, or copying down answers, is frowned upon in school. However, there’s a thriving underbelly of students using apps to take charge of their education. 

I think teachers obviously care, it’s their job, but when we really break it down, when am I ever going to need to know how to solve for y in everyday tasks?”

— Freshman Phoebe Montena

“I was in 8th grade math and I was really struggling with my homework and asked how my friend got A’s all the time. She recommended me an app called Photomath,” freshman Phoebe Montena recalls.

She isn’t alone. Many students are now reaching to the internet for answers and help. In a 2017 survey by the Josephson Institute Center for Youth Ethics, 95% of 43,000 students reported cheating in some capacity, be it on homework or otherwise.

Photomath claims to solve 1,234,054,453 problems monthly. Since its launch in 2014, it’s become a step-by-step math helper. Simply scan a problem, and Photomath guides the user. 

Freshman Vensie Cao recently started using them. “I learn better because of it. I think it’s supposed to help you, when you get your answer they actually give you the option to see how the steps are done.”

Others, however, may use websites or software.

Freshman Ronin Valejo used a website called last year. “It was actually really good because they rewrote sentences so it would be really hard to trace. I only had one sentence that was a 90% match to a Wikipedia entry, and everything else was like a 20% so they couldn’t trace it at all.”

Why do students use these, though?

For students, work piles up. Many use these apps as a crutch when overwhelmed with other activities.

“I use them because honestly, sometimes I don’t feel like doing the work. I’m either drained from all my other work and can resort to them as a comfort, almost,” Montena said, “And I’ve been given advice by a teacher to use them if that’s what works for you.”

Students evolve along with technology. Apps like these were bound to happen, but ultimately the student is the one in power.