Friday, December 15

Why Some Students Cheat

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Although technology has advanced, I think there has always been creative ways to cheat. The reason more students are cheating, in my view, is because they think it’s acceptable. I cheated occasionally in high school, but I do not cheat in university. I am interested in my university subjects, and even if I was inclined to cheat, the majority of my testing is essay format. Cheating typically occurs in subjects where multiple choice tests are involved.

So why do students think it’s acceptable to cheat? Firstly, our culture has become more sensitive to context. Many people accept the idea that doing things like lying, cheating, stealing, etc, can be acceptable if the circumstances justify them. I actually agree with this view, hence why I’ve cheated, but it’s a highly contested perspective.

In high school, there were many subjects I was required to take. I might not have been sure what I wanted to do with my life, but I knew what I didn’t want to do. As best I can recall, I cheated in economics, Canadian history, and math. There were probably other things here and there, but those are the more significant cases. I helped people cheat whenever factual questions were involved; where was Shakespeare born, who wrote Hamlet, etc. Questions that required a demonstration of a skill, however, I would have to know that the person was capable of answering the question had they studied. So despite being a “cheater,” I still had an ethical component to my cheating.

When I cheated, it was generally because the task required of me was boring. In economics and Canadian history, I had access to assignment answers from students who had taken the course before. I was more than capable of researching the answers online so I wouldn’t have benefited much from doing it myself. I was only going to end up reading the answers, regardless. That’s how I looked at it, at least. My friends and I helped each other in these courses, and the teacher didn’t really mind. When I cheated in math, I had 98% in the course from doing tests. I was happy with that, and we were required to do exercises for homework and show that we completed them. I didn’t need to do the exercises as I already knew the concepts, but it was still a tedious process that I preferred to avoid. Hence, I just copied the answers.

When students cheat on tests involving memorization, like who died when, they often don’t care about the subject. They know they don’t want a career it that. And even if they memorize it now, it’s highly unlikely they will remember it throughout their life. In many cases, students think it is pointless to waste their time memorizing facts that are useless to them. If someone bet you you couldn’t eat a whole pizza, you don’t need to do it. You’re satisfied with knowing you could do so if you wished. Students often know they can memorize boring facts, but they’d rather not bother with it.

Today my opinions on cheating are mixed. I no longer cheat, but I don’t really have the opportunity to cheat, either. I think that bad curriculum in schools and “busy work” often drive students to cheating. However, the solution should be to improve the education system rather than engaging in cheating. Unfortunately, high school students are generally fairly passive concerning the structure of their education.

I answered this question from the point of view of myself and other successful students who, had they not cheated, would’ve got the same mark. We simply would’ve done three hours of tedious work instead of reading a book, playing outside, or watching television. The tedium might help prepare students for working life, but I don’t want to delve into the problems with modern business operation. There are still students who have significant difficulties. The fact that these students feel cheating is the best option, often when they don’t understand, are hurting themselves. However, when the choice is between failure and separation from their peers, I can’t say I blame them for choosing to cheat. After all, they can learn math eventually. They’ll never have the opportunity to graduate with their friends if the lose it.

So to close, students are put in pressure situations that cause them to cheat, but some students cheat because they don’t want to do repetitive homework. Of course, there are students who cheat simply because they think cheating is an acceptable way to achieve things in life. There are plenty of reasons students cheat, and if we look at it from their perspective, we can understand why. We might still object to the cheating itself, but the issue is not as simple as it might seem.


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