Cheating in schools has become the order of the day and is no more considered a big deal. Sometimes it is even deemed necessary. Students copy from others’ assignments and tests. Sadly, this is not only by the participating students but also by quite a number of teachers. Some merely ignore it while others go as far as taking part in it.
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Public schools are the most affected by this particular issue. The reasons for cheating in public schools include; extrinsic inspiration of students, inadequate connection to school, negative frame of mind, risk taking comportment and setting of unrealistically high targets for teachers. Researches done over the years show that cheating is increasing steadily with time in all institutions (Baggish).
Extrinsic inspiration of students
There are two major categories of students: students who appreciate learning mainly for the sake of gaining knowledge and those seeking prizes, admissions to higher learning institutions and contented parents. The former are self- driven whereas the latter are motivated by the promised accolades.
There is however a third group of scholars who display equal rations of both inspirations. A survey done by the Independent Schools Health Check (ISHC) showed that self-driven students cheat the least (17.7%), mixed students cheat moderately (25.2%) and prize seeking students cheat the most (38.3%). Most students in public schools are either prize driven or mixed hence they tend to cheat more than private schools.
Inadequate connection to school
Learners in public schools mostly feel unsupported by their teachers and dislike studying. They find the school rules unfair and lack a sense of belonging. They generally experience little or no internal pressure to succeed, unlike their private school counterparts who relish their specialized curriculums, like their teachers and find them helpful.
This deficiency in public schools leads to increased cheating in assignments and quizzes. Due to the low internal pressure for success, most students do their work simply to maintain routine and not to boost their knowledge. However, even some of the students who retain a suitable connection to school take part in cheating.
Negative frame of mind
Such students are usually experiencing emotional, developmental and interactive troubles. The majorities are found in public institutions and are a much diversified set of students. They generally feel isolated, upset, dejected and displeased with themselves. Their rates of cheating are pretty high, between twenty and forty percent. This is in accordance with the study done by the ISHC.
Risk taking comportment
Students who take other risks include those who use tobacco, hefty consumers of alcohol, users of drugs such as marijuana and those who are taking part in sexual activities.
According to the analysis carried out by the ISHC, 15.3% of consumers of low alcohol amounts cheat, 29% of the moderate consumers cheat and 50.6% of heavy drinkers cheat in examinations. This shows that the risks taken are directly proportional to the cheating levels. Students who take more risks also cheat more whereas those who take fewer risks cheat less (Blackler).
Cheating is no longer rampant in colleges only but also in high schools. This has caused the attitude that people now treat it with, considering it no big deal. A distressing 15% of students today hand in papers gotten largely from term-paper mills and websites on the internet.
They contend that the internet is a good research implement hence it should not be considered cheating. “We are partly to blame. We are not helping them to understand. Getting teachers to let students know they care about the issue is an important first step.” (McCabe-2001 referring to educators, parents and society in general).
Worse still, students today feel that teachers sometimes disregard cheating. However, now many high schools expect a solution from technology and anti-piracy software.
Setting of unrealistically high targets for teachers
In Atlanta, detectives who have concluded a two year investigation established that objectives set for public school teachers had been unrealistically high. Under the federal No Child Left Behind act for America’s public schools, it is essential for each student to accomplish annual advancements.
Success is rewarded and failure penalized. The gravity to yield grades by any method possible thus became more vital than genuine educational growth. This led to bullying of teachers from the uppermost ranks to lower ones threatening them to either achieve the desired outcome in three years or get canned.
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Teachers assembled to rub out wrong answers and correct them; they sat the lower-scoring students next to their more adept colleagues and conveyed answers to students both directly and indirectly. In one particular instance, a student sat under the desk and declined the exam yet astoundingly he made the required grade.
People who threatened this arrangement such as Dr. Jackie Boyce in 2009 were immediately silenced with intimidations. There have been established cases of cheating in several districts and states and they are still on the rise. The public education director of FairTest (The National Centre for Fair and Open testing), Robert Schaeffer is not astonished and feels that, “the more you look, the more you’re going to find.”
Although most surveys show that public schools cheat more than private schools, some tend to disagree. A study, (Report Card 2002: The Ethics of American Youth) issued by Josephson Institute for Ethics revealed that private schools cheat more than public schools. 78% of students who go to private religion based high schools take part in cheating whereas 72% of those attending public high schools cheat.
It was found that even those whose spiritual backgrounds mattered greatly to them took part in cheating. Surprisingly, the spiritual background does not seem to prevent students from lying. If anything, students attending religion based learning institutions lie more by 5% according to this study.
Regardless of these conclusions, believers of religion based education continue to emphasize that government assistance to religious learning institutions will improve the principles of students. A Yale University professor and supporter of vouchers, Stephen L. Carter, contended in Christian Today “For the millions of parents who continue to support school vouchers, the religious school is seen as a partner in training the child in right and wrong.”
He went on to say the fact that nine out of ten of all students go to spiritual based learning institutions is likely to portray a parental conclusion that nurturing decent and respectable children is of greater magnitude than improving academic performance (Kennedy).
Cheating undoubtedly leaves a certain mark on every student who takes part in it. Impossible as it may seem, it actually leaves a positive mark on some even though most experience negative effects. Due to the inefficiency in enforcing measures to curb cheating, majority of the culprits get away with it; and most of them carry on with dishonesty in higher learning institutions and on to their occupations.
They also behave similarly in their family units. As a result, children brought up by these people wind up having a lower moral upstanding than their parents. This directly increases the percentile of cheating students with passing time.
Some of the cheaters however, are usually caught and disciplinary measures taken depending on the level of learning. For high school students, warnings, suspensions and expulsions in extreme cases usually suffice. In higher learning institutions more severe measures are usually taken.
Sometimes cheaters are sentenced to prison or barred from further learning in those particular institutions. This forces them to give up education altogether and seek other ways of earning a living. However, not all learn the intended lesson. Those who learn adjust their behavior and in many cases manage to bring up children with higher moral standards. However those who fail to learn end up just like those who were never caught in terms of attitude.
All in all, cheating should be eliminated no matter what the cost. Its eradication should begin from educators, parents and the community in general. This will improve the learning capacity and moral code of the students who being tomorrow’s leaders, will improve the world as a whole (ProQuest Education Journals).
Baggish, Rosemary and Peter, Wells. “academic honesty and the Independent School.” Independent School. Academic Search Complete. Web.
Blackler, Zoe. “View from here – Exposed: Biggest Cheating Scandal in US History.” The Times Educational Supplement.4958, 2011
Kennedy, Robert. “Why You Won’t Find Cheating In Private Schools.” Private School Review. Kennedy Robert. Web.
ProQuest Education Journals. ProQuest Research Library; ProQuest Social Science Journals. Web.