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Education: Why Do Students Cheat? Essay


Cheating is a common phenomenon among students at all levels of education. It happens in high schools, colleges, and universities. In addition, it occurs in both traditional and online settings of learning. Students have sufficient time and resources that give them the opportunity to work hard and pass their exams through personal effort (Davis et al. 35). This begs the question: why do students cheat?

Research has revealed that several reasons and factors are responsible for cheating in schools. A study conducted to find out the prevalence of cheating in colleges found out that approximately 75 percent of college students cheat at one time in the course of their stay at school (Davis et al. 36).

There is need to find a lasting solution because cheating does not reflect the real potential of students. Effects of cheating are reflected in students’ performance at workplaces. Students cheat because many schools define excellence through grades, lack of self-confidence with one’s ability, pressure from parents and teachers to do well, and poor teaching methods that do not fulfill the goals of learning (McCabe et al. 51).


Students cheat because many institutions of learning value grades more than attainment of knowledge (Davis et al. 36). Many school systems have placed more value on performing well in tests and examination than on the process of learning. When assessment tests and examinations play a key role in determining the future of a student, cheating becomes an appropriate channel to perform well (McCabe et al. 51).

Few institutions encourage mastery of learning materials rather than tests. In such institutions, students develop a positive attitude towards education because they are not worried about their performance in tests (Davis et al. 37). They focus more on the attainment of knowledge and skills. Psychologists argue that placing high value on tests teaches students to value short-term effects of education and ignore the long-term effects.

True or false questions, multiple choice questions, and matching tests are examples of assessments used by institutions that value grades (McCabe et al. 53). On the other hand, essay questions, research papers, and term papers are methods used to teach in institutions that value the learning experience and attainment of knowledge more than grades (Davis et al. 39).

Lack of confidence in their abilities motivates students to cheat. Lack of adequate skills and knowledge are some of the reasons that lead to the loss of confidence by students. According to McCabe et al,

“Teachers who focus more on grades have poor methods of teaching compared to teachers who value knowledge.” (51).

Students who think that they are not smart enough to cheat are more likely to cheat in order to get good grades. Learning that puts emphasis on grades involves repetition and memorization of learning materials (Davis et al. 41). Students forget much of the knowledge gained after sitting for their exams. Bored students have little or no connection to their teachers and are therefore likely to cheat because they are never prepared.

Such learning methods make learning boring and uninteresting (McCabe et al. 53). It does not motivate students to work hard and attain knowledge that could be useful in their careers. Interactive learning endows students with the confidence, which makes them believe in their ability to handle all kinds of challenges and situations (Davis et al. 42).

Students cheat because of pressure exerted on them by their parents and teachers to attain good grades (McCabe et al. 54). Many teachers and parents gauge the abilities of students by their grades. Many colleges use grades as a way of choosing the students who are qualified to join college. Self-efficacy is an important aspect of learning because it gives students the confidence to handle various tasks (McCabe et al. 55).

Teachers can cultivate a sense of self-efficacy in students by believing in all students regardless of their grades. However, many teachers alienate students who get low grades and give more attention to students that get high grades. On the other hand, many parents promise to take their children to college only if they get high grades. This motivates students to cheat in order to gain entry into college.

It is important for teachers and parents to find the weaknesses and strengths of all students and help them to exploit their potential. Sidelining some students is wrong and a good enough reason to cheat.

Another reason that explains why students teach is poor leaning and teaching methods (Davis et al.44). Good learning methods involve movements, inventions, creativity, discussions, and interactions. These methods improve comprehension among students and facilitate proper sharing of knowledge. However, many teachers find these methods tedious and time-consuming.

The aftermath is resentment form students because the teachers use methods that make learning boring. People learning through various methods. In addition, different students have different learning needs (McCabe et al. 56). Therefore, using a single teaching method does not serve the needs of all students. Some students develop a negative attitude towards learning and their teacher.

These students are likely to cheat in exams. Teachers should evaluate their students in order to develop teaching methods that cater to them all (McCabe et al. 58). Otherwise, some students might feel neglected in case they fail to comprehend certain subjects or disciplines.

Finally, students cheat because of laziness and lack of focus. According to Parker, students cheat because of lack f goo morals and laziness. According to Parker,

“A startling number attributed variously to the laziness of today’s students, their lack of a moral compass, or the demands of a hypercompetitive society.” (McCabe et al. 59)

She further argues that society demands much of students. This leads to cheating because students feel under pressure to perform well. Laziness is common among students. Students who waste their time on unimportant things have little time to study and do their homework (McCabe et al. 62).

They are unprepared during exams and result to cheating in order to perform well. On the other hand, many employees determine the capabilities of potential employees based on their grades. This motivates students to cheat in order to get high grades.


Reasons for cheating include lack of self-confidence in one’s ability to perform well, pressure from parents and teachers, and poor teaching methods that do not fulfill the learning needs of all students. In addition, many learning institutions place great value on grades rather than the acquisition of knowledge. Cheating is a common phenomenon among students at different levels of learning.

More research needs to be conducted in order to ascertain why students cheat. Further research is necessary because different students cheat for various reasons. Moreover, it is important for teachers to lay more emphasis on the acquisition of knowledge and skills rather than good grades.

Students have different learning needs that are satisfied using different teaching and learning methods. Teachers should evaluate their students in order to determine the most important teaching methods that cater to the learning needs of all students.

Works Cited

Davis, Stephen, Drinan Patrick, and Gallant Tricia. Cheating in School: What We Know and What We Can Do. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2011. Print.

McCabe, Donald, Butterfield Kenneth, and Trevino Linda. Cheating in College: Why Students Do It and What Educators Can Do About It. New York: JHU Press, 2012. Print.

This Essay on Education: Why Do Students Cheat? was written and submitted by user Kailynn Salas to help you with your own studies. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.

Kailynn Salas studied at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, USA, with average GPA 3.44 out of 4.0.

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Salas, K. (2020, March 26). Education: Why Do Students Cheat? [Blog post]. Retrieved from

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Salas, Kailynn. "Education: Why Do Students Cheat?" IvyPanda, 26 Mar. 2020,

1. Kailynn Salas. "Education: Why Do Students Cheat?" IvyPanda (blog), March 26, 2020.


Salas, Kailynn. "Education: Why Do Students Cheat?" IvyPanda (blog), March 26, 2020.


Salas, Kailynn. 2020. "Education: Why Do Students Cheat?" IvyPanda (blog), March 26, 2020.


Salas, K. (2020) 'Education: Why Do Students Cheat?'. IvyPanda, 26 March.

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