How to Stop Cheating
Cheating not only allows students to score better grades but it also enables them to bend education rules to their favor. Students can’t seem to avoid cheating no matter their level of education whether college, secondary or elementary school. The mode of study also doesn’t deter any cheating as both students studying online and in classrooms fall prey to cheating. Cheating is a grave crime that can expressly lead to the discontinuation of a student. Generally speaking, the main reason for cheating is the desire to get good scores in an examination. Grounds for cheating will vary from one student to another. Some students cheat because their parents expect better grades from them while others cheat because they lack ample time to prepare for examinations. Cheating also manifests in various forms, such as carrying out group work when individual work is required, sneaking notes into exam rooms, and plagiarism. The most important reasons for cheating in my view are students losing confidence during exams, pressure to perform from parents, new technology, lack of or insufficient penalties, poor moral code, and laziness.
Possible reasons for students to cheat.
Foremost, students tend to lose confidence because they focus more on grades rather than on the learning process. Students frequently learn new concepts and topics that require periodic review for better understanding. Lack of studying makes a student susceptible to cheating during exams for them to remember the concepts and get better grades. These students consequently end up blaming the test for being too hard and as a result having low grades. They lose confidence in themselves in the coming examinations and lead to frequent cheating to maintain their grades. Typically, there are two types of students, students with low self-esteem and those with high self-esteem. The former tend to care less about cheating in tests while the latter may not cheat because of the shame that accompanies cheating.
Secondly, pressure to perform from parents also contributes to students cheating. Some parents have high expectations of their children and therefore expect them to get very high grades and qualify for the best colleges. Since not all these students are high performers, some of them may result to cheating to impress their parents. Some students in both elementary and secondary schools value sports and co-curricular activities more than their studies. Most times their parents are not aware of this and tend to push them to study. These students are forced to cheat to keep their parents satisfied while also pursuing their passion for sports. Pressure to perform from parents contributes the most to students cheating. Parents should make an effort to know their children’s habits and likes and stop forcing them to fulfill their expectations alone.
Thirdly, cheating happens as a result of readily available new technology. Margaret notes that new technologies have made cheating quite easy since it happens at the swipe of a finger (1). Students sneak notes and even formulas to examination rooms using their smartwatches for instance. The beckoning question becomes why a student should struggle to read when they can obtain similar or better results at the swipe of a finger. The introduction of computers and the internet has raised plagiarism rates significantly in the last decade (Margaret 1). Students are more conversant with these new technologies that teachers and take advantage of this fact. They indulge in more improved ways of cheating that are hard to detect.
Fourthly, students may turn to cheating due to the lack of penalties or the reluctance of professor’s to investigate and punish such actions. When the benefits of cheating outweigh the costs of cheating, a student will most likely cheat. Most learning institutions only started penalizing fraud recently. Additionally, other systems punish fraud, but the penalty is inadequate compared to the act of cheating. The minimal punishment for cheating may serve as a viable precursor to cheating in the event of examinations with very high stakes. Fraud is also caused by poor moral code and the will to succeed. Societies with poor moral conducts tend to pass these to their students. Abdolmohammadi & Baker found out that students from communities with poor moral codes engage in cheating more than students from communities with good ethical standards (4). This reason for cheating lays the blame on the society as students are a reflection of their communities.
Lastly, cheating is attributable to laziness in students. Ironically, most students are lazy but confidence they will pass their examinations. They tend to think that tests will be easy and hence what they already know is sufficient. Worse still they fail to review even what they already know making them fail. This failure makes them turn to cheating in subsequent examinations. Some students are well aware of the fact that they are lazy and won’t do anything about it. Regardless of how hard they study they still end up underperforming. Cheating becomes a solace and a route to better performance for them. Individual students with scholarships in high schools tend to cheat to maintain a trend of good performances. Scholarships are often dependent on consistent good grades. Getting these good grades every time is cumbersome and as such these student will cheat in some examinations to maintain their scholarships. Frequent parties and other activities also affect students’ study time making them preys to cheating.
Possible Ways to Stop Cheating
After understanding the reasons behind cheating, it is possible to identify corrective measures easily. For instance, the use of new technological tools like Turnitin has made cheating hard (Margaret 2). This software compares a student’s work with many others available on the internet. If adopted in all schools, this software is likely to discourage students from cheating since their chances of being caught will be very high. Additionally, institutions should place heavy penalties on cheating culprits. The fear of discontinuation or expulsion may make a student think twice before engaging in cheating.
Moreover, building a culture of trusting students may reduce the cases of cheating, and this mainly involves making the students sign an honor code stating they did not cheat or facilitate cheating. Students who fail to sign the document may end up having their assignments not graded. This puts trust on students to act ethically and reduces cheating considerably. Finally, cheating can be stopped by issuing students more group assignments than individual assignments, which ensures that all students participate equally and the students become each other’s supervisors against cheating. Cheating happens because of different situations and reasons from the students themselves, parents and even school staff such as professors. The students are aware of the consequences of cheating, but the benefits push them to indulge in it.
Abdolmohammadi, Mohammad J., and C. Richard Baker. “Moral reasoning and questionable behavior.” The CPA Journal 78.11 (2008): 58.
Barthel, Margaret. “How to Stop Cheating in College.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 20 Apr. 2016. Accessed from www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/04/how-to-stop-cheating-in-college/479037/, 18 September 2017.