The Morse Code

Cheating: Why?

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  Copying a neighbor, finding an answer key, and sharing a test beforehand; these are all common forms of in cheating high school classrooms. Each student has his or her own reason for wanting the upper hand, ranging from laziness to necessity. Even if some causes are more respectable than others, cheating never impacts just one person.

    There are multiple perspectives when it comes to academic dishonesty. Some students, who do not see value in academics, see cheating as the easy way out of learning the material. By cheating, they can bypass the time other students spend studying, which helps balance their grade from any incomplete work. Because of this, cheating is automatically given a negative connotation and onlookers quickly assume students who cheat are only looking for the short-term benefit of a high score.

    However, there are also students, particularly those on the AP and Honors route, who feel an immense amount of pressure regarding academics. When students see an A or B as the defining factor between their dream university and a safety school, their actions all lead to the goal of academic success. To someone who’s grades mean everything, they will go to great lengths to attain the grades they need, even if it includes cheating. When someone is overwhelmed with work, has no time to themselves, and feels constant pressure, academic honesty may not be their priority. To these students, a small advantage in the short-term will reap great benefits in the long-term.

    Cheating has changed in nature, straying away from simply glancing at a neighbor’s paper. Group efforts are becoming more common, with entire classes working together to help boost each other’s grades. However, the more people that are involved, the higher the risk. While many engage in cheating under the assumption that they won’t get caught, cheating will always bring some sort of negative repercussion. It can come in the form of guilt, mistrust, or getting caught. One student or group will be given an advantage that other will not have, they may continue cheating to maintain the grade they want, and as many say, “You will just be cheating yourself.”

    Cheating creates a sense of distrust between students and teachers, making the entire education process difficult for everyone involved. Tests will become tougher, teaching methods will become stricter, and communicating will become harder. The teacher-student relationship intended to help students grow and navigate the path to a higher education will be damaged. It is not only morally wrong, but has an impact that spreads far beyond a single student.

    Students will be pushed to cheat if they feel as though their grades matter more than learning the material necessary to pass it on their own merits. One way of combatting this is easing the amount of pressure brought on by a test. While some, such as finals, are intended to define final grades, tests given throughout the year should help bring balance. All teachers were once students and know the same pressure that students are under now. Having open communication between students and teachers about what material is on the test and how they can be successful is imperative.

    If a student skips out on learning material once, when will they get that time back? While it varies for each student, everyone has the potential for honest academic success. Dedicating time to do the necessary work, having a balance in grades, and easing pressure are all key to fighting against cheating.

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