Students find many clever ways to cheat, including finding answers on websites such as Quizlet. (Annie Sichting)
Students find many clever ways to cheat, including finding answers on websites such as Quizlet.

Annie Sichting

Cheating: The Growing Issue in Schools

March 9, 2021

Cheating has always been a prevalent problem in schools. Cheating has many names, such as plagiarism, copying, “using your resources”, being “helped” by your friends, or just looking for ideas, but in the end, it’s still cheating. Despite knowing that cheating is inherently wrong, students still convince themselves that it’s ok. 

Whether answers come from online or from friends, students continue to turn in responses that are not their own. When people share answers, both parties are involved in cheating, not just the person copying. 

Though cheating may allow you to finish an assignment faster, there is no educational benefit at all. If you cheat on your assignment, you have not really learned what the teacher is trying to get you to understand. Sure, it might make time go faster, but when you’re staring down at the test with no idea on how to answer the questions, did the cheating really help? New MHS English teacher, Mr. Christopher Harrison said, “Cheating requires no understanding of the material, no effort, and no thought, which is the main point of education!”

Cheating in English and other heavy writing classes is easier to spot, but that does not mean it does not exist. The vocabulary assignments in English classes are probably one of the most plagiarized assignments. Teachers are not totally oblivious and can usually spot it if a student has plagiarized an answer. 

Mr. Harrison says, “Teachers are fully aware that they have students that cheat on assignments no matter how clever the students think they’re being.” If a teacher notices that you have plagiarized, you run the risk of losing all the credit for your grade and getting an F. 

Although cheating is both morally, ethically, and obviously wrong, most students have no qualms about doing it. Wouldn’t you rather say that you worked hard and earned your place in life rather than to say you cheated your way to the top? 

Not only is cheating wrong, it is also extremely unfair to the students who actually put time and effort into that assignment. Cheating hurts those students who have made it to the top through hard work.  If the work in a class is too hard to do without cheating, maybe that is a sign that you shouldn’t be in that class. If you are in a class, but simply do not want to do the work, perhaps you should rethink why you wanted to take that class in the first place.

Regarding why students end up cheating, Mr. Harrison said, “If students don’t care about school, don’t care about what they do in school, and don’t care about whether or not they learn the material, then they won’t care if they cheat.”

Even if you get away with it, does not mean it is justified. A good grade does not mean anything if you cheated your way there. Harrison said, “Many athletes don’t cheat while playing because they want to know that they stood up to the challenge and won by their skill. Students need to do the same.” If a football team wins a championship game after tipping the odds in their favor, you would not respect their win at all. It’s the same thing when you are given an A in a class.

The fact that many cases of plagiarism and cheating go unpunished does not sit well with some teachers. Mr. Harrison strongly believes that “There needs to be consequences for intellectual theft.” Though some students are smart about cheating and slightly paraphrase what they find on websites, it’s close enough that teachers will still notice. 

The fear of being caught should not be the only deterrent to cheating. People should realize that plagiarization is blatant theft, and everyone knows stealing is wrong. Even forgetting or neglecting to cite sources is also a form of plagiarism, as you are still passing off another’s work as your own. 

E-learning has worsened the cheating exponentially. With the lax due dates, people tend to procrastinate assignments and then see the massive amount of work that has accumulated. Then, instead of doing the assignment themselves, students often ask friends for help. This adds stress, not only to the person asking for answers, but also to the person asked. Some students may feel peer pressure from their friends to give away answers or help cheat. 

Overall, cheating is wrong no matter what excuse you use to justify it. Just because you can get away with it does not mean you should. Cheating does not add to your learning experience, nor will it add to your future. Mr. Harirson put it simply when he said, “Use your brain!” 

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