Students resort to cheating to achieve success

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Students resort to cheating to achieve success

Kylee B. '21, Writer

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With the recent college cheating scandal, society is questioning the lengths privilege can get the people who have it. Celebrities like Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman paid administrators and test proctors large sums in order for their children to get into their dream college. This was only recently discovered, but there are most likely many other occurrences where people have used their privilege for their advantage. However, it is not just wealthy people who decide to resort to cheating, it is kids in college and high school classrooms as well.

Reasons students cheat are either lack of studying or they want to compete with their classmates. Pressure to get into their favorite college gets to students and they feel the need to cheat in order to get into that college. However, the definition of cheating is often different for many people. Some believe it is not cheating when copying a classmates homework, but it is cheating when looking off of a peer’s test, keeping the answer sheet on a phone wallpaper or plagiarizing an essay.

A 2012 Josephson Institute’s Center for Youth Ethics report revealed more than half of high school students admitted to cheating on a test, while 74% copied off their friends’ homework. Additionally a survey of 70,000 high school students across the United States between 2002 and 2015 found 58% had plagiarized papers, while 95% admitted to cheating to some capacity, according to Edutopia.

Although some people may think it is the underachieving student who cheats, it is often the overachieving student who is caught cheating. This student wants to achieve perfection so in turn they cheat because they would not want a bad grade to ruin months of hard work. In schools that have a “cutthroat” environment when it comes to grades, this is often the case.

“When students cheat the process is lost, and students would rather have a quick fix than enjoy the process and complete assignments and tests on their own. Under no circumstances will cheating ever be acceptable,” history teacher Chris Binkley said.

Negative consequences are the only result when it comes to cheating. Although the punishment varies depending on the teacher and school, teachers rarely let a student by on a free pass when they are caught cheating. Punishments can range in severity from after school detention to expulsion and it is often placed on the student’s permanent record. This could affect the student in the future when they are applying to college, an internship or a job. Additionally if the student does cheat without getting caught, the information they were supposed to learn is not retained.

“I have been in a class where one of my peers was caught cheating and although I did not know the consequences or outcome of it, I know the student did not get by on a free pass. Cheating can happen in many different ways, but in more times than not cheating does not have a positive effect on students or the teachers,” Daniel K. ‘21 said.

Although cheating happens at schools and universities around the world, it also happens at OHS too. Last year AP Literature and Composition students were caught using sparknotes, a website that summarizes books, on their assigned books instead of actually reading them. AP Literature and Composition teacher Layne Jones was affected by the cheating and ultimately had to have a discussion with her students about their integrity. For her, this situation affected the relationships she had with her students and the way she felt about herself as a teacher.

“Cheating leads to a lot of self-doubt, but it also leads to compromised relationships between myself and students. As much as I wish it didn’t, when a student cheats, it skews the relationship between us. I have a hard time fully trusting their work and integrity again. It’s just an overall upsetting pandemic that I see running its course throughout our school. For whatever reason, it seems like students would much rather just cheat than put the time into their own learning, and that bums me out,” Jones said.

Cheating in 2019 is easier than ever, especially with new and upcoming technology. Students are now able to quickly send last night’s math homework or text their peer to see what was on an extremely difficult test. Additionally, with the popularity of smart watches, students are able to take pictures of their notes or cheat sheets and set them as their watch background.

“Technology and money makes cheating so much easier these days, especially outside of school. With that being said, the college cheating scandal does not change my opinion of the celebrities. I knew that they have money and spend it on luxury items. However, this just confirmed they also use their money for personal gain, instead of playing fair like everyone else,” Emily H. ‘19 said.

Cheating happens everywhere and it is not just celebrities who take advantage of technology and the resources of 2019 to get ahead in their academics. However, cheating does no good for students, teachers or administrators, and it ultimately affects the relationship between the student and teacher. Cheating can be avoided if people are willing to put in the extra work outside of school. In the end, studying over cheating will help every student in the future anyway.