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Learning to Cheat?

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Photo Credit: Lilly Milman
Photo Credit: Lilly Milman

Cheating, along with senioritis, seems to be a growing problem within the school’s walls in the spring. However, students copy each other’s homework, take a peek at another student’s test paper, and plagiarize information from the Internet more and more as a student progresses through high school.

As students make their four-year journey thro   ugh high school, they seem to care less and less about their schoolwork. Cheating, commonly associated with senioritis, is a plague that sweeps through the senior class each year. However, is this bad habit slowly becoming more acceptable in school? Although many studious underclassmen hold strictly to their academic integrity, by senior year, most students are desensitized to the immorality of cheating, due to strong influence from peers, laziness, and desperation for good grades. However, cheating is not unheard of among underclassmen, primarily juniors, who are overwhelmed with attaining a high grade point average to remain competitive in the college decision process.

With the growing access to advanced technology such as cellphones and computers, students have been finding it much easier to find old test questions online as well as send homework assignments to one another via email or text message. These easy ways to obtain exam questions and assignments make students feel invincible against the school policy that punishes plagiarism and cheating. According to the school policy, any violations against these rules can lead to detention, and possibly even suspension.

When a random pool of students ranging from the 9th to the 12th grades were asked how often they cheat on school assignments on a scale from 1 to 10, 10 being always and 1 being never, the average number given was 7.2, a relatively high number that indicates widespread cheating at home and in classrooms. The average number given by freshmen, however, was 4.2, a significantly lower number than the average given by seniors, which was an 8.8. This shockingly high number demonstrates an alarming lack of morality in schools as students grow older.
A current female sophomore at Hills West opened up about her views on cheating, “It’s unfair that some kids cheat and teachers never even catch them. My friends and I work hard for our grades and we have to watch other people cheat in and out of class. I just don’t get the point of it because they’re obviously going to end up having a hard time in college when they can’t cheat anymore.”

Whether teachers notice the cheating and condone the act or very simply do not realize the cheating in the classroom remains questionable. It’s no secret that in other school districts, teachers have been caught overlooking cheating in order to raise the average in their classes. A current female senior at Hills West commented, “I think [teachers] know. They just don’t care enough to do anything about it…They really only get mad if you do it very obviously in front of them because then it’s like you’re doing it directly to offend them.”

On the other hand, other teachers believe that cheating distinctly places students who put in the effort to study or prepare for a project or lab at a disadvantage. Instead of condoning the act, some teachers have been known to give out zeros to students who do not uphold their academic integrity in attempt to warn students about the serious consequences of cheating, especially in a college setting where students may be expelled for cheating. “[Cheating] goes against the code of conduct. It’s not fair for one person to get a grade they do not deserve,” stated Senior Isabella Dana.

Though taking a quick peek at a neighbor’s test paper may be easier than reading through a textbook, cheaters should be cognizant of the potential consequences of getting caught in the act. “Getting a forty is better than getting a zero for cheating,” said AP Euro and AP Economics Teacher, Ms. Lislevatn, before an exam.