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An epidemic has broken out in American High Schools: cheating. In recent years, the percentage of high school students admitting to using less than moral ways to go about achieving their stellar scores in their classes has dramatically increased and is still steadily rising. Cheating, in the context of school, can be described as a student deliberately using prohibited methods and resources to aid them in performing on tests and other assignments. Researchers and analysts all over the country have been attempting to get to the bottom of this controversial issue; However, It is clear that the cause of the increasing rates of cheating is due to the also increasing pressure on students to compete with their peers for academic success and achievement.
With the motive of pursuing higher education and developing an edge when establishing a career, attending college has become an expectation amongst ambitious middle to upper class high school students and their families. Due to the limited number of careers that do not require some form of higher education that have decent pay, not going to college is considered “low class” and foolish by individuals who desire to be “successful”. The notion that the grade is more important than the method used to achieve it has lowered students’ morals and guilt when cheating on the completion of assignments. However, the consciousness of motivated students is not the sole cause of this decline in morality. The families, peers, and teachers of these students encourage them to the point of cheating by promoting competition amongst students as well.
Through the years and shifts in technology and culture, students have developed a variety of methods to provide themselves and their peers with prohibited resources to use when working on assignments and tests. Before the widespread popularity of cellphones and the internet, students would write notes with test answers on small slips of paper or on their body to reference. However, now that nearly all students have access to a cellphone, which can be easily concealed in a pocket or under a shirt, they have much quicker and stealthier access to test answers. The internet also provides a place to upload and search for completed assignments to copy for rapid completion. Because students tend to be much more tech-savvy than their adult counterparts, it can be difficult for teachers and administrators to find and shut down these resources.
Although some may argue that there is no harm in cheating in high school and that the students are just taking advantage of the resources available to them, learning this behavior from a young age may lead to lack of morals in the workplace. High Schools typically dish out rather soft penalties is a student is caught cheating by giving the guilty a zero on the assignment, a stern warning and the opportunity to drop the spoiled grade later. This gives students the impression that they can get away with cheating as an adult with minimal consequences. However, cheating in their adult life at work could lead to prison time and even cause them to be fired.
The solution to this epidemic can be hard to pinpoint but several plausible ones have been produced. Encouraging students to pursue happiness rather than pure monetary success allows students to feel more comfortable and secure studying out of their own interest and succeeding in the field that they would choose for themselves. When students feel assured that doing their best is enough, they will no longer feel that they need to accel past that and cheat. Building self assured academic confidence in students may indeed be the solution to end cheating for good.
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