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The Problem of Cheating at PLHS

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Academic dishonesty is quite common today with plagiarism, assignment copying, and sites like sparknotes. Although it is quite common, many students are not caught cheating or if they are most aren’t punished enough. The boundaries of what is considered cheating is blurred today and most students don’t consider what they are doing is wrong in many situations. How can these issues be addressed with cheating being such an issue today?

500 freshman at PLHS took an online survey and were asked many questions about topics such as cheating and what is considered cheating in school. The results from the survey were quite intriguing and showed how prevalent cheating is among highschool students at PLHS. The extent that cheating happens at PLHS is higher than expected as more than half of the students surveyed had cheated on an assignment in the last year (52.6% of students)! Sharing work with others was also quite common with most students admitting to sharing their work with others 2-3 times in the past year. Another survey question found that 43.1% of students believed that sending or receiving texts and photos to complete a homework assignment was a reasonable shortcut. The most commonly cheated on type of academic assignment was homework followed by tests and lab reports. The quantitative data suggests that partaking in academic dishonesty seems to be a normal habit of many students at PLHS. Compared to different articles on cheating today their are even higher percentage of students that cheat on tests and all assignments in general than at PLHS. Other studies also find that there are negative attributes later in life associated with cheating. The study referenced in the article, “Beat the Cheat” found that cheating students are 1.5x more likely to cheat on taxes later in life as well as 1.5x more likely to cheat on a spouse!

The qualitative data asked students for written responses to many questions about academic dishonesty. The responses suggest that there are many reasons for cause students to cheat; the most common responses include, time constraints, laziness, absence when the material was taught, or they wanted a higher grade. It was interesting to see that the amount of people who routinely cheated without being caught was much higher than being caught. If students were caught most of them didn’t get punished to a large degree. Many students believed that the consequences for cheating should be very high especially for a second offense. This is relevant because, potentially if the consequences for cheating were understood than students may cheat less often. The results from this data suggest that most student who cheat are going without consequences. Which is a problem,because it is impacting graduation rates, students GPA’s along with comprehension of schoolwork.

Students who are academically dishonest send ripple effects in many directions of education. The cheating students are able to potentially get better grades and GPA averages than students at the same academic level as the cheaters. This displaces equally intelligent and hardworking students who get lower grades than the cheaters. Cheating can definitely impact who gets into college and who doesn’t. Cheating students could be negatively impacted, because they could be given less attention from teachers since they are doing so well on assignments. Colleges picking students are also impacted, because they could be allowing students in that cheated their way to a good GPA. Later in life College students could be expelled or suspended for cheating. Overall, the impacts of cheating are felt more than at first glance.

Cheating is definitely a problem at PLHS, since over 50% of students have cheated on an assignment in the last year. I myself definitely see cheating happen among students often. There is no single solution to stop academic dishonesty, but there are many measures teachers could take to minimise cheating in their classrooms. First teachers could make pretests along with more presentations and assignments that can’t be easily cheated on. Other measures teachers could use include: teachers walking around the classroom during tests, videorecording tests from above the students and making students keep their backpacks by the door with their phones in them. Another measure that could be taken could be that teachers make clear what is and isn’t cheating. It is clear teachers could be doing more to prevent academic dishonesty at PLHS.

Cheating at PLHS often goes unnoticed and unpunished. There are clear steps that could be taken by students and teachers to make cheating not worth the risk. Teachers could definitely be doing more to punish cheating students and prevent the cheating from happening in the first place. In conclusion, academic dishonesty is such a prevalent issue today that more measures should be taken today at PLHS to minimise cheating among students.

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