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You wake up in a panicked jump, realizing that in exactly six hours the essay you had a week to work on is due. You frantically knock over your lamp as you rush to grab a hold of your phone. Quickly scrolling through countless articles, you sigh in relief as your eyes land on one specifically. It seems the universe is on your side for once. You swiftly copy everything and paste it into a new Google docs. You change a few words and sentences, enough to make yourself believe that your teacher won’t even notice. You promise yourself that this is the last time. Gone are the days of you tripping over the idea of getting an F or looking for a smart person to cheat off of. Oh, no – you haven’t reformed and you slowly started to realize that cheating only deprives you of the education that you’re spending a fortune on: It’s just that you have all these websites now, and you’re too busy to focus on trivial things such as the consequences of academic cheating.
Academic dishonesty has long been in existence. We all know about it and somehow we’ve all done it. Our education system makes the grade more important than the exploration of knowledge, our society makes the paper degree more important than the information and understanding. Everyone knows that if your GPA is too low, colleges won’t even glance at you. You may not be able to move up in society, you may die. Cheating is not an individual fault of character…it is a survival mechanism. It’s no coincidence that as time goes on and technology advances that the percentage of students that cheat has increased as well.
Students today have many resources available to them sitting on their laps or dangling from their fingertips. Machines can keep a database of more than a million articles while keeping track of sentences that have similar writing. Grammarly is one these programs that students use to make sure that their writing doesn’t coincide with another’s. It’s a game of cat-and-mouse, where the winner gets an A and the loser gets a failing grade and academic probation. Now, it seems as if an original essay comes once in a full moon. Colleen Wenke states, “Students who would not usually cheat get sucked into believing it is the only way to get ahead in school…” The prevalence of academic dishonesty is significantly influenced by how it’s measured. If a student observes that their friend is accomplished and congratulated rather then reprimanded when they know that their friend lied and actually didn’t do the assignment on their own then they would realize that they can do it as well.
From personal experience, I’ve had an encounter where I had done the math homework yet my friend hadn’t. She cornered me in the morning and asked me if she could copy. I let her and ‘till this day, not a teacher found out. She got a 100% on that assignment and yet she hadn’t put in the hours I did to understand it.
As students continue their education they come across situations similarly to this where they have to decide whether they use another’s work or put in the “unnecessary” hours. The percentage of students plagiarizing has increased throughout the last fifty years. The astigmatism that surrounded cheating has lessened to the point that 98% of students admit to doing so. A study done from Josephson Institute Center for Youth Ethics surveyed 43,000 high school students in public and private schools which found out that 59% of students admitted to cheating on a test during the last year. 34% self-reported doing it more than two times. 1⁄3 of students admitted that they used the internet to plagiarize an assignment. These statistics aren’t meant to degrade an entire generation but rather shed light on the continuous strain that students have between academic life and working life. The quick rise of fast-working network makes it so much easier to cheat.
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