Don’t Cheat

Students commit acts of academic dishonesty due to a multitude of reasons.


Victoria Wilson, Staff Writer

Students in school may cheat or commit acts of academic dishonesty for a multitude of reasons, but one thing is certain, cheating is far more common in today’s scholastic community than ever before.

A survey conducted by Donald McCabe from Rutgers University stated that 64 percent of high school students admitted to cheating on a test, 58 percent admitted to plagiarism, and 95 percent admitted to other forms of cheating.  

Neil deGrasse Tyson is a Harvard University graduate and holds a Ph.D in astrophysics, and he tweeted that “When students cheat on exams it’s because our school system values grades more than students value learning.”

That idea is the central keystone for almost all the causes behind why students cheat. Students in all schools of degree and rank have experienced a rise in academic dishonesty due to psychological factors, pressure and performance anxiety.

There’s a variety of reasons behind the causes of each individual psychological factor that students may experience, ranging from intrinsic confidence deficiencies to pure academic inability.

But, as a whole, these factors make up the most uncontrollable cause behind why students cheat. Students may procrastinate doing their assignments as a means to avoid feeling that they are inferior to their classmates or their mental schema of themselves.

Students may feel inferior to their classmates for a myriad of reasons unique to each individual, but the core belief is that that student feels he or she is not good enough to achieve to the level that they feel their classmates can. Or that student has an inflated idea of his or her abilities and then constantly fall into a cycle of disappointment when he or she is not able to deliver to the level they want. Both of these reasons can lead to putting off assignments in order to avoid those feelings.

By procrastinating their school work students are met with deadlines and no products to turn in, which means students either work hard and finish their assignments to the best of their ability or they cut corners and cheat to save some time. Students will, unfortunately, choose the latter.

Some students might commit academic dishonesty because they feel pressured to perform well. These students succumb to the demands placed on them either by family, friends or themselves and ensure that they do well by cheating on assignments, tests and projects.

Students may fear disappointing their family and feeling that they are letting their family down if they perform poorly. This fear of failure paralyzes students and eradicates them of the ability to even try to accomplish tasks. When students are unable to even try then they may procrastinate which leads to cheating as a means to make ends meet.

Test anxiety can also lead students to academic dishonesty. Test anxiety refers to the feeling of distress and anxiety a student may feel in testing situations. Many causes for test anxiety are synonymous with the causes of pressure, but students may experience test anxiety independent of external pressures.

This means that test-taking situations may trigger a nervous physiological response that causes the student to panic and rush through a test. In order to avoid these feelings and reactions, students may cheat in order to secure the grade they need/want and avoid that failure.

Cheating has many causes but ultimately is an answer to a short-term problem. Although there are many ways to effectively cheat, and while students may be successful in their attempts, cheating is not a solid solution to struggling with academic work.

In the long-run, the material students learn in school and the skills they acquire when preparing for tests are imperative to achieving in the future, and cheating will not always be an effective solution in real life.