Stories of academic cheating have been on the rise as students are caught cheating on college entrance exams as well as homework assignments. Teachers have also been caught up in academic cheating scandals like the cases in Ohio and Georgia (Anderman). It is apparent that cheating has grown increasingly important to a significant number of students since it appears as a sure way of getting good grades. Students are under considerable pressure to perform well in class since a good degree can mean a bright future in one's chosen career. Therefore, students are keen to get the best possible grades. In his article, "The Demand for High Grades Motivates Students to Cheat," Eric M. Anderman illustrates how cheating has become a considerable concern in schools. Anderman is a Professor at The Ohio State University and the co-author of Classroom Motivation (Anderman). The author explores academic goals as one of the reasons why cheating is rampant and proceeds to look at how teachers can help to curb the vice. Students with long-term goals of understanding the subject matter will study to understand while those with short-term goals will only aim for the good grades. He states that the academic system is keen on grading students rather than testing them for actual understanding and internalization thus encouraging students to get high grades by any means. Cheating can be stopped via the coursework and giving second chances. I agree with Anderman that the way to curb cheating in school is if teachers understand students and help them to prepare adequately for their studies.
Students cheat to get good grades in class and avoid punishment.
Anderman suggests that the obvious reason why students cheat is the desire to get ahead by gaining a good grade or avoiding punishment but the real reason is a bit more complicated.
There are numerous reasons why students cheat despite the quest for good grades being a stand-out obvious. Good grades may be meant for future opportunities, or instant gratification since the education system is designed to assess performance using a grading system. Students are not always well prepared for their classes or assignments. It is vital for teachers to identify the students who are not prepared and offer the necessary instructions. This lack of adequate preparation pushes the students to look for ways to cut corners and make up for the lost time.
One of the reasons why a student may be unprepared to do classwork, assignments, or exams is due to family conflicts. Students are from diverse backgrounds, and some of them come from families where there is no peace and stability. There might be conflicts and quarrels that make it impossible for the student to learn or complete assignments. Students do not enjoy a conducive environment to study, and hence they tend to fall behind others in the class. Such a student may be forced to cheat to avoid getting into problems or punishments at school. School authorities should find ways of engaging such students since domestic issues can be a delicate topic. Such individuals should be managed appropriately since the family is a crucial part of every student's development. I have heard of students who had to find other people to do their assignments since there was no conducive environment to do it back at home. Students also lack proper preparation due to engaging in other activities that eat into the time meant for learning. Some students will attend parties or a night out with friends at the expense of studying for a test or completing an assignment. When students fall late in submitting assignments, they are compelled to copy from others to make sure they are not punished in any way. It means that they will be unprepared at the time of the exam and hence they may have to cheat to attain good grades.
Understanding why students cheat is the first step in addressing this issue. Some students are only focused on doing the exams rather than reading the book chapters hence they will not have understood the subject matter. It is a well-known fact that other students are just lazy and like to cut corners instead of doing the expected work. Such students will cheat just because it is the easy way out and hence it is challenging to alter their habits. However, it is my opinion that teachers can help to reverse this trend by taking the initiative to dispel the idea of cheating. Teachers should explain to students that cheating is not beneficial in any way. It is detrimental since it masks the reality where the students get a high grade but fail to gain any relevant knowledge. Students will also cheat because of their reason for passing. Some students have short-term objectives. For example, a parent might require their child to attain a particular grade to allow them to go to a party. This is a short-term result that will make it easy to cheat since the reward is substantial. For others, the objective is long-term such as a well-paying job with opportunities for advancement. Such students may find it beneficial to cheat in high school exams to secure good colleges and courses. When teachers gain an excellent understanding of why cheating occurs, it becomes easy to come up with intervention methods
Cheating can be avoided if teachers understand why students do it and other contributing factors.
Cheating is inevitable but controllable.
"Today, between 75%-98% of college students studied in an annual survey reported having cheated in high school. So, if cheating is occurring on such large a scale, is it just inevitable (Anderman)?"
I agree with this argument since I believe that it is convincing. The percentage of students who claim to have cheated is massive, but there must be continuous efforts to ensure that students do not cheat. Students develop the habit of cheating, and once they realize the instant results, it becomes difficult to adjust to self-sufficiency and understanding. It is easy to cheat and gain an advantage hence the high number of students engaged in the practice. From my own experience, I have seen students cheating using phones and small papers filled with class notes and equations. Due to peer pressure, other students will pick up the habit since they see others doing it successfully. It is therefore almost impossible to entirely eradicate cheating, but the situation can still be managed.
In my opinion, I would say that students can avoid cheating if they prioritized their time. Time is a valuable factor and wasting it makes students scramble at the last minute whereby the urge to cheat develops. Students should take time early on to go through their assignments or study materials to identify any clarifications needed. If any questions arise, they can ask the instructor or teacher. Teachers are there to support students and guide the learning process. Teachers will give students a second chance to improve to avoid the tension that comes with failure. If teachers are willing to provide a second chance, students will not be too scared of failing on the first occasion. If failing can be used as a learning process, students will not have the massive pressure to cheat their way to high grades. Failure is part of the learning process, and hence teachers should manage it effectively. Teachers can hold one-on-one meetings with the students to understand why they performed poorly in a particular subject area. Teachers will advise students on how to improve without the need to cheat. Some instructors will give students sample questions so that they may develop an idea of what to expect in the final exams. These are ways of preparing the student not to panic when exams approach. The chances of failure reduce drastically when the students are adequately prepared. When they know that they are well-prepared for everything, students will not have the urge to cheat to get good results.
Teachers can also help by ensuring that student learning is assessed relevantly. When the results come down to a single grade, students will value the final score more than the actual education and understanding. Teachers should introduce a system where students are required to demonstrate their knowledge of a particular subject matter.
Students should be educated on academic cheating and given a second chance to improve.
Different goals and objectives motivate students.
"Research indicates that students who experience classrooms where extrinsic goals are common are more likely to cheat. Not all students have these goals. Some students are motivated by the real desire to learn (Anderman)."
I agree that some students are focused on getting real knowledge from their studies rather than just passing the exams and completing assignments on time. These students pursue the mastering of the study material rather than the instant success of achieving high grades. One student could be studying chemistry to pass the test while the other seeks to understand the concepts to help him or her advance in a specific area. For example, one might study chemistry to assist them in developing drugs to fight cancer. Such an individual knows that understanding the inner details is an essential asset in the success his or her future career, and hence they will study hard. Other people might require a high grade in chemistry, among other disciplines, to join a given profession. Such an individual will rarely be tested on the skills gained in chemistry, and hence they lack the motivation to learn and understand the material. They could be tempted to cheat to improve their chances of getting a job. Therefore, the motivation lies in the intended use of the education. I have noticed that a similar trend is replicated in school whereby students who take technical courses are highly committed to researching to understand various things. The students are focused on mastering their study materials. These courses require people with actual know-how rather than degrees and certificates. When the focus is on the practical expertise of the student, cheating becomes useless since demonstrations are needed. Educators should use appropriate strategies to champion the adoption of mastery goals rather than extrinsic goals.
I was taking Math 41, and I motivated myself that I was going to get a decent grade. I ended up getting an F, and I failed because I did not master the study material. Failure to master the study material made me look for ways to help in improving my chances such as cheating. I would cheat by using a calculator, something that was prohibited in Math 41. I have now set my targets on getting an excellent grade this semester in math. Now I have switched to doing the sample questions until I accurately master the expressions instead of using the calculator.
Teachers can adopt various approaches to ensuring students have mastery of goals instead of extrinsic goals to minimize their chances of cheating. Some students are ambitious and driven by the goal to understand and apply the study material instead of scoring high grades (Anderman).
They should make sure that exams and assignments require students to demonstrate knowledge and mastery of the content rather than memorizing the facts.
Teachers should allow students to redo tests when they fail to demonstrate mastery of content since the primary aim is to assist the student's learning and understanding. The opportunity also helps in reducing the pressure from tests that encourage students to cheat. Redoing is also repetition which helps in internalizing the concepts and mastering the study material.
High stakes one-time assignments should not be utilized. They create a state of tension since failing such a test is a significant issue. When faced with such a situation, some stud...
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