Cheating: It’s Not Worth It!

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[ot-caption title=”The Pine Crest Honor Code is in every classroom as a reminder to sign it at the bottom of assignments. (via Samantha Meade, junior)”]

Cheating in school is the act of behaving dishonestly and unfairly in order to gain an advantage on tests, quizzes, or homework assignments.  Additionally, students can cheat by turning in work as their own, when really they had peers or family members do the work for them. A less common form of cheating is sharing work with another person; even though this may be done out of an act of kindness and assistance, it is still cheating. Throughout high schools and colleges across the nation, several students cheat, which typically results in serious consequences.

In 2011, the Josephson Institute of Ethics surveyed more than 40,000 high school students and found that “A majority of students (59 percent) admitted cheating on a test during the last year, with 34 percent doing it more than two times. One in three admitted they used the Internet to plagiarize an assignment.”  Although most students know that cheating  is wrong, many still take the risk in order to get the grade. Receiving a “good” grade becomes more important to these students than actually studying and doing the work in order to achieve a solid grade on their own.

By copying someone else’s work, the student does not obtain the same knowledge that he or she would if they did the work on their own. Cheaters gain an unreliable reputation when they get caught, and their credibility on future assignments may not be trusted. Not only does acting immorally in the classroom hurt students’ academic standing and chances for college, but it will eventually have a negative impact on their image in their community.

Pine Crest offers opportunities to help foster positive ethical actions in the community. For example, on every assignment at Pine Crest, students are required to write the Honor Pledge at the bottom of the page: “I have neither given nor received help on this work.” Hastily scribbled at the bottom of the page before handing in an assessment, this pledge has become second nature to most students as it is required from the early years of the lower school all the way through 12th grade; however, it is important to remember that this is a binding code. Not only do students have to provide the pledge, but they have to include their signature as well, taking responsibility and sealing the promise that they have done the assignment with the integrity it deserves.

At PC, the Honor Court, comprised of seven students ranging from all grade levels, evaluates students’ integrity in alleged cheating incidents. The Honor Court consists of one freshman, two sophomores, two juniors, and two senior members along with several administrative faculty members. Their job is to review cases of students who  breech the Honor Code, which can range from directly cheating on tests to plagiarizing from the Internet.

There is a distinct difference between cheating and helping.  Trying to assist a person in understanding a concept is something one can do without giving his own work to copy. Instead of choosing the easy way out of this situation, students can try to guide the person in the right direction rather than just handing them the answers. Remember, cheating is a two-way street.

Not only can cheating affect students’ lives in the classroom, but it can also affect their chances of getting into the colleges of their choice. Often times, a cheater’s reputation is tarnished even if it only happened one time.  Sophomore Rodrigo Torrejón explains, “If you cheated once, you could’ve cheated several other times. This applies to single and multiple infractions.”

Cheating is a large problem across American high schools.  High pressure sometimes leads students to act immorally.  It is important to remember, however, that the consequences that can follow a cheating infraction are not worth the grade.

Sources: ABC News