Students Get A+ for Easy Cheating

By Goode, Stephen | Insight on the News, September 20, 1999 | Go to article overview

Students Get A+ for Easy Cheating


Goode, Stephen, Insight on the News


Three-quarters of all high-school and college students admit to cheating on tests and papers. Not only do they cheat, but they justify their behavior as business as usual.

The figures are shocking and more than a bit depressing. According to a 1998 survey of nearly 21,000 California students by the Josepheson Institute of Ethics in Marina del Rey, 70 percent of high-school students (and 54 percent of middleschool students) said they'd cheated on an exam in the last 12 months, an increase of 6 percent since the survey two years prior.

It hasn't always been that way. Surveys of college students in the 1940s showed that 20 percent of them admitted to having cheated in high school, according to Stephen Davis, a psychology professor at Emporia State University in Kansas. The steep increase in cheating in high schools and colleges didn't happen until the late 1960s and early 1970s, when it fluctuated between 75 and 98 percent of college students. The rates haven't fallen since.

Some things have changed, though. In times past, less-academically talented students were most likely to cheat, the ones for whom book learning was a chore and classroom duties dull fare. Now the best students are doing the cheating -- those most likely to go to college and consequently eager to line up A's and B's on their report cards. A poll of 3,123 students on the 1998 list of Who's Who Among American High School Students -- the "best" of the nation's 16- to 18-year-olds -- found 80 percent of them admitting to cheating in some form to get to the top of their class. Of those who cheated, 95 percent said they hadn't been caught, and a majority declared that they were untroubled by their behavior.

Also changed is the gender of cheaters. Thirty years ago, the vast majority of students who admitted to cheating were males. In most contemporary studies, little or no difference exists between the numbers of dishonest males and females.

The good students cheat because they fear losing their competitive advantage, says Davis. "Cheating in high school is for grades" students tell Davis. "Cheating in college is for a career." Others have still more bizarre rationales. "Ten minutes of cheating is better than two hours of studying" one student said, evidently expecting Davis to agree or at least understand his point of view. Another justified cheating because "I feel good that I'm going to get a good grade."

Many students justify their own easy attitude toward dishonesty by pointing to well-known figures in government, sports and other facets of life whose ethics are questionable. "Integrity is in increasingly short supply" says Tom Lickona, director of the Center for the 4th and 5th R's, a character-education foundation at the State University of New York at Cortland.

The cheating doesn't stop with high school or college. Employers increasingly complain about resumes from job applicants that are filled with misinformation and outright lies about a person's abilities and experience, Lickona tells Insight. He cites a study made at SUNY-Cortland 10 years ago that found that most students there regarded cheating as morally wrong. More than half said they wouldn't cheat even if they knew they wouldn't get caught. "That was the good news," says Lickona. "The bad news was that the other half said they wouldn't hesitate to cheat if they knew they wouldn't get caught."

Many students who cheat do so in traditional ways, familiar to anyone who has gone to school. Sixty-seven percent of the high-achieving Who's Who students said they had cheated by copying someone else's homework, for example, while 40 percent said they'd cheated on a quiz or a test.

But the computer age has spawned another kind of dishonesty: Students now download ready-made term papers from online sources. Kenneth Sahr, who created the Website School Sucks that provides such term papers says his site averages 80,000 hits a day. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Students Get A+ for Easy Cheating
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.