Thursday, January 26, 2012
Another semester has come and gone at James Logan High School, but as some celebrate the payoff of the effort they have put into their schoolwork, others are reaping the benefits of work that is not their own. Students at Logan are advised that cheating will not be tolerated, but is the warning working?
The Logan handbook defines cheating as, “taking the work, words, ideas, and/or efforts of another and presenting them as one’s own or providing one’s own work to be presented as another's.” There are also consequences in place to discourage cheating.
However, whether it is through electronic assistance, answers on a hand, or good old fashioned peripheral vision, there is no doubt that it is easier than ever for students to display academic dishonesty. In grade school, children are usually taught that cheating is wrong, so what is the reasoning behind cheating at a high school level?
“If I can get away with it, why not?” said an AP senior, who has admitted to cheating on more than one occasion, “I didn’t feel bad because I didn’t get caught. People who cheat are essentially just trying to get by.” It is true that honors and advanced placement classes are more rigorous than other classes at Logan. With an extra GPA point at stake, there is an added incentive to get an A.
It isn’t only AP students who cheat. “I do cheat on tests, and I’m proud of it,” said a student with a regular course load this year. “I’ll take pictures of the book with my phone and look at them during my test, or I’ll have other people write down the answers for me.”
When asked why they cheat, many students accredit their academic dishonesty to the amount of work they are expected to accomplish. Some argue that teachers, parents, and colleges are expecting more than ever – and sometimes more than is possible. In a sea of expectations, they view cheating as just another way to keep their head above water.
Cheating has even become a way for some kids to make a little extra cash. “A friend needed to do these worksheets for class; I agreed to take a little money and do it for her because I had already finished mine,” said one student. According to her, the going rate changes depending on the difficulty of the assignment.
Although there are clearly students who cheat at Logan, it is certainly not everyone. “I’m not really cheating this year because I have more time and I’m more prepared, so I don’t have to” said one senior.
Another student gave a different reasoning for staying academically honest, “It’s not worth it because the people I would cheat off of might be more wrong than I am.”
There are time management skills and tutoring opportunities available for students to keep their grades up the academically honest way. It is just a matter of whether or not students choose to take advantages of those opportunities, or take the “fast route” and cheat.
Logan’s stance is clear, “Cheating will not be tolerated, and will result in a “zero” for the assignment as well as disciplinary action.” But apparently that is not stopping everyone, as one student walking out of their third period final this past week can attest to. “I think I did okay; I cheated on that…”
Cheating at the school appears to be in no danger of being eradicated any time soon. One student seemed to sum up a prevalent notion at Logan when she said, “It’s available. It’s no big deal. It’s like casual cheating.”