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Catching cheaters before they cheat

Studying is the building block of learning. Students need to have better study habits and not resort to cheating.

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Studying is the building block of learning. Students need to have better study habits and not resort to cheating.

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Parents and teachers pressure students into believing that grades are more important for future success than work habits. This leads some to believe that it necessary to cheat to ensure a passing grade. Students sneakily continue to rely on their notes during their tests.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist and author states, “When students cheat on exams, it’s because our school system values grades more than student’s value learning.” Some students become overly stressed over having perfect grades and don’t accept anything less. Others cheat due to lack of motivation and laziness. Failing now does not mean you will fail in the future; students tend to believe that when you don’t get the desirable grade one could hope for, it becomes harder to achieve more in adulthood. Bill Gates shared that he had failed exams in multiple subjects while his friend passed. Years later, his friend became an engineer at Microsoft and Gates became the owner even though he had failed. While good grades are preferable, it is better to try and fail than to cheat and succeed.

Nocheating.org, a website about cheating, states, “Grades, rather than education, have become the major focus of many students. Cheating occurs due to stress, a heavy workload, and unclear rules or lack of discipline.” Teachers at Patterson Mill should review page 61 of the agenda with the students periodically throughout the year. This page defines cheating and lays out its consequences. Before every exam, teachers should re-read this page aloud. A high school teacher at PMHS anonymously shares that, “Our school needs to update and enforce the academic dishonesty page in the planner, since students are finding loopholes in the current rules. Our school is not good at catching and disciplining students who cheat and that needs to change in ways such as teaching students integrity.” The agenda should give more rules so students would know the consequences of their actions and would find it harder to cheat. During professional development, they should talk about ways teachers can prevent cheating to ensure students use their own knowledge, this would decrease cheating significantly.

Students who choose to cheat do so in many ways. Some students aren’t as careful and use Siri during exams. Other students write on their arms and legs and cover it with clothing. The most common way students cheat is through the use of sticky notes or going to the bathroom to look up answers on their phones. Teachers should not allow students to go to their lockers or bathroom, unless it is a medical emergency, until their test is turned in. The students should always use cover sheets and their books and pencil cases should be placed at the side of the room. Phones ought to be collected and placed in a basket on the teacher’s desk. These precautions would make it nearly impossible to cheat, which would make students study more and rely on their own knowledge.

According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, integrity is being honest and having strong moral principles. Cheating students show dishonesty and unfairness towards their other classmates and to themselves. If a teacher catches a student cheating, their peers and teachers would find it hard to trust them. If no one catches the student, it may become a habit to rely on their notes in order to get a good grade. Having and maintaining integrity is important towards success in school, employment, and lasting friendships.

Students resort to cheating for reasons such as stress, pressure, or laziness. Cheating on tests is serious and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Rules and disciplinary action must be enforced and applied at Patterson Mill as more students depend on cheating to get desirable grades.

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Catching cheaters before they cheat