A Cheating Epidemic

Leily Zhu, News Editor

“Cheater cheater pumpkin eater.” This is the children’s rhyme that was recited when we were younger to tease someone who had cheated the game we were playing. As children turn into young adults, the rhyme dwindles out of use, but the purpose of the rhyme persists.

Cheating is no longer a blameful part of a game. It’s not a game at all. Academic dishonesty is one of the most prevalent issues in education across the United States.

Donald McCabe at Rutgers University surveyed 24,000 students from 70 different high schools and 95% of the surveyors said they had participated in some form of cheating. These include plagiarism, knowledge of questions and answers previous to taking the test, looking off someone else’s work, and any act of using another’s work as your own. These acts happen every single day in school environments.

There is a fine line on the premise of cheating, and many who engage in the act don’t believe they have overstepped that line. Others simply deny the fact they had ever cheated, while still others develop excuses and elaborate reasons for having cheated in order to maintain a decent reputation and ease their conscience.

Acts of academic dishonesty are not performed solely by slackers and struggling students, but instead, they are increasingly performed by students of high achievement and high intelligence. Pressures mount from both the parents and the individuals themselves to get good grades, attend a top rated school, and be at the top of their class.

Fear of failing can drive incredible humans to act in unethical manners. The IB and AP programs are extremely rigorous programs, set to challenge students and test their knowledge and capabilities.

Straight-A students may now be receiving B’s and C’s. For these students, it can be excruciating to see these lower letter grades. To halt the dropping of GPAs, these top grade students can begin to view cheating as a way out of the hole they have dug with their grades. Numbers start to overpower morals.

Immediately after being introduced into the IB program, new IB teachers are cautioned of cheaters within their classes. How unfortunate is it that members of the IB program, students who are supposed to be viewed of high prestige and intelligence, are instead a group notorious for cheating?
The various rigorous programs at school and education itself are to better the knowledge of students and prepare them for their lives.

In the words of IB English teacher Rhonda Betzold, “It is not worth it to cheat. The goal is not to get the numbers or ranks. It’s to become a better human.”

When you cheat, you only cheat yourself. You cheat your future. It may help your grade short term, but in the long run, there are zero benefits to cheating. In the end, there will be no existence of pride when it comes to a past of cheating to get ahead in academics. It harms your conscience, your reputation, your gaining of knowledge, and among many other important things, your integrity.