Cheating the cheaters

Lahari Ramini, News editor

Our society has created a path of success for every individual: go to school, get your diploma, get a good job, and become successful. And while this has worked in the past, now more than ever, schools have gotten harder, and people have gotten smarter. Because of this, some students have resorted to cheating.

Whether it is on a single test in school or the officially-administered SAT, the predominance of cheating has only grown. An eye-opening study by the Open Education Database found that a staggering 70% of high school students had admitted to cheating. So, who is to blame: the students or their education?

In the case of Florida student Kamilah Campbell, the answer to this question becomes very uncertain.

Campbell was accused of cheating on the SAT. She took the test last March, as a benchmark, and scored a 900. Seven months later, and after some intense studying, she took it again and scored a 1230.

Typically, a 330-point score improvement is uncommon, and for this reason, the College Board (who administers the SAT) sent her a letter stating that they voided her scores.

Did Kamilah cheat or not? Further investigation found that many of her answers were close to those who sat in proximity to her, but that wasn’t enough evidence. Subsequently, the College Board gave her a choice: retake the test or let the score get voided.

“Instead of celebrating her and her achievement, they are trying to assassinate her character, and we won’t stand for that,” Campbell’s lawyer, Ben Crump, said. “She won’t be retaking the test. She stands by her word.”

Who do we believe: the student or the people that administer the test? And if Kamilah did not actually cheat, isn’t the College Board reaping her of any chance of a future by this accusation? If she did cheat, then why?

The problem not only lies in the cheater but also in a society that always pushes people to be the best, no matter the cost. Often times, a cheater will not study and because of the consequence of a potential bad grade, they will resort to cheating.

However, if caught, they are subject to dire consequences. In the case of Campbell, it could lead to the destruction of her future.

In my own life, cheating is a scary reality. As a student in the rigorous IB Diploma Program, there have been many infamous cheating scandals, and I am forced to know that there are people around me who aren’t honest.

Whether it be a zero, a phone call to parents, or potentially even suspension, cheating is never the answer. We need to realize that getting one bad grade is not the end of the world. Cheating is not just one bad grade. It is the end of a career, possibly the end of one’s reputation. It could ruin a life.

And for one bad grade, that’s not worth it. It isn’t worth to diminish your character, your morals, just to do well on one test. We need to learn to study, be prepared and ask for help when needed. If the worst case occurs, we should take pride in failing with honor, rather than cheating to win.