Say It Isn't So! Students Cheating in Our Schools?

by Carol Chandler-Wood

Recently, the media reported on the percentage of students who are cheating in schools in order to receive their desired grades. As an educator, this was an alarming report to hear, so I began to research for more information on this topic. So much information was located that it is impossible to include it all in this article. Therefore, the topic of American students cheating in schools will be presented in a series of articles.

Following is a sample of the information located on this topic from many scholarly sources. Additionally, websites such as and provided informative survey results.

Interesting and Shocking Facts According to Many Recent Surveys of Students

  • 60% of students admit to cheating on a test during the past year
  • 33% said they used the Internet to plagiarize an assignment.
  • Of high achieving A/B high school students who plan to attend college, 80% admitted to cheating to get to the top of their class
  • More than half the students surveyed said that they do not think cheating is a big deal
  • 95% of cheaters say they were not caught
  • 38% of students believe it is sometimes necessary to cheat, plagiarize or lie in order to succeed.
  • 24% of the teens think cheating on a test is acceptable at some level justified by their personal desire to succeed.
  • 80% of honors and AP students cheat on a regular basis due to the pressure to succeed.
  • 37% of male athletes and 20% of female athletes surveyed said it was proper for a coach to instruct a player to fake an injury. 43% of boys and 22% of girls surveyed said it was proper for a coach to teach basketball players how to illegally hold and push. This type of coaching leads to student cheating in the classroom.
  • There is widespread use by high school and college students of the drugs Adderall and Ritalin, normally prescribed to people diagnosed with attention deficit disorder. Students without the disorder find them easy to obtain legally or illegally from students sharing their prescription or selling pills for profit. Some college students will trade marijuana for Adderall!
  • The use of stimulants is on the rise in high school, and more and more kids are using them to take the SAT.
  • According to one study, less than 2 percent of all academic cheaters get caught, and only half of them get punished. So, there is almost a 99 percent chance of getting away with it.
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