Types of Cheating and Why Some Students Cheat

by Carol Chandler-Wood

Student Cheating

To expand on last month’s article on disturbing facts about student cheating, this month I will focus on the types of cheating and why some students cheat. Next month the focus of my article will be on the consequences of cheating and intervention methods for educators and parents to utilize in order to greatly curtail the incident of student cheating.

Types of Cheating

  • Copying homework of other information from another student
  • Plagiarizing by downloading information or entire papers from the Internet
  • Cell phone cheating by text-messaging answers to other students, taking a picture of the test and e-mailing it to another student, or downloading information from the Internet
  • Getting test questions, answers, or a paper from a student in a previous period or school year
  • Bringing a permitted graphing calculator into a test loaded with answer material which was previously input into the computer portion of the calculator
  • Recording answers before tests with MP3 voice recording devices.
  • Downloading cheat sheets onto the music players and hiding them as song-lyric text files.
  • Instant Messaging while completing homework is a way of dividing the work amongst each other to insure it all gets done

Why Students Cheat

  • They see it in every facet of life: politics, business, home, and school
  • Collaborative or team academic environments like the Internet are making the definition of cheating even murkier.
  • Pressure to succeed in a highly competitive world
  • Some students such as those with a high GPA are under so much pressure to maintain high grades and get into the best colleges and are smart enough to figure out how to cheat without getting caught.
  • There is an attitude by teens of ethical relativism and rationalization of whatever actions serve one’s immediate needs and purposes are justified
  • Young people have no real perception that activities of cheating on the internet have an impact in “real world” situations
  • Teens are disconnected in regards to ethical behavior and downloading or sharing music.
  • It is accepted as a normal part of school life.
  • Athletes must maintain a minimum GPA to stay on the team
  • Major male sports seem to be spawning a win-at-any-cost mentality that carries over into the classroom. Athletes understand the minimum GPA factor and the time management issue of fitting studying in amid the practices and games so they often succumb to cheating because there is a mental attitude that it is not that big a deal.
  • So many of students’ friends are cheating that they decide they would be odd if they were not doing so, and also tend to believe that if they are the one honest student, they are going to get the lower grades or the lower test scores. They have adopted a “cheat or be cheated” attitude.
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