A survey of over 24,000 students was taken, and the results were shocking. It showed that 73% of the students engaged in cheating and 58% engaged in plagiarism. These numbers seem pretty alarming, and on deeper analysis, 3 important reasons have been found to be the basis to “why students cheat”.
1. Immediate rewards:
Most students don’t wish to toil for months and weeks, studying hard, working into the night. They want instant gratification, and unfortunately, since they can’t score well with just a night’s worth of study, they begin to resort to cheating. Cheating is that easy shortcut which provides them the grades they dream of, without hard-work. And society rewards only students with good grades, only the best students get places in the best internships and so on.
So the common logic of a student is “If I cheat and get an A without being caught, I will get rewarded by society and what I’m doing is tiny, compared to what politicians do” and most students are ashamed of telling their family any grade below A, this makes the student, have to study all the time. But most people don’t want to study all the time, they want to enjoy life too. This mentality “what I’m doing is tiny when compared to other worse things”, this pressure to perform, and the want to enjoy all the time, but still get rewards, leads to cheating.
2. Inability to research:
This starts at high-school. When interviewed, many college professors assert that students aren’t taught to research properly in high-school. Many students commit the offense of plagiarism not with the intention to copy some other person’s words and work, but simply because they didn’t know how to write a research paper. Much of high-school is consumed in teaching students to prepare for standardized tests. This results in students not knowing how to research or paraphrase, and not just simply copy and paste the author’s words.
Other students confess that they don’t have confidence in their own thoughts. They feel “The author has written it in a much more eloquent way, my interpretation may be wrong.” Eventually voicing out their fears “Would the teacher even want to read my interpretation, when the author knows so much more.” Not to mention the emergence of websites like Edubirdie, the custom essay writing website, which effectively curbs what is left of students’ creativity.
The problem is that students aren’t able to think and solve problems for themselves when they do, they take up others’ ideas. The faculty must look at this issue, with a sensitive viewpoint and instead of cracking down on students, they should teach and help the student think on his own because that will solve the issue.
3. Cheating because of circumstances:
Although this is rare, one cannot expel the possibility of a student being mentally affected because of the situation at his home. It could be his girlfriend cheating on him or his parents getting divorced or having a really close relative pass away or in extremely rare situations, it could be all of these or some other difficulty.
A teacher once said that when she caught a student cheating multiple times, she tried to see if such a situation was plaguing the student, and to her shock, the student had so many problems at home, that it was no surprise he ended up cheating. She, instead of chastising him, chose to help him, and teach him sacrificing her own time. This gesture gave the student a positive and he graduated out of university with good grades.
Not too many faculties do that, but teachers and professors must do that. Only when they do, can they truly understand what is troubling the student and effectively control cheating? Cheating cannot be excused, but identifying the underlying reason can truly help in being what can be a permanent solution, because more often than not, cheating isn’t planned, it is an impulse.
I, Joseph Sartori, began my writing career in England as a journalist. Now I work as a freelance writer.