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Cheating can be defined as the act of being dishonest .This is a problem that is common in American colleges and a large number of students have admitted that they do cheat in examinations. Approximately 60% of college business students and 64% of non-business students admitted to cheating (Skimkin & Alexander 443). Cheating includes copying from different exams or tests, using crib notes, copying from other students during exams, getting help or giving help to someone during an exam, or even getting assignments and term papers done by others. The behavior of cheating can be traced back a few decades among schools and college students. Although cheating has been researched as early as the 1970s, it is a behavior that was not common in schools and colleges before that time because of the strict rules and consequence that were associated with it. Most of the research was based on identifying students who cheat and coming up with new methods in order to stop them from doing that (Philip, Section Data and Methods). However, the practice has become more common and widespread in Americaï¿½s schools and colleges, because the way that students cheat has changed a lot and there is a belief that such changes are related to the uncontrolled developments in the use of the internet. However, nowadays, cheating has become not just a common problem in college. It is also learned behavior that has serious implications for a studentï¿½s future, and this problem is spreading more and more widely. Indeed, Cheating is a very easy practice that has consequences that may last for a long time.
Pressure to do well and succeed
The desire to succeed and do well both at school and later in life is been considered as one of the primary causes and motivators which makes a student cheat in school. Students have the readiness and the desire to do well in school, impress colleagues, parents, and achieve academic excellence for them to be at better position of securing a good job after college. In fact, a number of studies indicate that there is a strong relationship between ï¿½cheatingï¿½ at college and ï¿½unethicalï¿½ at work (Skimkin & Alexander 443).
Students perceive cheating as a part of their culture while in college. This is a factor that affects the behavior of students in school and has been documented as among the motivators to cheating. One student interviewed by the ABC news commented that in college, students are not learning anything, they just learn the system of cheating and committing to it (ABC News ). The fact that even higher performers students in college do cheat in exams encourages and affects the attitude of other students in a negative manner. However, lower performers feel that if the better performing students do cheat, it would be stupid not to cheat and get better grades like them.
Another factor that drives student to cheating is the pressure of the workload they are given. Students interviewed by ABC news and argued that they are given large workloads within deadlines that they are unable to complete the work during the given time. College students who participate in athletics are more affected by this issue, because they need more time for classwork and practice in the fields (ABC News). Because of the workload, college students are driven to use cheating as a tool to assist them in completing their term papers on time and ensuring that they do perform well (Maduka 34). Indeed, the pressure for getting good grades is high among college students. However, students believe that grades do determine their future and if they fail, they will lose the chance to get better job opportunities or even being without a formal job. Because of this, College students trying to find out any means or tools that can lead them to achieve the expected grades in order to get their dream jobs.
Cheating is easy to do
Students keep coming up with new ways to cheat to ensure that they will not be caught in the act. Various factors have made the practice become easy among college students and they find it less effort to cheat than having to go through large documents and processes to complete an assignment. Between these factors there are small penalties for cheating, presentation of opportunities and laziness among some students.
In most college and universities, the penalty of being caught in cheating in a test or assignment is getting a zero or failing on it. These penalties are small and in the same time are considered nonexistent and fail to stop student from cheating. Furthermore, before the student is punished for the act of cheating, a professor has to ensure that the student did cheat in an assignment or test which is something that is difficult to prove. Most professors do not put much effort or bother to create an environment free of cheating. Moreover, when spotting students cheating, professors will force to speak out loud. Therefore they would rather drop the charges then exposed them in an open hearing. Because of this, cheating has become easy to do and easy to forgive by professors. (Skimkin & Alexander 443).
Another issue that has promoted cheating is the presentation of new opportunities such as the internet. In the current technological environment, students have access to online materials and this makes it easier for them to have the information they need. Students find it easier to download and copy from materials on the internet and cite them as their own pieces of work. Student also can sneak in with their phones to classrooms and use them to do all the work they need. Most Students argue that it does not matter if one cheats on a paper. What matter is that if one is able to prove to the jury that he is not guilty at all and ensure that he is free (Richad).
Students have developed a lazy attitude towards ensuring honesty in academic work. The case of cheating has made students lazy and at the same time careless in doing the tests and examinations. When students know that they can easily get their assignments done, or copy the content of their work from internet resources, they are more likely to go for such short way to do it. Better still, students are likely to cheat because they can easily go unnoticed or be forgiven by their lecturers.
Lack of Knowledge and Interest in the Subject
Much research has been done on the differences between non-cheaters and cheaters and has singled out a lack of interest in the subject as among the factors that can promote cheating. Students have different goals while in college. Students with the goal of mastering a subject and knowing ever thing about it are more likely to be honest in doing their tests and assignments. On the other hand, students with different goals are more likely to be involved in cheating activities. In fact, many students choose to take a number of certain courses because these courses can help them to be successful, and for these reasons, they make sure to use any method that may lead them to achieve their life goals. (Jordan 23).
In a study done in the universities of the United Kingdom, results shows that students with goals of developing their knowledge are less likely to cheat. Such students get to an exam room well prepared and without the fear of failing. However, students with external and obvious reasons such as securing a better job, career development and improving their living standards are less likely to work more and prepare well in their examinations. These kinds of students depict a higher level of cheating behaviors (McCabe, Butterfield & Trevino 3).
These factors are also more associated with plagiarism. Students who have less interest in mastering something go to simpler and shorter methods to ensure that they do well in their exams. To make sure that they give the best answers, they find solutions to tests through online websites and directly copy them as their own materials. In the past, due to the lack of better rules to distinguish what constitute plagiarism, students were able to**** plagiarize with ease. Nowadays, many universities and colleges have set strict rules on that issue and emphasize academic honesty and its benefits (Park 483)
Students who cheat in their tests and assignments do more harm to their careers than good. Although it is common that most students who cheat in examinations do well in their courses and go like unnoticed, research has shown that such students have problems while at their work place. Such behaviors, when allowed to develop, may carry on to later in life. Because such students are used to cheating, they are more likely to cheat while at work and throughout their life. This is due to the reason that such students do graduate from their colleges with little information and understanding of their work places.
The rough development and spread of the behavior in colleges is alarming and there is need to carry out more research in order to find what the best methods to decrease the issue are. However, students should ensure to be well prepared before exams as this will give them the confidence not to cheat. This is through ensuring to manage their time well through a good arrangement of time to important activities ï¿½First things firstï¿½ to avoid being caught not well prepare in tests or exams because this will create the attraction of cheating. As a student, one should also remain focused all through their studies. When student face a problem of solving certain issues as regards exams or assignments, a student should keep in mind not to give up and try more and more through researches and ask for instructorï¿½s help as will because that will help them to learn and make them able to deal with such situation in future. Moreover, report any attempts of cheating will also be a useful tip towards decreasing the issue. Finally, ensuring that a solution to this behavior is achieved will be very important in ensuring that education standards are upheld.