Who cheats and why: the pressured student

In the past, a student who was struggling with school work was most likely to cheat. These students felt pressure to do better and/or they just didn’t see cheating as immoral. Today, cheating is often done by seemingly “good” students as well. Why?

Meet Mary. Mary is “smart” according to all her friend and her teachers. She plays varsity basketball, volunteers twice a week at the local nursing home, is a high level violinist and is in charge of cooking for herself and her brother since both parents work late. This Thursday, she has a playoff game and on Friday she has a paper due and two tests in honors classes. Even though she tried to budget her time well earlier in the week, she still feels overwhelmed. When her friend tells Mary she can tell Mary most the questions on the test because she took it today, Mary is grateful for the break. Knowing what is on the test will help to keep her grade point average up, something she needs if she is going to get into the college of her choice. Mary isn’t “happy” about cheating, but she also feels she works too hard, all the time. In her mind, it’s not as if she is really deceiving anyone: if she didn’t have so much to do, she could easily ace the test.

Does Mary sound like anyone you know? Chances are, she does. Students are under more pressure than ever before. Work loads are high and the average student is having a hard time handling all that is asked. 

Put in the added pressure of college (colleges just see grades and not HOW you got them), and you end up with students like Mary. In fact, keeping up good grades is another one of the main reasons students cheat. When the focus is on the grade, rather than mastering a skill, students are more likely to cheat: it’s an easier means to the end goal.

What could Mary have done to ease her burdens? What would you have done if you were Mary?

Post Question:

Do you think students have too much work? Do you think it justifies cheating?

Answer the post question here

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