Everybody cheats, cheaters tell the San Francisco Chronicle. It’s no big deal.
Well, not to them anyhow.
Not only is cheating on the rise nationally – a 2005 Duke University study found that 75 percent of high school students admit to cheating, and if you include copying another person’s homework, that number climbs to 90 percent – but there has also been a cultural shift in who cheats and why.
It used to be that cheating was done by the few, and most often they were the weaker students who couldn’t get good grades on their own. There was fear of reprisal and shame if apprehended. Today, there is no stigma left. It is accepted as a normal part of school life, and is more likely to be done by the good students, who are fully capable of getting high marks without cheating. “It’s not the dumb kids who cheat,” one Bay Area prep school student told me. “It’s the kids with a 4.6 grade-point average who are under so much pressure to keep their grades up and get into the best colleges. They’re the ones who are smart enough to figure out how to cheat without getting caught.”
According to Denise Pope, a Stanford education professor, “Eighty percent of honors and AP students cheat on a regular basis.” Good students think they have to be perfect.
Athletes, only prone to cheating, believe in winning at all costs.
Some of the cheating involves sharing homework answers, which is encouraged by all the collaborative projects students are assigned. Students think they’re helping each other by “networking.” They don’t see it as cheating.
Technology has made cheating easier: Students may text-message answers to each other, copy questions with their cell phone camera, download formulas into their graphing calculator or turn in essays bought online. Often when students are caught, the punishment is light.
Suppose someone gets to the end of several hours of homework and it’s 10 p.m. and she still has an English paper to write. If she turns in nothing, she knows it’s a guaranteed zero. If she downloads a paper from the Internet, she might get caught and get a zero. But if she doesn’t get caught, she might get an A. So it seems worth it to many to turn in the plagiarized paper.
I don’t recall feeling a need to be perfect when I was in high school or college. I did feel a need to manage my time so I didn’t leave things to the last minute.
Via math teacher Darren, an ex-cheater.