Cheating Reflects Education System


Students cheat because the education system values grades more than it does learning.

Cheating. Is it a serious crime or a strategic graduation requirement? Many high school students think the latter.

“If you mean that copying someone’s homework is cheating, then yes, we all cheat,” senior Hannah McMillan said when referring to the commodity of cheating amongst students.

It seems as if this generation of adolescents has missed the mark when it comes to academic motivation. As classes get more difficult, instead of striving for excellence as administrators recommend, students learn to excel on their own terms; in most cases this includes cheating.

“I don’t cheat on the important things like tests,” McMillan said. “It’s more of the day to day assignments that I don’t have time to do.”

Instead of labeling teenagers as unmotivated and dishonest, the reasoning for cheating must first be considered. Many individuals, particularly those who experienced the horrors of high school academia ten or more years ago, do not realize that most students do not cheat because they are lazy. Cheating is a result of desperation; teachers assign hours of homework daily, not accounting for the athletics, extracurricular activities, volunteer hours and studying the students also must participate in before exhaustion sets in. Students cheat because the education system values grades more than it does learning.

Cheating is a culmination of dishonesty and unfairness; it should not ever be considered acceptable. However, people need to realize that while the students are in the wrong, the education system is also out. Schools must abandon the old fashioned ideas of “law and order” to fully understand the motives of desperate students. American schools claim they are striving to adapt college-like systems regarding proficiency grading, homework and class productivity, yet due to confusion and stubbornness of many teachers, classroom expectations seem to remain the same.

If high schools want to truly prepare students for college experiences, they need to focus less on assignments and more on promoting study habits and independent learning. Students will learn to communicate with one another in ways that used to be considered cheating, but really is simply group studying. They will develop lifelong skills of independence and will be forced to take ownership for their own academics and learning. The concept of cheating will dissipate as the students will either strive to succeed or experience failure.

Cheating is dishonest and corrupt, but in some cases, completely necessary to survive. If the majority of high school students believe cheating plays a key role in their academic success, then the education system has much bigger problems than the rise of cheating within its classrooms.