To Cheat, or Not to Cheat?

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Patrick Angelo, Reporter

According to Google Dictionary, “Cheating is a dishonest or unfair action performed in order to gain an advantage, especially in a game or examination.” Cheating is often a moral gray area for students, and although they may think cheating is wrong, that doesn’t mean they won’t cheat. In fact, many admit to having cheated before.

A survey sent out to all GM sophomores, juniors, and seniors shows that 54.5 percent of respondents have cheated on a test and 69.7 percent of respondents have cheated on their homework. Out of those surveyed, 68 percent of students agreed that they think cheating is wrong.

So if they know it’s wrong, why do they cheat? Many consider cheating a necessary evil to succeed. One anonymous student said, “It is more important to pass than to be ethical.” Another student said they cheat, “because grades are quantified as scholarships. If checking an answer on a homework question means $10,000 off my college tuition then I will do it.” Many other students said they cheat because they are lazy or because they don’t care how they get the answers, as long as they get them.

Some students addressed the cheating “gray area” with their responses. “I only think it is ok to cheat on your homework. If you don’t know the information because it wasn’t clear in class, you have the right to find the information online or from somewhere else.” A different student said, “I think cheating is wrong because one who cheats will never actually learn anything. They will be dependent on the work of others, and when they don’t have anyone else’s work to go off of, they will have no idea of what to do.”

Studies have shown that people cheat because it makes their work easier and there are rarely any consequences. Many students believe if they cheat and don’t get caught they get rewarded with a good grade. Another reason students cheat is because they are unprepared for the research and studying they need to do in high school and college. Students aren’t being taught to paraphrase well, so many find it easier to just copy and paste.

Mr. Thompson, tenth grade English teacher, is clear on why he feels cheating is wrong. “Cheating is like lying, it takes away from your integrity as a person. If no one cheated life would be a lot easier.”

Cheating on school work is only one form of dishonest behavior. There are many types of cheating such as infidelity in a relationship and stealing, both of which are widely regarded as more severe than cheating on a test. Although one student commented that, “I would cheat on a test, but not on a girlfriend because that would be personally hurtful,” 15.8 percent of survey respondents admitted to cheating on their significant other.

Overall cheating is something almost all students have done, no matter if they think it is wrong. As young children, students are often taught that cheating is wrong, no matter the circumstances. However, as those students get older and their schoolwork gets harder, the prospect of cheating seems worth it, regardless of whether it is morally wrong.

So, if a student says they don’t cheat, chances are they have. And in the words of Mr. Thompson cheating and lying are one in the same.