A Rampant Problem With no Easy Solution

PC: Riley Solomon

PC: Riley Solomon

Simmie Brisman and Riley Solomon

Once students reach high school, expectations seem much higher. Because of the increased pressure of getting good grades, and the intense college preparation for juniors and seniors, students feel that they must cheat in order to receive a higher GPA. With the increasing amounts of technology available, cheating has become much easier in high schools around the world.

In fact, according to a Rutgers University poll of 24,000 high school students, 64% have cheated on tests, 58% have plagiarised and a whopping 95% have cheated in some other way.

Principal deMarrais expresses his views on the subject and says, “As principal, I’ve tried to create a safe environment for the students, yet there are some issues when we trust the students too much. This can cause us to be not as careful…when people are cheating.” He continues to explain that the faculty needs to find a perfect balance between student wellness and student grit.

In addition, while technology may be easier for the teachers, it made it way too easy for the students to cheat. Students can look at their notes when the teacher is not looking during exams, share documents with friends, and take a screenshot of the test to send to other students. Students agree that technology has made cheating on assignments much easier.

One anonymous student says, “When you are taking tests online, you can put your study guide behind it and switch off and on. I don’t rely on cheating, but I do it pretty often.”

Furthermore, while some students may not regularly cheat on assignments, their heavy loads of increasingly challenging work makes them feel like they need to cheat. Honors student or not, sometime cheating is just a force of habit from all of the stress.

Mr. DeMarrais has seen cases of this, and he says, “There are reasons where students may feel they have to cheat, like if the work is that hard that they are compelled to do so.”

Another anonymous student adds “I don’t cheat, but my grades are pretty bad so I probably would benefit from cheating.” He explains how he doesn’t really care about his grades, but when students do care cheating is understandable.

Some students cheat so often that it has become a normality for them. Multiple students have admitted to cheating on small homework assignments, as well as larger quizzes and tests. Cheating seems like the only option for them to do well in school, and once a student cheats it becomes even harder for them to stop. Cheating can lower their confidence and self respect.

If you walk through the halls of Pascack Hills it will not be hard to find someone who has cheated at least once on a graded assignment. If they say they have never cheated in their life, they are probably kidding themselves. Many Cowboys agree with this. One student says, “If there’s an opportunity to cheat, I’ll take it!”

If you do cheat on a test there are many horrible potential consequences. The punishments range from failing the class or assignment entirely, suspension, a bad academic reputation, or even legal consequences.

Ms. Horn, a history teacher at Pascack Hills says “over the years as I saw cheating becoming more prevalent, I changed the way I do things to prevent cheating.” She further explains on how she changes the assignments to make them harder to cheat on. She does this by asking them to be more creative in their responses and more writing.

She continues “I like to talk about cheating more because this way when someone does cheat they will know it is not ok and they will not be able to justify for what they did.”