Monday, January 17, 2005

Students Using Internet To Cheat On School Assignments

The Seattle Times has written an exhaustive article profiling Internet cheating by High School Students. It seems as though the little rascals are using the 'net in order to avoid the work that being a scholar in this era of increased expectations and accountability entails. Some of the examples of cheating that were cited are:
  • They are taking published literary criticism and cutting/pasting paragraphs into reports. (As a classroom teacher myself, I can often tell when a student has copied someone else's work simply by reading a passage that is not written in what I call "kid-language." Very few pre-college students consistently write grammatically perfect sentences.)
  • There are now several web-sites that cater to cheaters. (See the article if you must know their names; I won't list them here.) One uses as it's motto: "Download your workload." Of course, these sites collect a fee for their "service."

Schools are fighting back, but it's a losing battle. The findings of a study (cited by The Times) of more than 70,000 students at 120 high schools and colleges are alarming:

  • 95% of high-school and college students admit to some form of cheating. (I find that a little high, but I only report, read the article for your self and then decide.)
  • 60% of high-school students on and anonymous questionnaire admitted to copying others' work and passing it off as their own.
  • 45% of of college students (who responded) said that they had copied material.

When asked why they cheat, students responded with a variety of excuses, but the ones given most often were because of increased pressures to perform and strict college admissions standards.

As a classroom teacher, I hear about instances of cheating among our junior high school students almost every day. In my own opinion, the reasons why pupils cheat aren't so highfaluting as are indicated by the above survey.

I think that there is something fundamentally wrong with our culture. Students see examples all around them of people that are actually rewarded for cheating, even when they get caught.

Think about all the pro-athletes that have been nailed recently for the use of "performance enhancing drugs." (And none have lost their multi-million dollar contracts.) Rush Limbaugh makes millions after getting caught illegally using drugs. A President of The United States commits perjury.

Then again, maybe students cheat simply because they are too lazy to do the work.

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