With the education becoming increasingly competitive, students sacrifice everything to get a good grade. Even if it means committing plagiarism.
Cheating has become more and more accepted within students. “Can you send me ____,” “Do you have _____ done?” is a daily thing for many teens, especially with texting and social media. And it’s not just the bad kids, one survey done by The Josephson Institute Center for Youth Ethics found that out of 24,000 students and 70 high schools, 95% of the students have committed some form of cheating.
And who is to blame for this? The students? The teachers? The school? The parents? Well there are several factors. One major player though, is college.
Most teens’ goal is to go to a good college/university. What used to be an incredible achievement is now almost widely completely expected. Additionally, with a rising population, the competition to get into college is rising and the admissions are decreasing. For example, in 2005, Princeton University had one of the lowest acceptance rates only accepting 10% of applicants; in 2015, they only admitted 6.9% of applicants. Again in 2005, Cornell University accepted 31% of applicants; in 2015, it dropped to 14.8%. One of the largest drops was from University of Michigan, accepting 63% of students in 2005 and only 32% of applicants in 2015.
But it’s not only college, parents play a part too. On their page, Point Loma Nazarene University states pressure from parents amongst the top reasons for student cheating in the nonacademic section. Along with having a high enough GPA to play sports, GPA for college financials, and GPA to graduate. Their very top reason for student cheating was “Need to excel at any cost.”
With the overwhelming amount of technology accessible by teens and students, cheating is bound to only increase. And I believe the only way to curb this event is not by enforcing punishment or stricter work speciation but rather a different approach in education.
One way that has been pushed by the National Science Foundation Materials World Modules is hands on learning; and rather than students given the answer to interpret, they learn the why’s and the how’s in order to succeed to the right answer.
Another good way to decrease student cheating is the controversial Common Core. Common Core would essentially devalue grades and value knowledge instead. By having more detailed lectures about subjects, less bubble in answers, going deep into the “why” of the matter, and having an end of the year students-should-know-standard, students would be expected to think for themselves more rather than being able to write down what everyone else does.
Education is one of the most, if not the most valuable program we have in the world. But as with everything, it must adapt to the times. If nothing is done about cheating, we won’t be able to trust the people of tomorrow. The school system needs to change and I believe a push such as Common Core is essential to modern education. As Neil Degrasse Tyson tweeted, “When Students cheat on exams it’s because our School System values grades more than Students value learning.”