Why Cheating in Academics is on the Rise at all Levels
Over the past years, cheating in academic has been rising at an alarming rate. While this is not a new phenomenon, a lot of experts have agreed that it has been on the global rise across all discipline. This kind of contract cheating has raised the level of concerned among communities about the trustworthiness or rather the credibility of student qualification in higher education including all other academic inputs.
It has also reached the heights of changing the nature of research on the topic of academic integrity. Both researchers and educators agree that academic cheating is way different from collusion, plagiarism or any other relative minor or major breaches (Jordan, 2001). Often, it is almost impossible to detect contract cheating and this is the reason why it has been hard to put it to an end. The purpose of this paper is to discuss why cheating in academic is on the rise at all levels.
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While such cases are rising rapidly, they have existed from decades ago. In the past, academic cheating was practiced by students who exchanged examination papers physically or by changing the names of the students, by writing answers on their hand or on a piece of paper or by leaving a visible note in an open backpack. These methods were not reliable enough until the arrival of the internet thanks to technology.
Today, both high school and college students are taking proctored online exams which often have endless resources and possibilities. Some of the sophisticated ways that students use to cheat include sophisticated calculators which are designed to store a whole lot of information and other tiny computers that students have on their fingertips in form of cellphones (Finn, 2004). The fact that students are cheating more today more than ever is because they have tools that are enhanced and sophisticated and all this provides a favorable environment for cheating.
Unfamiliarity with what constitutes academic writing is another reason why academic dishonesty has taken a toll in almost all of the higher learning institution globally. According to research, a greater percentage of students who engage in academic cheating have attributed it to not having any idea of what constitutes plagiarism or cheating and they have never inquired for clarification from their instructors.
More so, some instructors assume that students already know what academic cheating entails. As a result students unknowingly continue to practice academic irregularities and dishonesty. What has made this situation even worse is the uncertainty that comes with technological issues mostly with international students who are not very well familiar with the American standards of academic honesty. Nevertheless, students who ought to commit academic cheating often do this because of the desire to get commendable grades.
Another reason why academic cheating has been constantly taking its toll is because of the pressure that the institutions of higher learning are putting on the students. According to research, most students owe their reasons for cheating in examinations to laziness, time pressure and the wish to help a friend out. Because of the pressure, students resort to using content mills to cheat their way to success.
These companies provide academic content generation for students of high school, colleges, and even universities. In most cases, students find the content mill companies to be convenient because they just pay and get their assignments done without further efforts (Nonis, 2001). The fact that these companies handle all the assignments for students makes academic cheating to raise at all possible levels.
Cheating in academics is as well due to the reluctant of teachers and the school rules which do not care on whether the students cheat in academics or not. The aim of some schools nowadays are just to focus on examinations and only teach students on how to pass exams, the students may as well see an opportunity to simply cheat in academics because nobody really cares.
When a student is caught cheating in an examination or he or she provided a plagiarized work the teachers do not punish the students but instead just warn them, giving students tough conditions as to when they are caught they may face serious consequences will scare them and they will not be in a position cheat in academics(Nonis, 2001). Some exams nowadays are based on direct answers which students don’t have to brainstorm but instead just source for answers, in an application based examination students cannot cheat because the aim of the examiner will be to analyze their thinking and understanding capacity something that is not there nowadays.
As long as there is the existence of academic pressure, academic cheating will continue rising day by day. Some of the students have admitted to cheating in their assignments by working with their fellow students. In the event that an assignment is given, students ought to copy from one another by paraphrasing the contents generated by other students without the prior knowledge of the instructor (Finn, 2004). This is an easy way for students to complete their assignments without having to brainstorm. Students do this because of lack of time due to a tight school schedule, peer pressure, and desire to get good grades and the ease that comes with this technique of completing assignments. The general idea behind this nature of academic irregularity is the belief that students should help each other.
Nevertheless, academic dishonesty by college and high school students is as a result of the existing culture. All along almost every institution of higher learning are used to giving assignments to their students blindly while ignoring the fact that students may be cheating. Some of these assignments are given to student’s weeks before the date of submission. Other institutions give their students exams to do at home and not within a classroom situation. By doing this, they give the students more than enough time to engage in academic dishonesty.
Moreover, most of the faculties in institutions of higher learning have little or no restrictions against academic cheating. Some do not have restrictions for make-up exams or assignment. This kind of laxity by the faculties makes it difficult to deter students from engaging in academic dishonesty (McCabe, 2001). Moreover, it also becomes difficult for those who are working out ways to curb academic dishonesty. It becomes even harder for those tutors who lack specific policies or the know-how of dealing with this problem and they, therefore, ignore them. Therefore, the culture of laxity on the side of the administration is what causes academic cheating to consistently rise.
The current increase of internet usage has really contributed to students cheating in academics simply because there is everything in the internet and wherever they want to search for any information they will simply go to the internet and get everything there for them. When they are given a project to research on most studies from students both in high school and college have relied too much on secondary data.
The existence of this data in the internet has as well contributed to students handing over a plagiarized document simply because they didn’t have time for it (Finn, 2004). The internet and the advancement of technology has really affected students now days that they turn out to be very lazy to an extent that they don’t have time to do any research hence the availability of the required data becomes the biggest contributor of cheating in academics.
Nevertheless, the rate of academic cheating has as well been on the rise in the past years due to the increasing number of students in classes and the scarcity of tutors. Many students cheat in academics in such a way that they exchange their assigned assignment from one class to another without prior approval from the class tutor(Finn, 2004). Tutors as well cannot have time to compare assignments of their classes with those of other classes because of the highest number of students in schools. The number of students in a class are too many that the teacher can only look at their assignments and never mind going through the assignments which were done in the previous classes more so if they were not submitted online, this contributes to high percentage of plagiarism.
Laziness from students is another cause of cheating in academics; this is due to that fact that as opposed to the past education has been easy due to the inventions and the introduction of teaching materials and research tools which are automated that the students do not have to brainstorm in order to get the root of the study(Finn, 2004). Many students have relied too much on the provided work by their teachers and the internet information, it has led to lack of commitment in research in that when the time for exams come they have nothing to write down and when the question is twisted by the examiner they will end up not getting the contents making them to look for assistance elsewhere.
However, as much as academic cheating has reached uncontrollable height, the good news is that there is still room or rather a chance to curb this problem. The very first step towards solving this problem is to accept that academic cheating has become an international habit for students of all academic levels. In reality, this predicament is in itself a ruse and a deception since it produces a world of cheaters and dishonest individuals (Finn, 2004). However, if this culture is to be controlled, all the institutions need to set up strict regulations that will force students to learn to depend on themselves. Most importantly, honesty and the will to stop academic dishonesty should come from the students themselves.
- Finn, Kristin Voelkl, and Michael R. Frone. “Academic performance and cheating: Moderating role of school identification and self-efficacy.” The Journal of Educational Research 97.3 (2004): 115-121.
- Jordan, Augustus E. “College student cheating: The role of motivation, perceived norms, attitudes, and knowledge of institutional policy.” Ethics & Behavior 11.3 (2001): 233-247.
- McCabe, Donald L., and William J. Bowers. “Academic dishonesty among males in college: A thirty year perspective.” Journal of College Student Development (1994).
- Nonis, Sarath, and Cathy Owens Swift. “An examination of the relationship between academic dishonesty and workplace dishonesty: A multicampus investigation.” Journal of Education for business 77.2 (2001): 69-77.