The Culture of Cheating

Today, Mind/Shift highlighted the rising problem in academia of cheating. Professionals are asking is it the current demands and high stakes associated with grades that drives cheating, or the ease of access (with the internet and hand-held devices) simply making it easier to do so (and likewise, to catch perpetrators)?

Interestingly, thy find that cheating is a problem not just with students, but teachers and administrators. The recent scandal in Atlanta highlights the pervasiveness of academic dishonesty. If teachers are doing it, one can hardly be surprised that students are following suit. Additionally, the findings demonstrate the most cheating is done not by those students who are struggling, but far more by those in honors and advanced classes.

“I was in honors classes in high school because I wanted to get into the best schools, and all of us in those classes cheated; we needed the grades to get into the best schools.” – Anonymous Student, Psychology Today

So, what is behind this new culture of cheating? Is it simply that we talk about it more openly or that it truly has become more pervasive? I’ll admit, I always struggle with the issue of cheating as it is a feat I cannot fathom – I have never cheated on a test in my entire life. The idea of cheating on a test make me anxious and sweaty. In fact, I remember a time in middle school where I accidentally saw my neighbor’s answer on a multiple choice test. I wrote a note to the teacher on the exam stating what happened (I don’t remember the outcome). I really struggle with putting myself into the mind-set where cheating is a viable option.

To read more about the study and thoughts behind this issue, see the Mind/Shift article: “What’s Behind the Culture of Cheating?

3 thoughts on “The Culture of Cheating

  1. Tim Freud

    It could be because NCLB is a terrible joke–high stakes testing certainly wouldn’t give any teachers or administrations the motive to cheat! Not to mention, a culture where college is the new high school (and to get a decent job you’re going to need a BA or a BS to compete in a job market that’s already over-flooded and terrible) also wouldn’t give people the motive to justify any actions to get ahead.

    Also, high five for neurotic guilt!

  2. Michael Hulshof-Schmidt

    I would just add that part of the problem regarding cheating amongst high level administrators can directly be tied to Bush’s “No Child (Billionaire) Left Behind Act, by no means dose this condone their behavior.


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