How Do We Stop Our Kids From Cheating to Succeed in College?
I recently took my GRE as a graduate school requirement and was stunned at the amount of security needed for a simple test – (ok, the GRE is NOT simple, but the act of sitting at a computer at a testing center is the simple part). Showing my ID, taking my picture, being “wanded” by security, and turning my pockets inside out – I almost felt like a criminal. All for the chance to take an intense 4-hour exam that left my brain fried.
It all made me wonder - is cheating really getting worse or are students now just more willing to bend the rules? Back when I took my SAT (yes, over a decade ago), I remember showing up at the testing center, showing my ID and that was all. It is true that the pressure to get into college is intense, so much so that it can cause young minds to take desperate measures. But I wonder if cheating now is more about people not seeing it as “wrong” and more about just “what you have to do” to get ahead in the world. In a society where success, money, and material goods are one’s highest achievements, is it really a wonder that students feel the need to lie, plagiarize and cheat to get into college, or succeed once they are there?
The idea of people cheating to get ahead of me while I’m in my graduate program just makes me sick. I’m working my butt off to learn material, not just to get good grades, but to make me successful in my future career. I would hate to see someone who cheated through college get a job or promotion over me when I’m more qualified. I know, most of you are thinking you can’t relate because you aren’t crazy like me and back in school. But here is the thing – how long will it be before your kids are entering college and faced with the challenge of cheating? Do we know that they understand cheating is wrong in elementary school? In high school?
As parents, how do we teach our children that truth and wisdom are more important than an “A”? Our kids are bombarded with an infinite amount of resources at their fingertips with smartphones, iPods, Kindles, etc. How do we encourage our kids to navigate all of the endless information on the internet, while realizing that just because it is freely given, it doesn’t mean it can just be taken without due credit. Someone else’s work is not ours. When I was teaching, I was always amazed that many new college students didn’t realize that cutting and pasting work from the Internet is considered plagiarism (and can get you expelled at most colleges). Maybe part of the problem is that they aren’t getting the correct education in schools, but we, as parents, also have to take responsibility to let our kids know what is right and what is wrong starting at a young age.
Cheating is a huge problem, but in the fight to end it, we need to turn to our homes first. What do you think? Is cheating worse now than decades before, or is new technology just making it easier for students to cheat their way through school?
Tune in to the new Lifetime World Premiere Movie, The Cheating Pack, which is inspired by true events, on Saturday, September 28.