Why do students cheat?

Is the stressful nature of school to blame for the problem of cheating?


Most students claim that they are inclined to cheat on school assignments and tests because they feel like they are overwhelmed and stressed. Most of these people lack study and time management skills.

Suad Mohamed, In-Depth Editor

Without a doubt, all students have witnessed someone cheat before, or have cheated themselves. From quick homework assignments to massive finals, everyone has done it before.

Academic Integrity, an organization that conducts studies on students and education, surveyed 70,000 American students.

According to this survey, 95% of these students admitted to cheating in some shape or form throughout their academic career.

Whether we try to deny it or not, it is clear that cheating is big problem that is running rampant through the halls of every single school.

Modern technology has only worsened the issue. It has become very easy to get answers to tests and quizzes online, and some students even go as far as to take pictures of assignments and send them around.

Teachers are obviously aware of this issue, and always take steps to try and solve this issue.

Programs like Safe Assign, giving out different versions of tests and quizzes, and collecting phones at the beginning of class are a few examples of measures teachers take to prevent cheating.

“To prevent cheating in my classroom, I have students submit papers into Safe Assign, and I give failing scores if I catch someone cheating,” English 10 Honors teacher Justina Butera said. “Sometimes, I will allow students to retake or redo the assignment, but that just depends on the situation.”

But sometimes, these preventative measures do not work. So what can be done to solve this issue?

The first step is to attempt to understand what causes students to cheat.

Sometimes, students do not cheat because they are immoral people who do not care about the rules. They do it because they think it’s their only option.

Most days, it feels like the modern day education system is set up in order to overwhelm students with an abundance of tasks.

From homework, to studying for tests who always seem to fall on the same day, it is hard to do things correctly and in an orderly fashion.

Adding on extracurriculars like sports and clubs, and making time to spend with friends and family makes the day feel even more restricting.

Students who feel like they have so much to do in a short period of time are more inclined to cheat. The root of this issue is that a lot of students lack time management skills and are procrastinators.

Though this problem is hard to solve, it is entirely possible.

“When I know that I have a lot of assignments to do, I use whatever free time I have to complete my work,” junior Abby Kitila said. “Even if it is just five minutes, that is enough time to solve one math problem or figure out a thesis for an essay.”

Other helpful solutions include making schedules and alarms, and prioritizing important assignments over those that do not matter as much.

Another reason why students cheat is because they simply have poor study skills.

Many students spend a lot of time looking at notes and solving practice problems, but do so in an inefficient manner that does them no good.

Study skills can be developed rather quickly.

Using tools such as Quizlet and studying with friends can be helpful in ensuring that one will comprehend the material well enough to do well on an assignment.

Additionally, there are many people who feel like they need to cheat in order to impress other people, specifically their parents.

A lot of times, parents can unintentionally set extremely high standards that their kids feel like they have to meet in order to please them.

Other people do the most when it comes to cheating not because they want to make their parents happy, but because they want to beat out their friends and peers.

People like this are racked by nerves and feel like they don’t have the potential to reach this high targets on their own, so they turn to cheating.

Students who are struggling with these issues should understand that their grades do not define them. It may be easier to make everyone happy by earning a false grade, but showing off a grade that they earned on their own will feel even better.

While all of these reasons for cheating are understandable, it still does not make passing off someone else’s work as your own okay and acceptable.

Regardless of what troubles someone is going through, they should work hard on their own to earn fair grades.

If a student is struggling, there are many people, such as teachers and peers, who are willing to support you in being the best student you can be – the right and fair way.