Cheating in High School

Cheating in High School

A lesson that I’ve used the past two years is to have my students watch one of the “Cheating in High School” videos on YouTube (I really like Volume 2), and then write about their thoughts on cheating. I created a STAAR persuasive essay prompt using one of the statements at the beginning of the video- “School is an institution that silently encourages cheating.” Students have 26 lines to agree or disagree with this statement. And let me tell you 26 lines is not enough to express the sassiness and passionate feelings students have about this topic.

Most of my students agree that yes, schools do silently encourage cheating. Here is what they had to say:

“Schools create an environment where grades, instead of learning, are the most important part of school.”

“Many teachers focus on standardized tests, which really don’t measure real student achievement.”

“Everybody has had a lazy teacher at some point. Students learn which teachers care and pay attention and which don’t. Once students figure out which teacher is which, they begin to think ‘if the teacher doesn’t care, why should I care?’”

“A predominant attribute of human nature is the extreme longing to please other people. Through a teenager’s four years of high school, he feels the continual demand to flourish academically. When he feels that he cannot live up to the teacher’s and school’s expectations, he feels tempted to cheat.”

“Teachers teach from a textbook. They don’t make learning fun or even try to connect to the lives and interests of their students. Of course students are going to cheat if they don’t see the purpose of the 101 history study questions.”

“Many teachers do not understand the struggles and stress that students have. Assigning 50 math problems for homework every day when I can prove that I know how to perform this skill by doing 10 is just a waste of my time.”

“Parents, teachers, and the community only care about grades. The question is not ‘what are students learning?’, but ‘what grade did the student receive?’”

As you can see, students have a lot to say about this topic. And someone needs to listen. Teachers hear so many buzz words- relevance, rigor, collaboration, student-centered learning, etc.- that they forget that the most important words are those of their students. Today’s student wants a teacher who cares about her students, who loves what she does, and who puts thought into her lessons and what she assigns.

Do you feel that school is an institution that silently encourages cheating?