Blurred Lines: what’s cheating and what’s not

By: Karanda Heimuli
Cheating vs. Cheating

In a time when students have Google, Spark Notes, Wikipedia, and a handful of other search engines, doing homework has become easier than ever!  With colleges and scholarship committees jarring up their acceptance qualifications higher and higher every minute, how can students be expected to have a 4.0 GPA, a 36 on the ACT, work a full time job, do community service, and have time to do homework?

It’s obvious something has to go. Since the ACT is near impossible to cheat, many students have found that the GPA portion is easier to tactfully trick. Although no one wants to believe it or admit to it, cheating is one of the biggest problems in the world today. But…do students cheat for lack of knowledge or because they just don’t have time to do the assignment? In a day and age where the lines between right and wrong have become blurred in the eyes of society, who can say what is considered cheating and what is considered being resourceful. Do we, or better yet does society, teach students that a good grade is more important than integrity? Do we teach children not to use the resources they’re cursed with because it’s cheating? Let’s look at a few different angles on this subject:

What the teachers have to say:

“There is a lot of pressure on students to get good grades and have a perfect ACT score, but with that comes a higher tendency to cheat. With all the technology available to students, especially cell phones, it’s never been easier to cheat. The line between cheating and not cheating has become more and more blurred. I think if you’re getting the information, why does it matter? I do believe that honesty is the best policy, but I also believe it is harder to achieve than ever. If you have to cheat in high school, you’ll have to cheat in college. But if students are finding information and learning what they’re supposed to, it doesn’t bother me at all if they are using their resources. What was considered cheating in the past may not be cheating anymore.” –Mr. Robbins

“A lot of students feel like there’s no room for error, especially those that are trying to get into a Division 1 school. Pressure is coming from parents, family, and a lot of additional sources; so many  students do cheat to get into college. However, if you had to cheat to get into college, you’ll cheat once you’re there too. Especially those students that are trying to make it into a specific college, like accounting or business. Just go where you belong and you’ll be more successful, even if it’s not your first choice of college.” –Ms. Graff

What the counselors have to say:

“Integrity is much more important than anything else. You have to live with yourself forever; the lack of integrity will eventually catch up with a person.” –Mr. Newbold

“Teachers and counselors are NOT turning a blind eye to students that cheat; however, if a teacher accuses a student of cheating without cold, hard evidence, the teacher could get in a lot of trouble. But, it does happen, we frequently do have to talk to students about cheating.” –Mrs. Benson

What students have to say:        

“I would say that students who cheat are lazy and don’t want to work, but I get that there is a lot of pressure to perform. A lot of students cheat but don’t realize they’re cheating, that could be me. I’ve never had a 4.0, but I’ve never felt the pressure to have a 4.0 either. Personally, people putting pressure on me doesn’t make me want to be better, my wanting to learn makes me want to be better. I think that government systems of measuring are flawed, because they care more about grades than learning. Ideally, students can do well in school if they just go to class.” –Nathan Rowley (Senior)

 “There’s a big difference between using your resources and taking advantage of them. It’s true that grades and college acceptance have become harder than ever, but there’s still a big difference between cheating and using your materials. Some students can learn something and remember it until the test, some can memorize it and remember forever, I don’t consider that cheating. Straight up copying an assignment is different than learning the material. If a student gets a bad grade and works to make it up, that’s called being motivated and having the drive to do it. Students that get bad grades, cry, and don’t do anything to make it up, it’s their own fault.” –Talyr Mortensen and Shelcee Stevenson (seniors)

 In conclusion, this subject is stalled and will continue to be until society comes to terms with what cheating is and what cheating is not. There is a difference between cheating and being resourceful, but who can say if either are right or both are wrong. True, cheating is a path that only spirals down, but students who are resourceful grow up to be resourceful adults which is actually a very good quality a person can have. In the end, integrity is important, but so is working for what you want.