Leila Zein-Phillipson | Torrey Pines High School Junior
“I like to think if you’re not cheating, you’re not trying and by this I mean if you want it more you’re willing to risk it,” was a response a sophomore girl from Torrey Pines high school gave as a reply to an accusation of cheating made by a classmate. The TPHS student was referring to academic as well as athletic cheating.
Academic dishonesty has become a rampant problem in high schools across the country. Statistics published on the web show, cheating among high school students has risen dramatically over the past half century, and cheating by high school students is now at an all time high. The article says, “Back in 1940, only 20 percent of students admitted to cheating during their academic careers. Today, that number has increased to a range of 75%-98%,” revealing the dramatic increase in cheating in this time period. Cheating takes many forms including; plagiarism, sharing answers on tests or homework, or representing someone else’s work as one’s own.
According to another survey, administered by End The Race To Nowhere, of 24,000 high school students in grades 9-12, 95 percent of students say they’ve cheated during the course of their education. This cheating was reported to include minor infractions such as allowing a classmate to copy their homework as well as outright cheating on tests. The 95% statistic includes above average students.
“It is not always the students who don’t know the material they are being tested on who cheat,” said Grace a senior at Torrey Pines. “It’s also those who need to maintain their high GPAs.”
As the end of students high school days come into view, the next step is choosing a college or a career path. Students from the San Dieguito Union High School district, cite their race to be accepted to the most selective colleges and universities as the source of increasing pressure. The pressure to be accepted into these prestigious universities is a contributing factor to their cheating.
According to Canyon Crest student Jackie* “I have cheated because it’s easy, but also due to the competition to be the best. Having a high GPA gets you into college.”
However, not every student cheats and the students who choose not to cheat are faced with the dilemma of following their morals to be honest as opposed to receiving credit without doing the work themselves.
SDUHSD has a strict academic policy regarding cheating, and any violation could result in a range of consequences from a referral that appears on the student’s academic records to suspension. However, often teachers seem to be oblivious to the cheating occurring in the classrooms.
Alex, a sophomore at Canyon Crest describes incidents that occur frequently in his biology class, “[students] often use their phones when the teacher isn’t looking or pretend to stretch while they copy the other persons work.”
Whatever the pressures to cheat are, the cheating is not confined to classrooms. It occurs in athletic competition from high school to world class athletics such as the well publicized cycling scandal involving Lance Armstrong.
Since statistically cheating is at an all time high, the question is what we as a society should do to reduce the pressure to cheat?
*names changed to protect identity