Monday, October 31, 2011

What Do You Think?: Cheating in School

Interesting article from a concerned Atlanta citizen
Read more here.


Brent hates going to school because he has to do math everyday and thinks it’s very boring. His teacher, Ms. Peterson is explaining a math problem, and he feels she is speaking a different language. At the end of class, she reminds everyone that tomorrow is the Chapter Review test. Brent is worried because he doesn’t know how to solve the problems and doesn’t want to study.

The next morning he wakes up and gets to school. He didn’t study and is sitting at his desk nervously waiting as the teacher passes out the test to each student. Brent looks down at the test and doesn’t know a single answer. He looks over to his friend Justine’s who is right next to him. Brent whispers to her and asks if he can see her answers. Justine thinks Brent is cute, so she moves her test to the side of her desk and lets Brent copy her answers.

Questions for Discussion:

1. What do you think are different ways people cheat?
2. Who will get in trouble for cheating? Brent, Justine, or both?
3. What are some consequences of cheating?
4. Why do you think Brent cheated?
5. What do you think his teacher will think about him because he cheated? What about his parents?
6. If you saw someone cheating, what would you do?


** Math and Science are the courses in which cheating most often occurs.

** According to one recent survey of middle schoolers, 2/3 of respondents reported cheating on exams, while 9/10 reported copying another’s homework.

** 24% of girls and 20% of boys admitted that cheating started for them in the 1st grade.

** Research about cheating among middle school children (Ages 12-14) has shown that: 1) There is increased motivation to cheat because there is more emphasis on grades; 2) Even those students who say it is wrong, cheat; and 3) If the goal is to get a good grade, they will cheat.

** High school students are less likely than younger test takers to report cheaters, because it would be “tattling” or “ratting out a friend.”

What Mentors Can Do to Help Prevent This?

** Take Pressure Off. Kids often cheat because they see it as the only way to measure up to high expectations. Although it's good to expect the most from your kids, make it clear that you expect them to do their best, not be the best.

** Prep for Peer Pressure. Whether your child is involved in cheating or not, she will feel pressure to participate from peers at school, from friends asking to copy a last minute lab report to students passing notes across their desk during a test. Make sure they know that by saying “No” now, she's not only helping herself, but helping others in the long run.

** If your mentee discloses that they’ve cheated, help them determine why. If they're young, it could be because they don't know that cheating is wrong. If they're older, there could be other reasons. Maybe they feel too much pressure to do well on their tests. Or maybe they simply didn't study for a test because they were too busy watching TV the night before. If they're cheating at sports, they might be looking for a scholarship to their favorite college. Before you can decide the best method of action, you'll need to get to the bottom of their reason for cheating.

** Explain why cheating isn’t the best answer for problem-solving. Young children are generally trying to learn right from wrong. With them, you can simply explain that cheating is "wrong." But cheating isn't only wrong; it's unfair to those who work hard without cheating. Explain that cheating only undermines their actual abilities and makes them feel less confident. Hard work pays off much more than cheating because you actually get long-term benefits from it.

** Discuss the consequences of cheating. They might even think it's okay to cheat if there's no chance of getting caught. On top of reminding them why cheating is wrong, drill into their heads the consequences of cheating, including embarrassment, punishment and even prison if they get caught cheating at the wrong thing when they get older. Most children will simply avoid cheating because it's wrong, but you might need to use the "scared straight" method with others.

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