Why kids cheat and what parents can do about academic dishonesty

Academic dishonesty and what parents can do if their teen gets caught cheatingAccording to Education Week, “More than 50 students at a New Mexico high school are facing disciplinary action after they used a teacher log-in to change their own grades on the school’s online course platform.

The Gadsden High School students logged into a teacher account on Edgenuity, an online course provider and grading platform, and changed a total of 456 grades, according to a statement from the Gadsden Independent School District. Five of the 55 students implicated have been suspended.”

In addition, the students who altered their grades won’t receive credit for those courses. And, almost 30 high school seniors involved will not be eligible to graduate.

Of course, academic cheating scandals are nothing new, even amongst the nation’s top colleges and universities. For example:

  • in 1994, 134 seniors at the US Naval Academy were involved in a cheating ring when one student obtained an early copy of an electrical engineering exam and sold it to students for $50 a copy,
  • in 2007, several football players at Florida State University were caught in a cheating ring with two tutors who were providing them answers to online tests, and
  • in 2013, Harvard University forced dozens of students to leave in the largest cheating scandal in the school’s memory.

What do all of these instances have in common? They are all examples of collaborative cheating, rather than a solitary student making one tragic mistake. These students were organized, efficient, and showed forethought.

So, what does this say about our students… and a culture obsessed with grades?

According to Dr. Terry Apter in Psychology Today, “A student who cheats values an exam result above everything we hope a student values. A cheating student discounts the value not only his or her good name, character, and trustworthiness, but also the key element of education — learning. The student who cheats abandons faith in his or her ability to learn. Exam cheating is a symptom of profound self-despair and loss of confidence.”

What’s a concerned parent to do if their child is caught cheating?

Alexandra Pannoni outlines three crucial steps in US News and World Report that parents should take if their student is caught cheating.

  1. Have a meeting with educators and the student. Families can discuss what happened in these meetings with the teacher, student and perhaps school counselor.
  2. Ensure teens face appropriate consequences at home. Consequences should depend on what the family regards as important.
  3. Make a plan to help students regain trust. That plan can include helping students avoid spreading themselves too thin with sports, jobs and extracurricular activities.

Students cheat for lots different reasons, but the competition for grades, the pressure of high-stakes testing, and the failure to prepare or understand academic material are foremost. Cheating doesn’t have to spell the end for your student and is only a failure if there is no lesson learned!

About Back to Basics Learning Dynamics, Inc. in Wilmington, Delaware

Back to Basics offers 1-on-1 tutoring in 60+ subjects, professional development, translating and interpreting in 21 languages, speech therapy, occupational therapy, behavior specialists, reading specialists, paras, ELL services, homebound services, RTI support, psycho-educational testing and test prep. Plus, Back to Basics Private School is Delaware’s only Department of Education approved 1-on-1 Private School for K-12. We also offer summer school and educational summer camps, original credit and credit recovery, along with unique enrichment options such as music, art and photography. And, Summer Planning starts NOW!  Learn about more educational summer camps, summer school, original credit and enrichment options in Delaware. 

 

 

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