Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Homework, football, cheating--American school traditions

Recently, some students at Loyola University conducted a confidential survey at a Catholic high school in New Orleans, and reported some alarming--but not surprising-- statistics:

  • 84% of the seniors polled said they had engaged in cheating, and 14% of them cheated on a regular basis.
  • 50% answered "maybe" or "no" to the question "Does cheating matter in the long run?"
  • More than 50% identified scenarios they believed justified cheating, such as "when busy or on deadline," or "to help a classmate."
  • 60% said they had frequently witnessed cheating, but none had reported it.

This school's statistics, from what I've read, are not unusual. Cheating runs rampant in both high schools and colleges and universities. One complaint that professors frequently make is that students unintentionally cheat because they do not understand what plagiarism is. Give me a break. If you don't understand the concept of plagiarism, what on earth are you doing in an institution of higher learning?

Having had my own work plagiarized and my copyright violated on a number of occasions, I can testify that there is rampant ignorance over what constitutes theft, and that is really scary, especially when I consider how angry some people become when you point out that they have stolen from you.

The high level of cheating at the high school in New Orleans also demonstrates that "church values" do not translate to the students when it comes to getting by in school. Of course, these students have seen so much cheating in both their church and their government that it is easy to understand their disdain for the concept of honesty.

Also, the consequences for cheating seem to be minimal. A student who cheats may be put on probation, but a second-offender is given detentions, as opposed to the more appropriate consequence of failing the term and/or being expelled. Always, it seems, it is the "law and order/moral values" types who fail to provide consequences for breaches of law and morality.

If you want an example of the decay of morality in America, it's not about boys kissing boys. It's about the fact that children--the same children who may not have ever read a book-- consider cheating a normal part of the academic day.

6 Comments:

This is so disgusting. Talk about proof of the dumming down of America!

By Blogger Unknown, at 2:23 PM  

Also, the consequences for cheating seem to be minimal

Here in Israel, anybody caught cheating in one of the institutes of higher learning is expelled immediately, and barred from all institutions of higher learning in the country (not just the one where s/he cheated and got caught in)for three years, in some cases five.

There is hardly any cheating in universities/colleges. Surprise surprise.

Still - our government is just as dishonest and corrupt as yours. Maybe when politicians are barred from holding office for five years if they cheat...

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