MAILEY: Morality of cheating up to students

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mugshot_maileyBY SAM MAILEY
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My friend who is enrolled in the APUSH – Language/Composition block told me about a teacher that accidentally discovered a classwide group chat dedicated to cheating.

Running alongside the rapidly evolving platform for tech-based curriculum is students abusing this new age of modernization, which cannot be stopped by administrative or teacher efforts; any efforts focused on stifling a particular tactic would only inspire another to develop – a virtual whack-a-mole.

The group chat is no new tactic for cheating, but while convenience and efficiency are growing the chats’ popularity, cheating still remains inexcusably dishonest – to an extent.

I’m not sure if administrative consequences ensued upon the chat being discovered, but I know that certain consequences are normally inevitable, which should serve as a sufficient deterrent for cheating.

The group chat exemplifies the lengths to which students will go to avoid actually working, and it breeds poor work habits. Some work ethics cannot be taught or broken in by the threat of consequence, they simply must be learned the hard way – whether it’s failing a test or the whole course.

The student’s effort is usually evident in their test results. This is unavoidable without honestly studying the material, whether or not it was obtained honestly is only in the student’s control.

Academic detention or zero on homework are unlikely to reform work ethics, eventually students need to feel the real results of their irresponsibility to realize the consequences.

The drive to unethically utilize technology stems from one common denominator: laziness. Students would rather devote more time to figuring out new cheating methods than actually doing the work, which is understandable.

A gray area in the ethics of cheating lies in the assumption that copying and not absorbing the information go hand-in-hand. Effort is usually exposed in test scores, but this isn’t the case if the student cheats responsibly.

That wasn’t an oxymoron. Irresponsible students copy and turn in the work without knowing what they just copied; however, responsible students, when they don’t do their work on their own, review the material or attempt to learn it, these students are usually more apt to avoid a low test score.

If cheating is going to be tolerated in any form, it should be the latter. Although it only enables the original laziness, some students see avoiding the work yet still learning the material as a win-win. This habit is tempting to stay in, and I can’t blame those who use it to their advantage.

This tendency should only stretch into the realm of homework or classwork.

I also recall my friend telling me about an in-class essay prompt sent to the group chat, which was beyond any excusability.

The gray area doesn’t not apply to the difference between cheating homework and cheating a test, simply because they aren’t comparable.

Homework is a part of the process of learning material and students can go about learning in their own preference, but tests measure understanding.

However a student works, their efforts should be aimed at doing well on the test, so when a student cheats on a test it’s indicative of a student who was too lazy to even study the material they copied or even complete the work altogether.

Homework completion should be left to the student’s discretion, but tests should be left honest.