Pressure to succeed leading more students to cheat

Published:
Updated:

With the price of college tuition continuing to go up, students are feeling increased pressure to ace their exams and receive high marks in order to score financial aid and scholarships.

“Tests are very stressful, because I need to get a good grade,” Jumal Afzal said.

“I don’t like taking tests, because they stress me out,” Joe Batchelor said.

Dr. Eric Anderman studies academic cheating at Ohio State University and has seen students risk it all on cheating to make the grade.

“The general consensus is that cheating is pretty prevalent. High stakes testing is important, and testing has become so stressful for students. A consistent statistic that seems to emerge is between 70 to 80 percent of all kids engage in some form of cheating by the time they graduate from high school,” Dr. Anderman said.

Some students that 10TV talked to didn’t have a problem fessing up to cheating in order to get better test scores.

“I’m not going to lie, I’ve cheated. We have so much going on; students have to do what they have to do in order to get good grades,” Afzal said.

“I probably cheated in middle school, but not in college. I see students cheating in really large lecture halls. I can hear people whispering answers because there are not enough teacher’s assistants to notice students cheating,” Tristan Ratheburn said.

Some students even invest their time and creativity into cheating for a better grade.

“I’ve caught so many kids cheating and they were so creative about it. It inspired me to study cheating," Dr. Anderman said. "I’ve noticed students putting test answers in Coke bottles and using tiny cheat sheets loaded with almost a gig of test information on it. Teachers have to be very vigilant."

Also armed with new technological know-how, students can have all their test answers just one click away on their wrists.

“Teachers now have to be aware of smart watches because you can glance at your watch and have the answers on your arm," Dr. Anderman said. "Plus you can talk to your watch, whisper a question to it and get the answer. It’s all really new. We may need to get to the point where we need everyone to take off their watches."

In fact, according to BuzzFeed News, some schools and universities have banned digital watches all together. And, if you think smart watches are an overpriced option for cheating, think again.

Thanks to the Internet, cheaters can now buy knock-off smart watches on eBay for less than $10 apiece, making it easier and cheaper for students to lean on cheating to make the grade.

“People cheat to get good grades, but the reasons behind cheating are different for everyone," Dr. Anderman said. "Some do it so they can get into college, some because they want to stay in an honor class with their friends, avoid punishments from their parents or because their parents award them for getting good grades."

According to Dr. Anderman self-confidence may also play a role in cheating. Some students put significant time and effort into cheating because they feel they can’t pass without the cheat sheet.

So what happens if you get busted for cheating? You can read some local universities’ policies on cheating below.

Ohio State University | Ohio University | Columbus State | Franklin University | Otterbein University

3 tips parents should do now to ensure that their child doesn’t cheat later:

1. Prevention

“Don’t wait until cheating happens to deal with it. It’s important in K-12 settings to help students understand what cheating is. An 8 year-old might be cheating by giving someone an answer and really think that they are just helping their friend. Developmentally, what we think of as “right and wrong” is different when we are 8 years old, compared to 12 years old and 18 years old,” Dr.Anderman said.

 

2. Motivation

“The strongest predictor, in the past 20 years of cheating research, comes back to the student’s motivation. When your child brings home a test, don’t just focus on the grade. Start a conversation with them about the test subject. The goal is to get your child excited about learning not just the end results,” Dr. Anderman said.

 

3.A’s are for Artificial

“I don’t want to imply that straight A's aren’t important because that’s the world we live in. However, some kids get an A+ on a test and they think they have achieved perfection. An A+ can be misleading because they can always still learn more about that subject. Don’t be afraid to ask your child what they could have done better,” Dr. Anderman said.