Dear Schools, Cheating Starts With You

“When students cheat on exams, it’s because our School System values grades” more than it does learning. —Neil deGrasse Tyson

Nowadays, our SAT score is more important than our character. In today’s society, schools’ objectives and the educational stereotypes that are implemented in students’ minds are the reasons to blame for a students’ lack of integrity.

Our education system is not 100% concerned with student growth. We are force-fed information, expected to memorize it and then do well on exams. If school systems valued learning more than memorization, cheating would not be such an issue. With tests being weighted greatly in most classes, students cheat because, even if they do all their homework and projects, a test could be a determining factor between an A and a D in their course. Students are more determined to get good grades than to actually understand the content they are learning. When schools focus on the statistical aspect of students more than the learning aspect, it causes students to cheat because they end up realizing that schools do not care about the individual, that they are just another statistic for the school.

Another reason for a student’s lack of integrity are education stereotypes. Ever since elementary school, the idea of “good grades lead to a good college, which then leads to a well-paying job” has been implemented into our minds.

We live in a world where standardized testing determines our self-worth.

Students cheat, afraid of not living up to the education “ideal.” The pressure from teachers and parents add onto that fear. The education “ideal” is stressed much more in prestigious institutes. With fierce competition among students in prestigious colleges, students have the fear of getting their opportunities taken by other peers. They want to ensure that they become successful, and by cheating and not getting caught, they do. This further pushes the education “ideal” to future generations and it becomes a continuous cycle. Education stereotypes put stress on students, making them more likely to cheat just to reach that stereotype. Another education stereotype that is significantly emphasized is, “hav[ing] to compete with every single person in the classroom to prove their value.” The more competitive a class is, the higher chance there is of cheating. Students have so much to worry about already and they cheat so they can lessen their stress. If schools made classes have less of a competitive aspect, such as weighing tests less on grading scales; students would be able to reduce their stress, while being able to have a good relationship with their peers. With students overwhelmed with trying to balance their school and personal life, education stereotypes are just another added stress. 

In conclusion, a student’s lack of integrity is not as a result of them. It is a result of their surroundings. When students realize they are just another statistic to the school, they lose integrity. And when society’s education “ideals” cause students to relinquish due to all of the pressure they are put under, they will certainly lose integrity. Schools shape students to have a lack of integrity. But eventually, it is up to them to change their ways and create students with academic integrity that is unshakable.



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