Desensitized towards academic dishonesty

With everyone around me having schedules filled with multiple AP classes, I see more and more people copying homework. It seems that most assignments simply aren’t important enough to invest time into; I’ve seen students with the highest educational integrity succumb to such fraudulent actions. However, this mindset of saving time now, working hard later contrasts two sides of balancing efficiency and moral misconduct. Copying homework from time to time has valid reasons, but doing so also has its toll on student responsibility.

It’s true: a lot of assignments that students receive are seemingly pointless busy work. Not all homework benefits students when it comes to an educational standpoint. This prompts students to either find the answers online or copy a friend’s completed version, saving valuable time for studying for a big test or doing an extracurricular activity. It seems silly to stay up until 3 a.m. doing mindless work that has no apparent display of any benefits– these homework assignments that do little to help progress knowledge often include tedious fill in the blank study guides, long vocabulary identification assignments and repetitive sequences of math or science problems.

The dilemma of having too much work, however, is not the teacher’s fault. If a student cannot handle a class’s workload within his or her schedule, that individual should have, in theory, not taken that course. In fact, GLCs specifically warn students of the rigor that comes with certain courses, with many classes even including syllabi at the beginning of the year to combat plagiarism and noting its respective consequences.

That, then, presents us with the downside of copying, and these disadvantages are pretty obvious. Though I previously mentioned assignments that aren’t so beneficial for students, the majority of homework is aimed to help students adequately learn materials that are being taught in class. Not doing so, and not to mention repeatedly as a habit, is self-detrimental. Copying homework is also deception against the teacher, who uses his or her time and resources to educate students only to get back deceitful work. The teacher plans, prints and schedules the homework, while regularly updating grades, but it’s all for nothing because it doesn’t truly reflect students’ work.

Students who fall into the mindset of copying homework are, subsequently, caught in a domino effect. Taking shortcuts in one class can lead to desensitization of the issue at hand: copying homework and other forms of cheating is wrong. It is important for students to feel uncomfortable taking shortcuts because later on in high school, college and eventually the workplace, an “answer key” won’t necessarily be available. The mindset that is created with copying homework leads to a lack of discipline and an unwillingness to follow the rules.

Teachers have implemented systems of “snitching,” or reports of cheating, in return for extra credit. The system, while mutually beneficial for students, teachers and the class curve, prompts problems of alienation and bitter competition. Teachers also, sometimes painstakingly, keep a keen eye out for similar looking papers, but many times doing so is too time consuming and certain assignments are overlooked.

Cheating is taboo; most students have done so at some point, but only a handful are caught. There may never be a system that fully combats cheating, and people will continue to do so. However, by no means should this action become a regular habit for any student, and they should note the unfavorable positions they put themselves in. After all, taking credit for other’s work should never be something we accept.

By Brian Chen, Staff writer
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.org 

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