Why Academic Cheating Occurs
Academic cheating has been occurring more and more often as time goes on. Students feel as though they don’t have the capabilities of performing well enough, or they have other responsibilities (such as jobs or sports) that require them to do more than they can handle or achieve. Test and schoolwork anxiety, mismanagement of time, inability to understand the consequences, the ability to blame others (self-justification), and most importantly peer pressure are all causes of academic cheating. Standardized testing has been ever changing, most recently with Common Core coming into play.
With the big change in testing that has become more demanding and laborious, students have had more performance anxiety. Testing anxiety accounts for anywhere between ten and forty percent of students, only increasing as testing advances. Poor test results, anger, and fear are all troublesome symptoms of test anxiety. This fear of failure leads students to cheat in order to live up the expectations in front of them. Afraid to get a bad grade, they’ll cheat to cope with their anxiety and do better on the test than they would have.
Immediately, students with testing and schoolwork anxiety suppose, that cheating will relieve them of their angst and anxiety. Therefore, this pushes them to cheat rather than actually do the work and attempt to take a test. As young students begin to mature and take on more authority and obligations alongside school, they are forced to learn how to manage time. Struggling to grasp the concept of time management, students can turn to academic cheating as a way to free up time.Working jobs, learning to have more freedom (such as having a car and the ability to drive where and when you want), as well as having to study can be too much for some to handle.
This causes students to cheat so they don’t have to worry about doing schoolwork or studying. Relieving time restrictions by getting rid of studying frees up more time for the person, which is a big reason as to why cheating occurs. Rather than take the time to study, students feel as though the free time they have outside of school should be used doing what they would enjoy doing (such as shopping, hanging out with friends, or even just lying around watching television). In turn, this leads to them cheating to free up their time. Another cause of cheating is the inability to understand the consequences. When students don’t understand the consequences of cheating, they’ll continue to do it.
Most students who cheat also believe that they will never get caught, so they go along with it. Without any idea of a consequence and a promise of doing well, students who choose to cheat regard it as the best option. Some people might not even comprehend that they are cheating while they are doing it. While this may be more true for foreign students who aren’t caught up on Americans’ rules for academic cheating, going from instructor to instructor can show a difference in academic standards as well. Some instructors may not line up specific guidelines or standards or will even expect students to already know what counts as cheating and what does not. This causes students to cheat unintentionally as they had no comprehension of what they were doing.
This unintentional cheating goes hand-in-hand with not understanding consequences as clearly the student has no understanding that anything wrong is going on, causing them to not think anything detrimental would happen as a result. Self-talk is something used by everyone when choosing to make decisions. There’s one “voice” called the inner defender, where self-justification is used to defend someone’s actions. A student who cheats may choose self-justification to make their cheating seem okay. A number of students make say that they’ll only cheat one time, they wanted to catch up, they needed help, or even claim that everyone in the class cheats. This takes the guilt off of themselves for cheating as well as make it, in their own minds, seem okay.
This idea of cheating being okay (for any number of reasons similar to the examples above) is what causes students to act on the idea. The most important cause of academic cheating is peer pressure. Parents, teachers, and even friends can all be significant sources of peer pressure. With positive intentions, parents can apply peer pressure in that they want their child to succeed. Teachers also have high outlooks for their students as they want them to be successful in college and in future jobs (in other words, teachers have high expectations to help students graduate).
Both peer pressure from teachers and parents have good intentions, but they expect more than the student may be able to handle. This leads to academic cheating as students feel as though the good test grades will win their parents and teachers over rather than actually knowing the knowledge. The pressure of all the work and reputation the students have to live up to also causes academic cheating. Having just as much of an influence on the student as the teachers and parents is the friends. Friends want attention and want to have fun with each other, so the peer pressure to keep up a social life can scramble a student’s schedule. This causes students to cheat to keep up their good grades and keep their social life intact.
Peer pressure is the most important cause of academic cheating as it puts too high of expectations on students, so they feel as though academic dishonesty is the only route to go to be able to please everyone in their lives. The causes of academic cheating range from social pressures, anxiety, as well as the inability to understand certain skills such as managing time and thinking about consequences. Academic cheating can cause effects in social lives, self-esteem, and even legal consequences. Students will be unable to learn any information, must spend their energy on disciplinary action, and even face fines in real-life situations if they cheat or plagiarize.