To Cheat or not to Cheat
Not long ago, The Oak Leaf reported that 75% of all high school students in America cheated on quizzes or exams and that percentage would be higher if it included copying homework, up to 90%. It is about time that students take responsibility for their own actions and own up to their responsibilities when it comes to their school work.
**I believe that sharing information and studying together and even making cheat sheets should not be denied, but using cheat sheets in a testing environment is a very different story. The act of even writing a cheat sheet often causes the student to remember what he has written. Rewriting information on a piece of paper can be a useful study tool. Anything that can help you to memorize important information should be allowed. To allow students to use cheat sheets during tests is unfair to the students who are taking time to study. Why should these students have an unfair advantage? Many students spend countless hours studying and working hard to get good grades without cheating while others just copy from others to achieve the same goals. This hardly seems fair. Cheating in school may lead to cheating in other areas of our lives as we get older. This is not what we want our society to look like.**
You state in your letter that cheating may actually reveal foresight and denounce cheating as "dishonesty", when in fact cheating is dishonest. If you were to look up the definition of cheating in the dictionary, one entry would show that cheating is "to take an examination or test in a dishonest way, as by improper access to answers. Helping someone study and making cheat sheets to help memorize information is one thing, but using cheat sheets during an examination should not be acceptable. If everyone used cheat sheets for tests, I would imagine that no one would learn much of anything if they never had to retain the information.
Charity is giving to someone in need, but suppose the charity we give to others in helping them with examinations and quizzes should be the charity of our time and helping them to study. We should teach people to think for themselves instead of giving them the answers. There is an old saying, "Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime"-Author unknown.
We all want to be successful in school and in life and to that end we should make studying for tests and quizzes easier for our students. We need to make a commitment to better ourselves, as students, as teachers, and as an institution. We need to let go of our selfish interests and do what is best for our students. Let us start with an institution, such as SRJC, that has to uphold its reputation as one of the best Junior Colleges in the nation by maintaining the highest standards and punishing any student caught cheating. SRJC should allow the faculty more time for office hours with students and study labs. Teachers could learn to make their curriculum and assignments easier to understand and make study outlines clear and concise. Students would have to take it upon themselves to commit to studying more, whether alone or with study groups, either in person or online.
While I realize that there are many other urgent matters to worry about these days , the key to being successful is commitment in any democracy. If we all band together to make a commitment to set an example for the rest of our communities and show them that the easy way out is not the best way out then we would all learn to have more respect for ourselves and others. Enforcing ethical academic conduct should be everyone's business and we should all take the high road and get rid of the negative practice of cheating and start being accountable for our actions and take pride in our work and our moralistic behavior. We all want a better society and I think this could be a good start.