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Cheater, Cheater, Pumpkin Eater

By , palatine, IL
It is estimated that more than 75% of high school students have cheated at least once during their four years at high school. This means that only one out of four students have not cheated during high school. School is often thought of a place to enrich children and broaden their horizons. School is a place for learning and obtaining information. Most kids push this common belief aside, and rather than learning and bettering themselves, they use any means necessary to get their desired grades. One of the most extreme ways to get the grades is cheating. Cheating does not teach a student anything; it won’t make them any smarter, so why do they do it? The amount of pressure applied the average high school student is so intense nowadays that these overwhelmed students are willing to go to great lengths to perform to their best ability. There are demands coming from every aspect of a high school student’s life, and it is not uncommon for someone to take the easy way out and cheat.

One day in Spanish class, we were taking a test. The girl sitting next to me began to ask me for answer to some of the questions on the test. This girl didn’t strike me as particularly hard working. She was always looking over someone’s shoulder and scribbling in her answers to the homework while everyone else was reciting the pledge. And when it came time for review games, it became obvious that she didn’t study much. This girl never paid much attention in class, and rather than copying down the notes from the PowerPoint, she would be doodling flowers and hearts in her notebook. But for the meek amount of effort she put into Spanish class, she was super concerned about her grade. She constantly asked the teacher what score she got on our most recent quiz, or the project we just finished, or her total percent for the class. This girl did not care to obtain any information; she just wanted a passing grade. I don’t know much background on her, but I do know that she played sports, and to be involved with sports, she had to have all passing grades. Like most juniors, she was looking into colleges, and these days, getting into college is no joke. A well-rounded student will not necessarily get into any college of their choice, and if money is an issue, there is even another added component of getting the grade to help receive a scholarship.

Imagine being in a class and you were not graded on anything. You were simply in the class to gain knowledge. The pressure to get a good grade, and therefore pressure from your parents, coaches, colleges, and even yourself, would be removed. You would have little reason to cheat. Not that everyone does cheat, but the thought does cross many minds. But if you were in this class without any pressure, would it even just cross you mind? Probably not. And rather than being so overly concerned with your grade, you would be able to focus on absorbing information. After all, that really is what school is all about.

Pressure can come from so many directions at once, causing a student to do whatever it takes to get straight A’s. Every parents wants their child to succeed, but it can get over the top. When so much stress is placed upon a child from their parents, they want to please them. Also, for juniors and seniors, it is a huge deal to get into a college that they want. Many students are willing to cheat a little here and there just to make sure their grades are good enough to get into the college of their choice. Some students even come up with crazy schemes to cheat on the ACT or SAT, two of the huge deciding factors in which college you will go to. Students even experience pressure from coaches, because it the athlete doesn’t have good enough grades, they will be ineligible to play in their sport. Many students even have pressure from themselves, to see how far they can push themselves. They might also have anxiety from peers because they want to do better than their classmates. Students will turn in work that is not their own, look at the person sitting next to them’s scantron, or even hide notes on their lap while taking a quiz. While these are some more extreme measures, I am willing to bet very few people have never copied down the last few answers on a homework assignment from a friend while walking down a hallway. Students would rather cheat than get just a couple of points taken off their homework grade. School is focused too much on getting good grades, when it should be focused on enriching students. Because of so much pressure applied to students, they are not even the least bit concerned about learning things in school.





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