Hot Topic: Cheating and the Nontraditional Student

You are taking a test. You notice another student has placed a notebook under his or her desk. It is sticking out and seems to have notes on it. Do you tell the teacher?

Another student takes out a cell phone in the hall right before a test. Do you look to see if that person is cheating… by looking at an answer key text message from another student?

These questions and more can arise for nontraditional students in both high school, trade school, and college classes.

I personally remember a cheat sheet being passed from hand to hand in drafting class when I was in 9th grade. I just knew my grade would not be terrific, but I just couldn’t use it, nor could I tell on the students who cheated. I was conflicted. But I hoped the other students would get caught. Why didn’t the teacher look up and see it? I hoped he would, but it didn’t happen.

Later, as a high school teacher, I found some students handing in papers that were exactly the same. I guess they thought I would not read them and they would get away with it. But I DID read both of them. Word for word. And they definitely did NOT get away with it. But they did not have a very severe penalty, as would have been the case in the high school I attended. (Like actually flunking the class….)

I do know that in college the cheating student DOES face expulsion for blatant cheating in some cases.

So is letting some people get away with cheating today actually condoning it? Is a slap on the wrist enough? Or should all students face more severe penalties?

Whether or not people are caught cheating, I know that it exists in all areas of society. All you have to do is turn on the news to hear about yet another scam or lie.

Once I was asked to sign papers saying I was at a non-existent meeting. I didn’t sign them. Another time, I discovered that some people covered up their mistakes by blaming somebody else. They actually forged an entire pile of paperwork to “prove” it. Luckily, I found the originals that had been changed. That made me feel a lot better to find that proof, even though I was not able to use it.

Cheating incidents happen every day, but this has not made me a negative person. I know there are plenty of people who believe in honesty. I like to think that MOST people are honest people and do not cheat.

When I was teaching, I did run across cheating in my classroom, and even caught some of the cheaters. But I believe that most of my students tried to do their best without cheating. And I believe that most people are honest people.

What is YOUR opinion?

Read more about this hot topic subject below:

This principal, John J. Brady, has a plan against cheating – and does not want to ignore the problem.


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The Nontrad site and blog
The Betsyanne page and blog
My Squidoo Pages and referral