Cheating threatens every student’s academic integrity and future

While the tablet program has been beneficial to McNick’s student body as a whole, the ease of being able to send homework assignments or test questions through e-mail has certainly become an issue. Though it may be easier to simply send an e-mail than copy notes during class, it has also become easier for teachers and administrators to catch cheating. Email trails, time stamps, and student names are often plastered all over documents and help those in charge catch those who decide to cheat.

What many students don’t understand is that cheating can cause them a world of problems. Some may feel that by copying someone else’s work, they will receive a better grade. However, they are only setting themselves up to fail. Though cheating may allow for a higher grade temporarily, being unaware of the information presented in class will yield an unsatisfactory grade when it comes time for a test.

Looking at someone else’s answers is academic dishonesty; it is the stealing of someone else’s intellectual property. By definition, cheating is to act dishonestly or unfairly to gain an advantage. While cheating is not by any means rampant in McNick and it is never condoned. Theology teacher Sam Roflow believes that the tablet program has made it easier for students to share assignments and copy answers.

“You could cheat in the past, but technology amplifies our ability to cheat,” Roflow said.

Purchasing essays online, using the snipping tool, and using the copy and paste feature make cheating much easier to accomplish today than before. In just a few seconds, students can attach homework answers to an e-mail, which can be sent to whomever they desire. It is by no means moral, and definitely traceable.

“As Christians, we are called to rise above [cheating] and be better than the temptation,” Student Moderator Gerard Kissel said.

As humans, we are often tempted to take the easy way out when we know there is little chance that we will get caught, which makes cheating as much of a moral issue as it is an academic one. When integrity is compromised through cheating, any credibility that students have acquired could diminish as well. As a whole, cheating presents a greater long term problem that most students aren’t aware of.

The student handbook states that when a student has been caught cheating, the teacher is to call the parents and notify them that the incident occurred, a report will be sent to Mr. Kissel, and from there a Saturday school will be issued. Should another offense of cheating take place, the original consequences will occur, however suspension or expulsion can occur if offenses continue. Cheating offenses also automatically remove a student from Mardi Gras nominating, voting, and the court list. However, cheating is far less tolerable in a college setting, where high standards of integrity are enforced. Instead of issuing a Saturday School, universities will be much more likely to expel students who choose to cheat.

It is of utmost importance for high school students to break these habits while they still can. It only takes 15 days to create a habit and 30 days to break it. If the habit is made now, and carried on to higher forms of education and even a job, that could create an ideal that is not worth the few points received for a homework assignment in high school.

While it’s not acceptable to tell someone else what questions are on an upcoming test, some teachers will permit their students to talk about the general format of the test with those who have yet to take it. Instead of going into detail about the material that is on the test, stick to the basics – don’t give away the answers. On homework, help a student work through the problem instead of just giving the answer. This will adequately allow them to understand the material while still getting the correct answer. In a recent survey of 100 McNicholas students and teachers, more than half understand what constitutes cheating. The bars on the chart indicate those who answered yes to the questions.

In the student handbook, the policy outlines that any use of online notes site is considered academic dishonesty and therefore not to be used as a substitute for any literary reading and notes. There are by no means exceptions to any kind of cheating, benign or major, and therefore will be addressed efficiently and correctly in order to keep the academic integrity of McNicholas students intact.

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