[pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]cheating & plagiarism have increased[/pullquote]
Studies indicate that cheating and plagiarism have increased in recent years, including among students who are successful academically.
This phenomenon became a major topic of discussion not too long ago with cheating scandals uncovered at some major high schools and universities, including Harvard. Experts attribute the rise in cheating to a few factors, such as increased access to the internet, a lack of understanding of what plagiarism entails and a greater need for schools and parents to emphasize what academic integrity means.
One survey of Yale undergraduates, for instance, showed that students had never read the university’s policy on academic integrity; most were unsure of the rules about sharing their work.
[pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]three-fifths of high school students admit they cheated[/pullquote]
In another survey the Josephson Institute of Ethics found that about three-fifths of high school students admit they cheated in the last year.
It has been shown that unethical behaviour tends to increase when it’s easier to do. Now that kids can cut, paste and copy from the internet, with little understanding of where information comes from or who owns it, cheating can be simpler than ever.
Cheating is when a student obtains or tries to obtain credit for work in dishonest or deceptive ways. It can include lying, copying from another student, discussing answers during a test, using cheat sheets or using copies of an exam without the teacher’s permission.
Plagiarism is when a student uses the work or ideas of another person without properly giving credit to the source of the information. The original author must be credited through proper footnotes, quotations or commentary.
Every school has a code of conduct that outlines what behaviour is and isn’t permissible. Cheating and plagiarism violate academic standards and can result in disciplinary actions.
If your child is caught cheating, it’s important that you get involved. Speak to your child’s teacher or principal to discuss what behaviour occurred and what consequences will be implemented.
Sit down with your child to discuss their behaviour. It’s important to ensure your child understands why what they did was wrong and what they can do next time to avoid cheating. In some cases it may be a case of misunderstanding. In others, it may have been deliberate. Either way, it needs to be addressed.
Explain that independent thinking, honesty and integrity are important parts of the education process and are required as they grow into adults. Tell them they can approach you for help if they need it or are confused about how to complete an assignment or study for a test.
[pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Peer pressure[/pullquote]
If they are being pressured into helping others cheat, talk to them about what is going on at school. Peer pressure can be difficult to resist, and kids must learn the tools they need to overcome peer pressure and do the right thing.
[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] it’s important to reinforce what is and isn’t acceptable[/pullquote]
Research has shown that reinforcing standards can decrease cheating, but schools may not be doing this enough. This is when it might be time to insist your child’s school review the rules about things like how the internet should be used in an academic setting. Plagiarism policies and internet behaviour can be confusing, and it’s important to reinforce what is and isn’t acceptable. Even if the rules have already been discussed, it might be time for a reminder.