Why Do Students Cheat on Assignments and Exams


Since time immemorial, students have been cheating on assignments and exams at all stages of their education. Instead of trying to catch them at cheating, it is better to discover the reasons why this is happening. Cheating has long become a disease of the modern times and it is probably quite impossible to eradicate this problem completely. Nowadays, students manage to cheat even in the course of online learning. The development of technologies has helped students to find more elaborate ways of cheating on assignments and exams. Although teachers and instructors are trying to combat the problem of cheating, their efforts in most cases come to null so that students continue to cheat in various circumstances and for a wide range of reasons. It is therefore important to analyze why students tend to cheat on assignments and exams. The paper below will examine a few top reasons why students cannot avoid cheating especially during the exams.

  1. As a rule, students cheat if they place a higher value on the grades rather than the efficiency of learning experience. According to the experts in this field, students feel that they should focus on the results of completing some assignments, rather than on the knowledge they acquire in the process of learning. When emphasis is placed on grades, students are more likely to cheat especially during such important event as exams. It needs to be noted that the assessment of students includes multiple-choice, matching, fill in the blank as well as true and false questions when it comes to testing. These types of assessment predispose students to cheating, because students want to get an excellent mark for the assignment. By contrast, if teachers want to assess the knowledge of students, they should rather ask them to give short answers to the questions or write an essay. These types of assessment will help to evaluate the knowledge gained by students in the course of learning, and it is often hard to cheat on such assignments.
  2. Another reason why students cheat on assignments is that sometimes they might lack confidence in their knowledge and abilities. Therefore, to make sure they complete the assignment properly, students choose to cheat. There are times when students are simply not sure that they will do well during the test, either because they consider themselves to be not smart enough, or because they know that they lack certain necessary skills. This facilitates a feeling that they will definitely fail during the exam, so the only option in this situation is to cheat.
  3. Furthermore, students tend to cheat if they feel pressure that they should definitely do well during the exam. This means that students often experience pressure on behalf of their parents and teachers who want students to get excellent grades and push them to enter the best college or university. However, students feel stress because of this pressure and want to succeed at all costs. They think that if their fail they will displease their parents and will not meet their expectations. Therefore, they choose cheating as a way out.
  4. There is also another tendency among students. It is revealed in the fact that students who feel like they are a part of the school community tend not to use cheating as the best way out of difficult situations. If students feel comfortable at school and are involved in the community activities, they place a greater value on their education. According to experts in this field, integrity of students and their honesty are the key factors that make students value their educational community disregarding their achievements in classroom. Students are likely not to feel like cheating if they are integrated in the school community and consider themselves to be a valuable part of it.
  5. Besides, students who feel that their teachers or instructors really care and are not indifferent to them are less likely to cheat on exams and assignments. This is directly related to the perception of students. If students see that their teacher cares about their achievements and is competent in his/her field of study, there is less probability that they will cheat. Nevertheless, disregarding the attitude of teachers to their students, if students perceive that their teacher is indifferent to the results of exams or achievements of students, they are more likely to cheat on assignments.
  6. Moreover, the major reason of why students cheat is revealed in their perception that everybody else is cheating. The majority of young people believe that cheating is something that should be punished. However, most young people have cheated at least once in their educational career. This probably explains why students tend to cheat on assignments and exams. They simply go with the flow and do what everyone else is doing. If the rest of the classroom cheats, a student will be more inclined to cheating him/herself.
  7. Another reason why students cheat is because it is an easy way of getting a good grade. Most students are faced with the problem of unrealistic requirements to their educational achievements by the educational authorities. Therefore, most of them are trying to find the easiest way out. Students are trying to excel in their educational career to fulfill the demands of the education boards. Survival instinct also plays a role here. This mechanism works as a trigger for students to “save face” and achieve good results during exams to ensure their future success. Students are trying to avoid parent’s dissatisfaction and embarrassment. And this is what makes them cheat on assignments in the school environment. 

To conclude, there may be listed many other reasons of cheating apart from those mentioned above. In any case, the problem of cheating remains and this problem should be tackled by the educational authorities to make sure that all students achieve the best results based on their knowledge and abilities, but not because they cheat. Teachers and parents should make efforts to solve the problem of cheating in the classroom environment. This has become harder to accomplish with the on-going technological advancement. However, if proper measures are taken, the problem can be at least mitigated, if not solved entirely.

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