[Opinion] Students cheat because of the school system to get good grades


Dhaanya Balaji

Students set up phones in front of their laptops to hide online answers. They often do this to cheat on tests.

Jessie Gesund, Associate Editor-In-Chief

Students attend school everyday to gain knowledge and obtain new thinking skills, or so the school system says. Students are intended to go to class, study, take a test and repeat the same routine next week. Earning a high letter grade on an assignment not only can make students feel good about themselves, but it also impresses teachers and the school board.

The education system implements the objective that learning and getting good grades is more important than learning or taking care of oneself. The idea of having a perfect report card has led students to cheat, like getting answers from outside sources.

Pressure for students to get “good” grades ultimately leads them to go somewhere other than their own mind’s for answers. Whether it is answers from a friend or from a website, students will do just about anything to get the correct answers for an assignment. Even if one did pay attention in class, it has become imperative to get everything right.

Elementary school students have been taught since the first day of school that they should get good grades and try their best on assignments. They were taught by teachers and parents that A’s were exceptional and anything below that was either ‘just ok’ or ‘bad.’ However, a ‘B’ or ‘C’ letter grade on a test or assignment is an average score. They’re neither good nor bad. It depends on the students’ learning skills and efforts; however, students’ best efforts have become another student’s best efforts or Google’s finest resources.

Another reason students turn to cheating is due to being burnt out and giving up. They are given assignment after assignment, with the expectation that all of them are to be completed on time and with 100% accuracy. These assignments, along with extracurriculars and studying, infringe on personal time. They are overbearing and cause students to take the easy way out: cheating.

With the COVID-19 pandemic causing a gap in face-to-face teaching, students are behind in the learning process and their work. The education system acknowledges the struggles students are facing with being back in classrooms, but does nothing to relieve students’ stress. The school board wants students to succeed, but they should not expect the highest results when pupils are missing areas of knowledge and years of adapted learning habits because of the pandemic.

A majority of students thrive on academic validation, and cheating is an effortless way to receive desired grades. The 100% in the gradebook assures students that they are running on the right track, even if they took a shorter route.

Although cheating is unfair and dishonest, students will do anything to get exemplary grades. They are often aware that what they are doing can come with consequences, whether it is in the present day or in the future. Students who are caught cheating usually get automatic zeros or F’s, ultimately having to deal with the inerasable grade and scorn from their teachers and parents. However, students who continuously cheat find ways around teachers’ suspicions and the school system’s rules.

Teachers always ask why students cheat when they can just do the work themselves. The answer to their question is in the institution they work for: the school system. When students cannot reach the system’s standards, they are left to seek help from outside sources.

Instead of valuing letter grades, the school system should implement new ways to teach students how to value their knowledge. Students need to understand that cheating will not help them actually learn and grow. A suggestion would be to test them on their knowledge and apply it to their lives. On paper, they may be able to cheat, but they cannot cheat their way through reality.