Temptation

Everybody Does It: Academic cheating is at an all-time high.
Can anything be done to stop it?

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Not only is cheating on the rise nationally – a 2005 Duke University study found that 75 percent of high school students admit to cheating, and if you include copying another person’s homework, that number climbs to 90 percent – but there has also been a cultural shift in who cheats and why.

The article concludes that those most vulnerable to academic cheating are good students—

“It’s not the dumb kids who cheat,” one Bay Area prep school student told me. “It’s the kids with a 4.6 grade-point average who are under so much pressure to keep their grades up and get into the best colleges. They’re the ones who are smart enough to figure out how to cheat without getting caught.”

win-at-all-costs athletes—

Athletes in the high-profile male sports such as football, baseball and basketball are more willing to cheat than other athletes. The one women’s sport that yields similar results is softball. For generations, sports have been perceived as an endeavor that builds character and instills positive values in youth. These study results, released in February, prompted many to ask: Just what are the coaches teaching these kids?

and college students—

a junior at the University of Southern California, says, “Everyone cheats. There is no cushion, so you have to do well; there isn’t a choice. In college, there is no room for error. You cannot fail. You refuse to fail. People become desperate, so they’ll do anything to do well. That’s why people resort to paying others to do their papers. Because you feel: Mess up once and you are screwed. The end.”

living in our popular culture—

Ethicist Josephson says, “The rule of thumb we use is: Whatever you allow you encourage. So whether they’re seeing it with Enron or Barry Bonds or Paris Hilton, somewhere here or there, they are seeing people get away with stuff. The truth is they don’t have to look further than their own high school. There is so much cheating going on in their own school by their own colleagues, with their teachers looking the other way, in a way that almost looks like passive approval. There’s a culture that begins to develop, when you see people do this, and it provides the moral cover they need to insulate themselves from a conscience. It’s like saying, ‘Come on, I’m not the only one, it’s happening all the time.’

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