Wed 25 Aug, 2010 09:14 am
Can students cheat and still become proficient in their future profession?---BBB
The Causes-and the Consequences-of Cheating
Friday, May 6, 2005
Editor's Note: The following piece was written in April by a current student who was caught cheating in a class and received sanctions from the Office of Student Judicial Affairs. Hal Reynolds, who forwarded this piece to the Daily Cal, is senior conduct officer in the Office of Student Life. To protect his identity, this student will remain anonymous.
Academic dishonesty is a serious problem and can have severe consequences that can have lasting effects on one's academic career. I am a good example of why one should not cheat on exams, since that exact situation recently happened to me. I was caught cheating on a Linguistics exam, am facing the consequences of it, and deserve to be penalized for it, though I know I am more fortunate than some who do the same thing.
In my case, I was caught reading notes in the restroom during my Linguistics final. My reasons for doing this were probably very common. Students frequently cheat on exams and papers because they feel overworked and overextended, without sufficient time to prepare and with too much information to memorize and reproduce. Sometimes they fail to make the time to study and prepare, and they look for easy solutions. This is especially true during finals, when intense exams occur in close proximity to one another. During finals, I was overworked and overextended, as are many students, and looked for an easy (and unethical) solution.
In addition, some students cheat because they fail to take certain subjects or courses seriously, or else they decide certain courses matter less than others. To meet requirements, one must take courses in one's weaker or less familiar subjects. Sometimes, students look for short cuts in these classes, since they are outside one's major and thus seem to matter less. In my case, my major is electrical engineering, a demanding and sometimes overwhelming subject. Linguistics is not my major and thus not my strongest subject. I thought I needed a bit of an advantage in order to get through the final exam and leave the course with a good grade, and I believed that I could get away with it. I realized rather belatedly that this is not true and that I was wrong to try it. Instead, while in the restroom, I was discovered looking at my class notes, trying to memorize enough information to pass.
Instead, my plans backfired. After being caught and confronted (which was the instructor's responsibility), I was placed on academic probation and required to write this essay. In ways, I feel very fortunate, since my probation will end provided I maintain a clean record and honest academic performance in the future. However, I also feel ashamed because I behaved dishonestly and have given my instructors and the administration the impression that I am unethical. Also, I have damaged my own academic record and must work hard in order to redeem myself and prove my honesty as a student.
In addition, I violated some of the university's most basic and explicit rules, which forbid academic dishonesty, do not take cheating lightly, and punish it accordingly. Universities often take a much stricter stance on cheating and punishments, ranging from giving Fs to expelling students from the school entirely, meaning that one's academic career and eventual professional career can be delayed or ruined by one's dishonest actions. Consequences like these should serve as strong deterrents against cheating, but, unfortunately, sometimes they do not, and many students still believe they can flout the rules. I am grateful that I was not expelled and am being given a chance to redeem myself, and I believe I will accomplish this by refraining from any further dishonest conduct and by performing honestly.
Cheating is also wrong because of its effects on others. It causes problems for the honest students by unfairly giving advantages to cheaters, making it harder for those who work hard to receive the grades they deserve. Also the faculty is inconvenienced by cheating because the time taken to identify and reckon with the problem distracts them from their teaching and research duties. Instructors devote themselves to academic honesty, and cheating by students is a form of betrayal.
In conclusion, I realize my mistake and apologize to the university for my actions, and at the same time I realize that my punishment is more than fair. I am grateful that the university is allowing me to continue. I hope that my example will convince other students to take their studies more seriously and to complete their work honestly, without using dishonest methods or relying on short cuts in order to gain an unfair advantage.