Thursday, April 29, 2004

Cheating going up in classes? 

A faculty member sends this link to a story tonight on ABC Primetime on classroom cheating. The rationale students use is "it's prevalent, I have to in order to survive."
Joe is a student at a top college in the Northeast who admits to cheating regularly. Like all of the college students who spoke to Primetime, he wanted his identity obscured.

In Joe's view, he's just doing what the rest of the world does.

"The real world is terrible," he told Gibson. "People will take other people's materials and pass it on as theirs. I'm numb to it already. I'll cheat to get by."

Primetime heard the same refrain from many other students who cheat: that cheating in school is a dress rehearsal for life. They mentioned President Clinton's Monica Lewinsky scandal and financial scandals like the Enron case, as well as the inconsistencies of the court system.

"Whether or not you did it or not, if you can get the jury to say that you're not guilty, you're free," said Will, a student at one of the top public high schools in the nation.

Mary, a student at a large university in the South, said, "A lot of people think it's like you're not really there to learn anything. You're just learning to learn the system."

Michael Josephson, founder of the Josephson Institute for Ethics, the Los Angeles-based organization that conducted the 2002 survey, said students take their lead from adults.

"They're basically decent kids whose values are being totally corrupted by a world which is sanctioning stuff that even they know is wrong. But they can't understand why everybody allows it."
So it's not only that students don't behave with integrity when nobody is looking. Is it any wonder that honor codes have practically disappeared from university student handbooks?