Expediency might be one reason for cheating, but I'm not sure its the main reason. In fact, strangely, young people will sometimes go to greater lengths to cheat than to study for a test. Occasionally, this is due to boredom. Studies indicate that there is a high correlation between certain pedagogical practices and cheating behavior: lack of clarity in a lesson, perceived lack of relevance, and too few tests offered in a grading period are just a few examples. I've even wondered at times if cheating isn't some form of student protest against certain types of curricular or pedagogical factors. One mathematics teacher had an interesting insight into a student who had gone to elaborate lengths to program his calculator to outsmart his teacher.
"I can't help but believe that a student who is so capable in using technology, couldn't ace an Algebra test. Also, I find when I prepare a test with calculator use, I emphasize the problem solving aspect, not the calculation. Those real world applications which we are encouraged by (the NCTM) Standards to employ in our classes actually defeat the need to cheat in classes, or don't provide the opportunity to cheat."
Without wishing to appear to be blaming teachers, it is necessary to point out that the way we present our curricula and the type of assessments that we offer can influence cheating behavior. We need to demonstrate to students why it is important for them to know the material we are presenting and the purpose it will serve in the bigger context of their studies and lives.
Continued on page 3.
* Choosing a Prep School
* Can I Choose a School on My Own?
* Where Do I Start?