Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Is High School Cheating the New Normal?

Has high school cheating on exams become the new normal? Eagle Forum's current Education Reporter reports that cheating at many levels of U.S school and college systems took place last year. Students at an elite New York City public high school cheated in order to win acceptance to elite colleges. Stuyvesant High School is a public high school in Manhattan that is particularly prestigious because four of its graduates are Nobel Prize winners. Admission is competitive and based on scores on a city-wide exam. Some of the students, when surrounded by a lot of smart students, resorted to panic and cheated, and then rationalized their actions. One student told the New York Times, "If I keep my integrity, I'll fail the test -- No way [am I going to do that]!"

Methods used to cheat at Stuyvesant ranged from old-fashioned to high tech: students wrote formulas on their person, or on the inside of a water bottle; they collaborated with others on take-home exams; they used smart phones to text questions and answers; and to photograph and send texts to students who would take the same test later in the day.

Somewhere along the way, these students failed to learn that integrity is a precious commodity. The school newspaper took a survey of the students and then reported that 80% admitted they had cheated.

It's not just students; it's teachers, too. Aspiring teachers in three states paid to have another person take the test that enabled them to get teaching jobs. In several states, educators changed students' answers on achievement tests so their school would rank higher on national scores.

It's interesting to contrast Stuyvesant with the West Point cheating scandal in the 1950s, when 90 cadets including football players were expelled and the next year, Army lost all but two of its football games. West Point chose damage to its football victories over condoning cheating. Where is that kind of integrity today? football, but it's OK to send my daughter to fight in Afghanistan.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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