Dealing with the problem of cheating in schools

Cheating in examinations is as old as language. It is dateless. In the Garden of Eden, when Eve did the horrible and unexpected, she blamed it on the serpent (Devil) for the delusion. She did not take any personal responsibility, and neither did her husband Adam. This is the Biblical trace of the genesis of cheating.
Zachariah Mayaka Nyamosi
Zachariah Mayaka Nyamosi

Cheating in examinations is as old as language. It is dateless. In the Garden of Eden, when Eve did the horrible and unexpected, she blamed it on the serpent (Devil) for the delusion. She did not take any personal responsibility, and neither did her husband Adam. This is the Biblical trace of the genesis of cheating.

Consequently, students caught cheating in exams blame it on the Devil too. Most of them claim that they did it the first time out of sheer temptation. They say they “tried to stop but he pounced on them again and again.”

Interestingly, examination bodies across the world have over the years proposed and ratified a raft of measures to curb cheating and punish those who contravene the laws. However, very little or nothing has been done to nip the causes of cheating in the bud.

Whenever cheating in examinations becomes the subject of discussion, you hear of strict examination invigilation regulations and condign punishments for culprits. Over the years all intellectual energies have been directed to suppression rather than absolute elimination or reduction (at the worst) of the problem.

Cheating, first of all, is a morality issue. It is not a phenomenon whose specter is peculiar to education institutions. It is a product of societal rot and imbalance. More often than not, people from all walks of life find themselves ‘obliged’ to cheat when they find themselves pressed between a rock and a hard place. It is a way of life across all the echelon of power and influence and a means of survival.

Cheating is an inherent dogmatic human weakness that is monumental and grotesque. Political strategists capitalize on deceit and ‘psychiatry’ manipulations to win elections. This can be clearly witnessed in the US Democratic and Republican campaigns that are now entering the home stretch.

To effectively deal with cheating in education institutions the causes of cheating should be closely examined and given careful thought. Having candidates sitting 1m north, south, east and west of each other can shatter the possibilities of cheating but not eliminate it from the character and idiosyncrasies of the candidates.

Why do students cheat in examinations? One would quickly say that it is because they do not read or work hard. Well. True. But is this all?

“Kids cheat when they become stressed,” explains Anderman, an American Psychology Professor, who says that as the pressure to get good grades and high test scores increases, so does the incidence of cheating. Anderman says that although children who cheat in school do not fit any defined profile, they’re usually students “who are much more focused on getting good grades and extrinsically motivated rather than intrinsically motivated by a desire to learn.”

That means that the more pressure students feel, the more likely they are to resort to cheating.

Rose Garrett proposes a number of things that parents can do to help make sure their children get the most out of their education by getting past the impulse to cheat;

Take Pressure Off. Kids often cheat because they see it as the only way to measure up to high expectations. Although it’s good to expect the most from your kids, make it clear that you expect them to do their best, not be the best.

Set a Good Example. Think your teen doesn’t notice what you do? Think again. Younger kids may mimic a parent’s behavior, but older adolescents will jump on hypocrisy wherever they see it. Either way, it’s best to be a role model for your kids, and that means putting the brakes on “white” lies and shortcuts to get what you want the easy way. Be sure to share personal stories about cheating and lying with your child, too: it’s important to show that you’re not so perfect after all!

Avoid Extrinsic Motivation. Praising your child every time he comes home with a good grade is standard parenting procedure, but make sure that you’re sending the right message. Avoid punishing your child for low grades and rewarding him for high ones. Instead, emphasize the concept of effort by recognizing the hard work he put into his work, and encouraging better effort in problem areas.

Know the News. Sports stars, politicians, and high-powered businesspeople are constantly in the news over all kinds of misbehavior, from doping and lying to insider trading and fraud. Use these cases as “teachable moments” to talk about moral values, and emphasize that even though some people act dishonestly to get ahead, it’s still not okay for you or your child to do the same.

Talk About It. “One of the most important things parents can do is talk to kids about how they are feeling academically and whether they are feeling stressed,” says Anderman. Opening up a dialogue about tough classes does more than inform you about where your child is struggling: he’ll know that you’re on his side when it comes to that killer math test or demanding paper, and be more likely to come to you with problems rather then dealing with them the wrong way.

The problem of cheating is byzantine. It requires a holistic policy approach as well as societal purification.

 

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