Academic dishonesty has been a serious problem over the years within the school system. It is not a surprise that it takes place at BSGE, since our school has such competitive and challenging courses including the IB Program. Academic dishonesty includes cheating during tests or plagiarizing documents for homework. Students often do these things for the sake of their grades, although most are cognizant of the consequences that follow if they are caught. Students may receive a zero for their assignments, or even have their parents notified. “In extreme cases, where a student is a repeated offender, Ms. Johnson will have to be notified and a meeting will be conducted to settle the issue,” says Mr. Wolov, BSGE’s 8th and 9th grade Humanities teacher.
To detect and avoid academic dishonesty, BSGE teachers have taken preventive measures. For example, high school students are sometimes required to hand in their digital assignments using Turnitin.com, a website that inspects every document turned in for originality. It compares the similarity of the document to every website on the Internet and even to other documents handed in for the same assignment. Thus, it makes it difficult for students to copy off each other without being caught. While taking tests, students are required to cover their work with three-sided manila folders to prevent others from looking at their tests. “Teachers should walk around the class more often because it’ll scare the students into thinking that cheating is too risky,” said an anonymous BSGE student.
Recently, it has been observed that more and more students are going to the bathroom during the middle of exams with their phones hidden in their pockets to search for answers online. “I think that teachers shouldn’t allow students to use the bathroom while the test is still in session because people can easily find answers with their phones,” the student adds. Teachers who have noticed these actions have gone further into their preventive measures. BSGE’s Chinese language teacher, Ms. Lily Shen, has created a new rule in Chinese class where students must give her their phones when they go to the bathroom during tests.
Another anonymous student shared their thoughts on academic dishonesty. “I’ve never personally cheated on a test, but I don’t think it’s a secret that other people do. Not just tests, but even day to day dishonesty like copying someone else’s homework. It’s not fair to people who took the time to genuinely complete it, and unfortunately it isn’t caught. People tend not to put so much weight on cheating during high school, but it’s not something you can get away with in the real world when you have a career. At that point, there are no second chances. High school is a time for mistakes, and the mistake of cheating should not be something people carry with them into the world.” So far at BSGE, academic dishonesty has been consistent throughout all grades. We should learn that cheating does not help us learn, but makes us rely on others more than we rely on ourselves. It will only benefit us if we realize how detrimental such actions can be. Students should realize that they are punished for academic dishonesty not for the sake of the teachers, but for themselves.