There are many ways that students cheat. The most obvious way is looking at another student's paper during an exam. Some students often bring in "cheat sheets," which contain answers to exam questions. Students may often copy off from a friend or colleague when writing a paper or putting together a project. Plagiarism is another form of cheating. In this instance, the student is stealing another person's work; and this is most often likely to occur when one takes sources from the internet and uses them as his own.
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Students who are caught cheating in elementary or high school will likely be punished in a way that differs from that of college students. For example, the student will be given an "F" or a zero on the assignment or test. The student's parents will usually be called or a note will be sent home; and the student may be sent to the principal’s office.
Cheating in college is a more severe offense. At many universities students caught cheating will be given a failing grade for the entire course. They will also have to meet in front of a student disciplinary board. In most cases the student will be put on academic probation for a first offense. If that same student is caught cheating again during his time in college, he will most likely be expelled. From the articles I was reading it seems a great many students cheat on projects and exams, now more than ever. So how do we weigh the consequences? And what are some of the reasons for this epidemic called cheating?
The order of punishments from the least severe to the most severe is as follows:
- A warning (wherein the student is simply told not to do it again).
- A failing grade for the assignment, or (if in college) a failing grade for the whole term.
- Academic probation (this means that the student is under very careful watch. If caught again, he will not get another chance and will be asked to leave the school immediately).
- Suspension (the student will be forced to leave the school for a period of time, usually either a semester or a full year).
- Expulsion (this means that the student must leave school and never return).
It must be remembered that all of these forms of punishment can reflect negatively on a student. Students who are caught cheating may develop a bad reputation among teachers, parents, administrators and even other students. Students who are academically honest may alienate the cheating student. Teachers may place more pressure on a student who they know has cheated. A student who has cheated may find it difficult to maintain a positive relationship with school administrators. The student's parents may also become disappointed with the student.
And finally, the consequences of such actions may carry negative effects once the student enters into the ‘real world’. But the most important consequence of cheating is the lack of learning that occurs when students spend more time focusing on how they are going to cheat than on the given material. Even students who don't get caught cheating experience this consequence. Some may find that when they go to take college entrance or placement tests, they are unable to place into a high enough level to maintain enrollment in the college.
So, the next time a student is tempted to cheat, he must realize that it is not worth the effort and that it is better to spend some time learning the course material. No one wants to get caught and suffer the consequences of cheating. It is simply not worth it. One article I skimmed through suggested that cheating can lead to cycles of unethical behavior later on in life. The best advice is to knuckle down and study. If one needs help, he should consult a parent, a tutor or the university writing center for additional help.