Despite the Honor Code, is there Rampant Cheating at Woodgrove?

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Written by Managing Editor Alivia McAtee and Social Media Manager Ali McBride

We’ve all been there – it’s the night before an assignment is due, and you can’t see the end of the tunnel. It seems like you’ll never finish. You consider your options: turn it in on time but incomplete, or turn it in late but finished. But then, a third option crosses your mind; you could ask a friend if you could copy this work, and then turn the assignment in on time and complete. Unfortunately, it seems an overwhelming amount of students choose the last option. A survey by ABC News revealed that over 74% of American high school students admitted to cheating on a test within the past year. Despite the honor code, the Woodgrove student body seems to be no exception.

No teacher condones cheating, but some go to great lengths to prevent it. English teacher In Sim is wary of the various ways students cheat. One way she tries to combat it is by making students zip their phones in their backpacks at the beginning of tests, and not letting kids take home copies of past quizzes and tests. By staying vigilant, Sim has been able to catch lots of kids cheating, and has set them straight.

Science Teacher Erin Barrett has noticed a sharp incline in cheating over recent years with the rise of technology.

“Cheating’s gotten so bad that I alternate [test] versions between rows, and I alternate versions between classes. It’s a lot of work on me, but if I want to protect the security and the value of my test, it’s unfortunately what I have to do,” said Barrett.

Mrs. Barrett, like most teachers, emphasizes the process of problems, and strives to make sure that students understand concepts, rather than just cheating to get by. Teacher availability in the mornings, during flex and open lunch, and even after school are all there to help students in reaching this goal of understanding. Teachers have noticed that cheating goes down when they make homework assignments doable and provide resources for help.

Mrs. Barrett also wants students to realize that if you witness cheating and don’t speak up, you are guilty by association.

“Students should at least leave an anonymous note on my desk,” said Barrett.

A lot of faculty shares the belief that it’s in the best interest of the kid to get caught and learn their lesson early on, or else cheating could become a habit students take with them to college and the workforce. In the real world, the consequences can be more serious, such as being expelled from your university. In 1994, a huge cheating scandal resulted in 24 Midshipmen being expelled from the Naval Academy, costing each over $90,000 to repay their tuition and stipend. In 2001, a similar situation at the University of Virginia put 158 students on trial in front of the Honor Committee after their physics professor found undeniable similarities between their papers. Multiple students were expelled, and those who were expelled after they walked at graduation had to redo their last semester in order to keep their diploma. These students had most likely been cheating their whole life, but the scandals could have been avoided if they had been caught in high school and broken the habit.

“How do we trust this precious generation? America’s future is in your hands,” said Sim, emphasizing the importance of honesty today and in the future.

Of course, the goal is always to keep the students’ best interest in mind. If a student is caught cheating in Math Teacher Jeff Schutte’s class, he will work with the student, their parents, and administration to try and decide what the best consequence is. His intention isn’t to make the student’s life torture, but rather to

“Make sure they don’t do it again” said Schutte.

Next time, when signing the honor code that heads every quiz and test, think about what it means. “On my honor, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid on this assignment.”

Signing in agreement to these words means that not only will you be held responsible if you are caught cheating, but that you are pledging to work with honor.