Why kids cheat

This one writes itself.

Says the Associated Press:

In the past year, 30 percent of U.S. high school students have stolen from a store and 64 percent have cheated on a test, according to a new, large-scale survey suggesting that Americans are too apathetic about ethical standards.

Educators reacting to the findings questioned any suggestion that today’s young people are less honest than previous generations, but several agreed that intensified pressures are prompting many students to cut corners.

Sixty-four percent cheat? There are some standardized tests where the barely 64-percent passed!

ONe of the questions asked kids to respond to the assertion that “in sports, if you’re not cheating, you’re not trying hard enough.” Thirteen percent of boys agreed. But the real question is how what percentage of that percentage is on the team?

Perhaps more disturbing than the numbers is the ease with which some education officials dismissed them. Perhaps it’s not really about the “pressures society puts on them.”

The survey was done by the Josephine Center at the Institute for Youth Ethics. They were smart enough to ask the kids if they were being honest in answering the questions. Almost 30 percent said “no.”

  • brian

    I would have had to check yes on that survey. I hadn’t prepared well enough for a test and looked at someone else’s paper. I felt really guilty afterward and have never did it again.

    I’m sure most people have cheated on something at some point in their lives. I don’t think we should write off the next generation as ethically challenged just yet. I think “a test” is the important phrase in the question. If 64% of High school students regularly cheat on tests, that would be more shocking.

  • JohnnyZoom

    Piggybacking brian’s comment, I would love to know the distribution of how much high school students cheat. If, say, 80% of those who did cheat did so twice at most, that is quite a bit less problematic than the superficial implication of the study. High school is four years after all.

    Of course, maybe most cheaters are habitual. But in the end we don’t know.

    I wonder what the sports question meant by cheating. Pushing the envelope of how the rules are enforced is an integral part of competitive sports (e.g., liberalization of the walking rule, or charging rule, in basketball). That makes me doubt that is what they meant, as getting caught cheating in this way still finds you “within” the rules of the game.