This article poses a scenario about cheating on a test at school and a series of questions that you can use to discuss this issue with your mentee. It also provides facts about cheating and helpful tips on how to help your mentee understand this issue and avoid cheating and similar behaviors.
Advice and Resources About
Cheating and the Honor Code
Cheating occurs when a person purposely acts dishonestly. This can range from plagiarizing homework to copying another person’s test answers to breaking rules set by the teacher.1 In recent years, cheating has become both easier and more widely tolerated than ever before.2 New technology, especially cell phones and the Internet, makes it easy to find test answers online and access them in the classroom. In addition, a growing culture of cheating — and of schools who fail to foster integrity — further encourages academic dishonesty.1
A variety of factors motivate students to cheat. Pressure to get good grades, poor study habits, and peer pressure- as well as the idea that everyone else is cheating — can all encourage cheating. While low-motivated students may not take the trouble to cheat, moderate to high achievers are more likely to cheat either to avoid doing the work themselves or to gain a competitive advantage (1). Some children may not even know what counts as cheating, or that cheating is wrong (2).
Cheating has severe consequences. By giving the cheater an unfair advantage over those who do not cheat, cheating hurts his or her classmates (1). Cheating also lowers self-esteem, since it carries with it the admission that a cheater is unwilling or unable to do his or her own work. Finally, by robbing the student of the opportunity to do the work, cheating impairs learning and leaves the individual less equipped down the road.
Fortunately, mentors can help to encourage mentees not to cheat by talking about it with them and using several techniques to prevent them from cheating. The article Cheating in School offers some specific suggestions on how to discuss this topic. Other resources in this section will give you a better understanding of why students cheat and provide guidance on how to discourage cheating.
1 Psychology Today: “Surviving (Your Child’s) Adolescence”
2 NY Times: Studies Find More Students Cheating, With High Achievers No Exception
NY Times: “To Stop Cheats, Colleges Learn Their Trickery.”