Wednesday, September 12, 2012

How Common is Cheating? Can We Help?

The New York Times has a rather depressing article this week that really makes you think:

Studies Find More Students Cheating, With High Achievers No Exception 

Studies of student behavior and attitudes show that a majority of students violate standards of academic integrity to some degree, and that high achievers are just as likely to do it as others. Moreover, there is evidence that the problem has worsened over the last few decades. 

Experts say the reasons are relatively simple: Cheating has become easier and more widely tolerated, and both schools and parents have failed to give students strong, repetitive messages about what is allowed and what is prohibited. 

The article goes on to make some pretty clear points about why this might be happening, but I'm afraid the fact is cheaters are rewarded more than punished in our society.  Sure sometimes we will hear about CEOs or bad traders getting caught, but the risk factor still doesn't seem that bad (one can assume most of their spoils have been squirrel off shore by the time they serve a jail term).

Librarians can educate teens on what plagiarism is and how to avoid it when writing, but how can we, educate about integrity and the less tangible rewards it brings to a society?

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