Con: Taking a backroad to success

Ever since the start of the pandemic, it has become increasingly difficult for school administrators to monitor cheating as a result of at-home test taking. Therefore, students must take extra care to continue to act with integrity and maintain proper academically honest standards in order to combat these disadvantages. 

While the prospects of academic dishonesty may seem promising, especially during a time when many students are noticing sharp declines in both their grades and mental health, the liberties entrusted to students by teachers cannot be abused simply due to the circumstances. 

As teachers are unable to see their students in person and take good measure of their characters, they have had to give their students the benefit of the doubt because of unavoidable issues like technological malfunctions. Students who take advantage of these policies force teachers to institute excessive anti-cheating measures that inconvenience their peers and cause unneeded stress for teachers and students alike.

By participating in academic dishonesty, students are also robbing their peers the benefit of a fair grading curve, which is, albeit unfortunately skewed, not a system that will likely disappear in the near future. In addition, they are devaluing the effort their classmates have put in toward achieving their grades. And those who cheat because of pressure they’ve put on themselves to get good grades need to consider that what they are doing could cause their peers to face the very same fate they themselves are trying to avoid. 

Even for those without sympathy for their peers, one must consider that cheating has the potential to destroy one’s academic future in the blink of an eye, as exam grades can drop to zero and college acceptances can be rescinded.

Moral implications aside, one of the main reasons cheating is discouraged is because when students cheat, they do not learn as effectively or apply material as well on tests, which are only meant to measure performance and depth of knowledge so students can improve themselves. These materials are also necessary to continue in a class, as topics build on each other.

For example, searching up the answers on a chemistry test does not correlate to proficiency in stoichiometry, an important concept in other chemistry topics such as gas laws, and one that students will need to know if they choose to continue on to a higher level of chemistry. 

Students who study and successfully comprehend what they learn will be able to move forward in the field of their choice, while those who chose the path of academic dishonesty will find the same roads much more difficult because they chose to forgo necessary studies early on. 

It is also not as if the subjects students learn at school are completely irrelevant to daily life either. Certain courses have been implemented and taught in the curriculum for generations, and for good reason, for example classes such as history and science. 

By learning about the past, students will better understand why certain things happen the way they do in the present, and will more easily be able to make important decisions that will greatly affect the course of their futures like voting for a president. 

Learning the mechanics of how the world works scientifically is also important, because  everyday actions require the use of knowledge students learn in science. For example, when putting out a grease fire, it is important not to use water to avoid spreading the fire. Students who are proficient in relatively basic science would know to smother the fire, because fires are combustion reactions and therefore need oxygen to occur.

It simply isn’t worth the temporary relief when cheating to forsake not only your peers, but your own future. As they say, the only person getting cheated when you cheat is yourself.