Feeling the pressure of being a first year student, a freshman whose name will remain anonymous, made the decision to copy his friend’s math homework. “I felt lazy and had other things to do that were more of a priority,” he said. He felt that his other classes were more important than “doing a bunch of stupid math problems.”
According to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, about 70 percent of students admit that they have engaged in academic dishonesty at least once. Cheating has become an ever-growing problem on college campuses and students are finding it easier to cheat to make it through college rather than studying.
“Why are people so scared of their own ideas?” Dr. Charlie McCormick asked. He said that he didn’t understand why students were so afraid to express their own thoughts when they would benefit from it much greater. According to the philadelphiainquirer.com, most students cheated because they thought everyone else was doing it.
“Everyone in my class cheats,” the freshman said. “My teacher is always picking on me and my friend. I walked into class and he said, ‘You might not want to copy each other’s homework,’ calling me out in front of the class.”
McCormick said, “[Students] feel that it is ok to cheat as long as they get by. We are not exactly sure what motivates cheaters though.”
“I would do my homework and [my friend] would do hers. I just didn’t want to do my homework this one time. We got caught because we did the same problem and we both got another one wrong,” the freshman said. He also said that this was the first time he had ever been caught cheating.
Cabrini College has a strict academic honesty policy. When a student is first charged with cheating, a violation form is filed and a hearing with the Academic Honesty Board if requested by the student. If the student is caught cheating for a second time, they are automatically removed from the class and receive a failing grade without the option of withdraw.
Now, though, many schools aren’t just letting the cheaters go unnoticed. In many schools across the nation, cheaters are getting the grade “XF” put on their academic transcripts. This “XF” grade will show that the student failed due to cheating.
Schools hope that this new grade will make students think before they decide to cheat. However, the grade is only temporary. “XF” will remain on their transcripts until their sanctions are completed.
The problem that many students have with this “XF” grade is that it could make it complicated to get into graduate school or make it harder to qualify for a job in a professional field.
Bryan Shinehouse, a sophomore history and political science major, is on the Cabrini College Academic Honesty Board. He said, “It seems like a good idea.” Shinehouse said that he thought that it would save graduate study programs “a lot of time and the decision process would be easier.”
“You’re in college and this is your career. There is no reason for college students to cheat,” freshman special education major Kerry Henry said.
Cabrini has not thought about making the “XF” grading a policy apart of their academic honesty policy.
Dr. Thomas Stretton, assistant professor of education and a member of the Academic Honesty Board, said, “Teachers are now making efforts to assign projects that make the possibility of plagiarizing harder if not impossible.”
If the freshman had the chance to do it over again he said, “I would have taken a little bit more time to do my homework. It wasn’t worth it in the end.” He said he will never be cheating again and that it wasn’t worth the embarrassment and consequences for just copying a math problem.
His cheating is not going to be heard in front of the Academic Honesty Board, but he is still receiving two zeros for his homework grade.