To combat the recently reported dramatic rise in cheating among college and university students, these institutions should adopt honor codes similar to Groveton’s, which calls for students to agree not to cheat in their academic endeavors and to notify a faculty member if they suspect that others have cheated. Groveton’s honor code replaced an old-fashioned system in which students were closely monitored by teachers and average of thirty cases of cheating per year were reported. The honor code has proven far more successful in the first year it was in place, students reported twenty-one cases of cheating, five years later this figure had dropped to fourteen. Moreover, in a recent survey conducted by Groveton honor council, a majority of students that they would be less likely to cheat with an honor code than without
I take a very difficult exam. I have to study for about one week. But I do not. I read a bit every day and I feel calm, because I know I will be able to cheat. Everybody knows that, but some of my group mates study a lot. They study for themselves, for the future or because they are really interested in that subject. I am not interested at all. After the exam we find out that all students got good marks. But somebody is not satisfied or jealous, so he goes and tells the lecturer the names of those people who cheated. He tells my name too. I am very upset- not because I have cheated, but because I can trust nobody in my group. How could I be so stupid and tell that man such a simple thing…
Cheating is a very popular phenomenon in our country. In other countries the prevalence of cheating differs. And it is a problem of educational system, not of students. When the disciplines are interesting and useful, students are fond of learning, not of cheating. But the worst thing is that nobody can change this system rapidly: it requires much time, money and hard work.
Firstly, honors code like Groveton’s ruins the relationships between students. A student can not trust anybody and tell that he is going to cheat. That is, he has to lie to his mates that he knows a lot, that he has studied for weeks. And it is very difficult (I would say impossible) to find real friends from the university environment. For example, I would not call a friend such a man, to whom I have to lie, who can lodge a complaint against me after every test or exam. The most important thing in friendship is trust and freedom to talk, share impressions. Sometimes it is so great to tell a real friend: “That was the best cheating in my life…”
In our society lots of students’ best friends are from their course. If students would have to sign an honor code, the relationships between them changed a lot. There could be no talk about marriages between group mates, because what is a marriage without trust and supporting a spouse? Or there could be another way out of such situation: to break an oath and to lodge complaints only against some students. But on the other hand, if one breaks an oath, there is no need to report about cheating at all. So what should a poor student do?
Another difficulty is that the information can be not reliable. If one student hates somebody, it is natural that he tries to do harm to the object of hate. And he can say that he is cheating after every exam and test. Karen Horney says that some people are inclined to competitiveness. Such people try to damage a competitor in order to enhance their own position or glory or to keep down a potential rival. For such a man it is more important to see others defeated than to succeed himself. In universities it is natural that they would try to defeat their mates (competitors) in the easiest way- they will tell that others have cheated. And it is very difficult to check such information.
I think that people can not be forced to sign such documents as honor codes, because nobody can make disgraceful people become honorable. The ones who are honorable will not cheat without signing any paper, and the ones who want to cheat, will pay no attention to what they have signed. I think that forcing to sign an honor code would insult me a bit, because I can be honorable without a code, and it is nobody’s business. It is up to me and my conscience to decide whether I will cheat or not.
University is not a secondary school, where students have to learn lots of needless subjects. Almost everything that is taught at universities is necessary for the future job. Students choose a profession to study, which interests them, and so they are fond of learning and knowing a lot.