Not studying leads to academic dishonesty

James Whitley , Sports Editor

Nearly all AACC students who admitted in a Campus Current survey that they have cheated on a school assignment said they did it because they couldn’t remember the answer to a question.

In the survey of 428 students in March and April, 98 percent gave that reason. In addition, students said they have cheated because they didn’t study—96 percent; they didn’t like the assignment, 94.4 percent; they didn’t have time to do the assignment, 93.2 percent; they were nervous, 92.8 percent; or they knew they could get away with it, 92.5 percent.

One 20-year old transfer studies major admitted he cheated because he was “lazy.”

A male transfer studies major who took the survey said he cheated because he “needed to pass the class’s final.”

Also, it is possible that students who admitted to cheating, don’t know what cheating is.

Of the students in the survey who admitted to cheating, 60.9 percent said fabrication isn’t cheating. More than half of the students said they don’t count handing in someone else’s work, secretly looking up answers on a closed-book test, plagiarizing or copying off of others as cheating.

AACC psychology professor Dr. Rachelle Tannenbaum said not knowing how to define cheating—particularly plagiarism—is just one of the reasons students cheat.

But some students use, “I don’t know what cheating is” as an excuse to get away with it, she said.

“I had a student who went to the testing center,” Tannenbaum said. “The testing center caught her cheating. She had opened her book under her desk and she was like, ‘How was I supposed to know that was cheating?’ and I’m like, ‘Because [the testing center] told you, you can’t use your book.’”

Tannenbaum said another reason students cheat is because they don’t care about the class they’re taking.

Some students “look at any given course as just another hurdle to overcome,” Tannenbaum said. “As long as I get a C or higher in the course, the ends justified the means.”

Dr. Matthew Yeazel, an associate professor of psychology, said it depends on the teacher whether a student cheats.

“If the teacher is not warm or friendly [students] can find reasons to cheat because they don’t appreciate the fact that the [teacher is] difficult to them,” Yeazel said.

Yeazel said pressure can be another reason why students—especially athletes—might cheat.

“Say you’re on a sports team and you’ve got to stay eligible,” Yeazel said. “For a student who is spending all of their time because of their commitment to the sport, they may feel, ‘Oh geez, I got to do something to keep myself there.’”

Patrice Lyons, a transfer coordinator, said she thinks students cheat because they don’t give themselves enough time to study.

“If you’re dealing with a test or something, they’re underprepared, so [the students] glance at somebody they think knows more and take the answer from that person,” Lyons said.

“It’s just being poor at time management … they haven’t left themselves enough time to … write a good essay.”

Lyons said she understands that students have other commitments as well.

“Our students, I think, probably have a more difficult time because they have other jobs and they tend to overextend themselves,” Lyons said.

Lyons said the stress of trying to live the four-year school experience at community college is also a factor that leads students to cheat.

“Our students want to be on the same timeline as students at the four-year schools that are taking 15 or 16 credits,” Lyons said. “You’re supposed to be moving along at a pace to succeed and sometimes slower is better,” she explained.