Is cheating really wrong?

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In its simplest form, cheating is defined as behaving in a dishonest manner for the purpose of selfish interests or desires. By virtue of its definition, it could be construed that there are elements which counter values and beliefs which should be consistent with universal ethical standards. The elements of dishonesty, as well as serving personal selfish interests or intents have been identified as the impetus for cheating. One hereby asserts that cheating is not only really wrong; but cheating is always wrong.

Cheating is wrong because it manifests a betrayal of expected behavior, especially in the adherence of identified codes of conduct as well as policies or procedures involving academic honesty or relationships with partners or friends. As learned, academic honesty is one of the moral thrusts and principles that form the very foundation of educational learning. Using this as the conceptual framework, cheating is one of the most common means of violating academic honest. Accordingly, within the bounds of academic institutions, cheating has been defined as “intentionally using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, notes, study aids or other devices in any academic exercise” (The University of North Carolina at Charlotte 1). Clearly, cheating violates principles of academic honesty and is therefore considered wrong.

Concurrently, cheating is also wrong since it undermines opportunities for learning and feedback (Bouville). As emphasized, “if teachers do not know that there is something the students do not understand (if they cheat it may seem that they understand) then it is impossible for them to know whether to accelerate or slow down, on what to focus, or how to re-design their lectures next year —   in the long term, cheating hurts the students. It also prevents teachers from providing students with relevant feedback” (Bouville 4). Likewise, using the same line of thinking, cheating also undermines learning because through cheating, students fail to use their own competencies and skills in addressing required academic requirements and projects.

On the contrary, cheating is justified to be resorted to due to the rigorous standards and rating system imposed by educational institutions without due regard to the diversity and uniqueness of students’ competencies and skills. The current rating and ranking system in academic institutions were deemed to be unfair and discriminatory. As noted, “grades

actually define how good a student is, i.e. there is no concept of the worth of the student independent of grades” (Bouville 2). Moreover, due to the exorbitant costs of education, parents demand that their children should get high grades to get their money’s worth and to ensure that they would immediately be employed in work settings to start being productive. The pressure set by educators, parents, and employers were noted as instrumental to decisions to cheat.

Despite the counterarguments, cheating is still always wrong since it provides unfair advantage to cheaters. Those students who had been exerting efforts to study and exhibit academic performance through honest means could be overshadowed by those who cheat. As emphasized, “cheaters receive undeservedly high grades and thus an unfair advantage over other students” (Bouville 2). The efforts exerted does not justify the grades received; and as such, cheating is really deemed to be unfair, unjust, and wrong.

In sum, cheating violates adherence to honesty, while undermining opportunities for learning and feedback. Likewise, cheating provide unfair advantage to those who cheat who receive grades that are substantially high as compared to what they should really receive. Society shuns those who cheat. Actions that violate honesty and integrity should never be tolerated.

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  1. Bouville, Mathieu. “Why is cheating wrong?” 2008. arxiv.org. Web. 15 April 2017.
  2. The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. “Academic Honesty & Integrity.” 2017. uncc.edu. Web. 15 April 2017.
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