In the academic context, cheating can take several forms such as illegally obtaining answers to exam questions, plagiarizing other people’s work, or getting other people to do their homework assignments. Normally, students are driven to cheat due to the immense pressure to excel that they receive from their families and the current academic environment (Tsai 148). However, some students cheat due to sheer laziness or because they missed classes when certain concepts were being taught (Moeck 481). Whatever the reason, academic cheating is a dishonest and unethical practice that results in overall moral decay in the society and an influx of ill-trained and incompetent employees who derail the national economy due to their inefficiency lack of ingenuity. Most importantly, the habit can result in long-term effects for the culprit. The affected students might not appreciate the impacts of cheating since they are focused on their grades, but their actions might haunt them later in life. This research paper will explore the short term and long term impacts of academic cheating.
Psychological Impacts of Cheating
One of the most common consequences of exam cheating is its influence on the mental state of a student. In the short term, cheating diminishes confidence and self-esteem due the resulting. For instance, when a student achieves a good grade due to cheating, teachers may conclude that he or she does not need any extra tutoring or special attention (Tsai 150). However, the student may continue to fail academically below the expected standards. As a result, such a student may deem himself or herself a failure, which can lead to low self-esteem (Moeck 481). Besides, cheating affects one’s self-worth and the trust in self-capacity. Additionally, teachers and fellow students may lose respect for anyone caught cheating.
Also, cheating may trigger a victim mentality because the students may feel that their failure is someone else’s doing. When students get used to passing exams cheaply through cheating, they fail to appreciate the need for hard work. As a result, they end up assuming that showing up for class is enough to pass the exams and that any failure must be the fault of the tutor (Moeck 483). Hence, cheating diminishes the value of hard work among students since they stop considering it as a factor for success. Additionally, it diminishes the value of good grades because it enables any dishonest student to score high grades.
In the long run, cheating can culminate in depression due to several reasons. For example, students who graduate into the next grade and fail to sustain the high cheat facilitated grades may spiral or self-sabotage (Tsai 151). The resulting feeling of inadequacy may force them out of school or drive them to engage in rebellious behavior, such as doing drugs. Eventually, the feeling of being a failure catches up with them resulting in severe depression or recurring incidences of depression.
Effects of Academic Cheating on the Economy
On a wider scale, cheating can derail the whole economy by resulting in a wide presence of unqualified individuals in jobs. For instance, cheating can enable the graduation of unqualified students. When such students enter the job market, they will perform below par as compared to graduates in other countries, such as China and India. In fact, China has more honor students than the whole student population in the United States (Moeck 485). Hence, in the coming years, the workforce in China will be more innovative and efficient than that of the United States leading to disparities between these economies.
If measures are not taken to stem academic cheating, future generations will have poor moral or ethical values. Cheating nurtures the habit of taking shortcuts in life with total disregard of moral or ethical implications. This situation can fester into widespread corruption in the country, especially in public and private offices. As a result, the moral fabric that holds our society will be threatened as honest and hardworking people will lose out on opportunities while corrupt individuals progress (Moeck, 488). Eventually, America’s capitalist economy, which is anchored on the tenets of hard work and fairness, would crumble and fail.
Dishonest students will also experience a lot of problems in their careers. For example, they will be unable and unwilling to work hard for success since everything has been easy in their lives. Therefore, such individuals may result to hopping from one job to another because they cannot meet the requirements of employers or in search for relatively easy jobs (Tsai 150). Also, long term professional commitment will become scarce and be accompanied by a poorly performing workforce.
Impacts of Cheating on a Student
Generally, when a student exhibits cheating tendencies, he or she is likely to carry the same habit to later stages of life. This phenomenon arises from the fact that when a young person exceeds a certain threshold of cheating, it becomes easy to transpose the habit across all spheres of his/ her life (Carrell 174). Additionally, learners who result to cheating lose a certain element of personal integrity and ethics that is impossible to regain. Also, cheating damages a person’s self-perception.
Cheating can also damage the whole academic career of a student since it limits their ability to grasp new concepts. Normally in a classroom environment, one has to learn basic concepts, which then acts as a springboard for more complex and advanced classes. Therefore, if one does not understand the fundamentals of a certain course, it becomes very difficult to absorb other concepts in the same class (Carrell 176). Hence, it can be concluded that students who cheat in exams could be wasting their time since they will never learn anything meaningful.
Finally, if a student is caught cheating, the school may choose to take disciplinary measures in order to discourage such behavior. For instance, a tutor may decide to fail a student caught cheating in his or her class. The seriousness of the punishment usually depends on in the nature of the offense. For example, a student who unknowingly presents a paper with some level of plagiarism might get a low grade while a learner who makes a conscious effort to cheat may fail the entire course. Furthermore, if a student is reported to the school administration due to incidences of cheating, he or she can receive a range of punishments ranging from academic probation, suspension, or expulsion. In some instances, such students are subjected to university-level hearings with accompanying remarks being put on the culprit’s transcripts, which can be viewed by future employers (Carrell 180). Hence, indulging in dishonest academic practices jeopardizes one’s education and future career prospects.
Academic cheating can have both short term and long term impacts on the life of a student. Cheating diminishes self-worthiness and induces depression due to the lack of capacity to sustain the high performance facilitated by this behavior. Also, the practice erodes the culture of hard work since it becomes easy to score good grades. Teachers and students may lose respect for an individual when they learn that he or she is dishonest. The practice can further derail the academic progress of a student because it undermines the understanding of basic concepts, which hinders internalization of advanced class content. At a national level, cheating can result in an unqualified workforce, which can further derail the economy resulting to far-reaching ramifications. Therefore, academic cheating is a negative habit and should be discouraged by tutors and school authorities.
Carrell, Scott E, Frederick V. Malmstrom, and James E. West. “Peer Effects in Academic Cheating.” The Journal of Human Resources (wisconsin), vol. 43, no. 1, 2008, pp.173- 207.
Moeck, Pat G. “Academic Dishonesty: Cheating Among Community College Students.” Community College Journal of Research and Practice, vol. 26, no. 6, 2010, pp. 479-491.
Tsai, Chun-Li. “Peer Effects on Academic Cheating Among High School Students in Taiwan.” Asia Pacific Education Review, vol. 13, no. 1, 2012, pp. 147-155.