Cheating: A Cultural Construct Thesis

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Cheating: A Cultural Construct

Cheating takes a wide array of forms. An act of dishonesty or habitual acts of dishonesty used to deceive others, to advance one's self, to gain the upper hand in a competitive circumstance or to engage in illicit behaviors while attempting to obscure these behaviors, cheating conjures a number of specific contextual implications. Cheating occurs in the academic context, where the pressure to achieve good grades may incline one to come about them dishonestly. Cheating occurs in sports, where athletes may attempt to gain unfair advantages by playing outside of clearly delineated rules. Cheating occurs in the domestic context, where failed relationships may be noted by marital infidelity. Cheating occurs in the business world, where corporate executives and accountants fudge figures for financial gain. The various contexts in which cheating may occur are illustrative of a cultural pattern suggesting that though not all are dishonest, this type of deception does permeate our every walk of life.

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A context closest to our area of experience is that of academic dishonesty. This is an issue oft-considered and discussed as we proceed through our formal schooling. Indeed, participation in the academic system implies a certain disposition with respect to the learning process and the opportunities there present. Chief among the conditions of this disposition is the belief that one must represent himself, his work and his ideas honesty. Concerning integrity, this means that our participation in academics, profession and society commits each of us to respect the right of those around us to receive due credit for their work and ideas. But there is considerable evidence that certain transgressions of academic integrity are today rampant. Cheating remains a culturally commonplace reality in our schools, which such matters as plagiarism in particular bearing a negative impact on the orientation of the classroom.

Thesis on Cheating: A Cultural Construct Cheating Takes a Assignment

Plagiarism is the representation of somebody else's work as your own, for any purpose, whether it is to receive personal recognition for the work or, in the professional realm, to reap financial rewards. Plagiarism is illegal and, for many people, immoral. This means that there may be a wide range of potential consequences for being discovered as a plagiarizer, including expulsion from public or private institutions, loss of professional standing, confrontation with legal charges or the responsibility to an aggrieved party in a civil dispute. This last consequence may result in a considerable expenditure of money in compensation to the individual whose original work had been co-opted.

With these rather serious consequences on the line, one might think that sufficient deterrents exist to prevent participation in acts which violate the clear principles of academic integrity. To this point, "cheating is a violation of rules and regulations, a phenomenon most people abhor yet profess to have committed at one time or another under adverse conditions. In the area of education, academic dishonesty is a perennial problem that successfully eludes solutions." (PeSymaco & Marcelo, 1) One of the major reasons for this is that schools inherently rely on the supposition that students have engaged for interest in learning or for the desire to advance intellectually and, thereafter, professionally.

However, a host of emergent technology opportunities have made it significantly easier for student's to attain desirable grades without the work demanded. Among these, our research points to the internet in particular as a venue within which individuals have found myriad ways to use the work of others for graded evaluations. This is true in the context on of the online class especially, which seems almost to tacitly accept the likelihood that the student who is determined to cheat will succeed at doing so. Accordingly, our research proceeds that "to make comparisons with prior studies, online academic dishonesty includes cheating on exams or assignments, including plagiarism. Currently, evidence on academic dishonesty in online courses is nonexistent, but some claim that because students and faculty do not interact directly in such classes, online classes will invite more cheating than traditional classes." (Grijalva et al., 1)

And the acceptance of this condition underscores the telling reality that expectations from professors toward students are rather low-fielded. We find that the habitual proclivity toward cheating by students en mass, increased exponentially by the availability of content, databases and services which can help students to simulate completion of their academic responsibilities, has contributed to a distinctly negative perspective on the part of those in academic instruction. In a recent study highlighted by one of our primary sources, it is resolved that "clearly, the professor's perceptions of student behavior were more negative than reported by the students. The researchers speculated that students answered questions according to their own belief system. Professors may have answered based on their experience of student behavior." (Smith et al., 3)

But this is exactly why plagiarism is such a serious problem. It is often impossible to prove in certainty, and it is even more difficult to find any way to compensate those whose intellectual property has been purloined.

And quite so, the internet has been a mixed bag with reference to academic integrity. It provides myriad informational resources, online libraries and discursive communities from which individuals can become more empowered and hopefully enthusiastic students. By promoting independent pursuit of knowledge, the internet is offering students with the potential and the enticement to learn and complete assignments on their own terms. This is naturally having a positive impact on the honesty with which student represent themselves.

In contrast, it does bear noting that the internet places students directly in contact with information and informational resources that can be easily misappropriated. Though many academic institutions are employing effective technologies to sweep the internet for evidence of students' infidelities, there remain a number of channels through which students may retain information found on the internet and use it as their own.

There may be no real way to track, curb or monitor this kind of cheating, but it is important to try to find ways to dissuade it. The implementation of a pronounced and meaningful honor code is a proven first step. "For example, while 33% of the students on the modified-code campuses admitted they had cheated on a test or exam in the past year, 45% did so on the nine campuses that did not have any code. (On nine other campuses with traditional academic honor codes in place, 23% of the students admitted to one or more instance of test/exam cheating in the previous year.)" (McCabe & Pavela, 2)

Here, we see two realities; the promising one which denotes an interest by many students in achieving positive academic results with honesty and the disheartening one which denotes that, regardless, some number of students will always cheat. This is, unfortunately, the resolution on the subject, with grading and the pressures there implied naturally inclining some to pursue opportunity which is counterintuitive to the very purposes of education.

Academic dishonesty, though widespread and problematic, occurs on a small stage. This type of cheating may not register with the same sensational public interest as cheating in the arena of professional sports. This would be quite well illustrated over the course of this last decade when America's National Past time and its greatest modern players were revealed to have engaged in a long-standing and epidemic level of cheating. For many years, professional baseball has avoided categorical association with steroid use. While physical enormity and the implementation of sheer force are traditionally correlated in the public consciousness with sports like basketball and football, baseball has been less perceived a sport of brute power. But, again, the rising economic value of professional athletes and the naturally blessed field of competition have demanded a higher level of performance even from baseballers. The field is quite a bit larger than it was in Babe Ruth's day, and most sports experts suggest that he would be hard pressed, especially given a physical condition that is rather untenable by today's medical and athletic standards, to compose a season of such dominance as the one that Barry Bonds crafted just a few years ago when, in 2001 when he set the single season homerun record at 73.

This comparison is hardly to impeach the greatness of the athletic heroes of yesteryear. However, it lends some credence to the adage that records are made to be broken. With the passage of generations, homeruns become longer and more plentiful, pitches are harder and more unpredictable, bat-speed is faster and more versatile, fielding is more spry and preventative. Foundationally, athletes are engaged in the business of pushing standards of physical excellence beyond what we perceive as limitations. This imperative, though, has been stoking the fires of a major crisis that has been implicated in some of the sports greatest recent achievements and in the germs of its future, with rampant cheating coming to define the game.

Major League Baseball was essentially outed from its immunity to drug speculation when Jose Canseco, one of the leagues former stars and an exemplar for the modern standard in muscle bulk, contended… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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