When honesty disappears
"The writing topic for this year's CET-6 was revealed again before the day of testing." "A student has been expelled due to misbehavior in a final examination." This kind of titles has been very popular these days, and all these have revealed a public secret: cheating on exams. This behavior, which was denounced by almost all, is spreading at a high rate, and this has puzzles not only teachers but also the whole society. Then why do students cheat on exams? In my understanding, there are mainly three reasons,(namely unscientific testing, competition for scholarship, and pressure from future job hunting).
Some students cheat on exams to protest against the improper testing format. The purpose of university education should be teaching students to use knowledge to solve problems, therefore, exams and tests should test students' ability to use certain knowledge to solve some problems. But most tests in China just test understanding instead of application, and some exams are even worse because they only test students' memory. Some students think it unnecessary to spend time and effort to prepare for such exams, so the just cheat in order to get a decent score, which in their mind, means nothing. Dr. Wang who specializes in education assessment supported this view in one paper, and he said that teachers should blame themselves because they forced students to cheat.
1 "Is anybody truly honest?" As numerous accounts of cheating, lying, and fraud crowd our newspaper pages and TV news, it seems that honesty is a rapidly vanishing value. And the reports indicate that, around the globe, corruption and dishonesty are so widespread that the health and well-being of society are at risk. These reports include stories such as the students who faced criminal charges for selling in advance copies of a university final exam, a student who was expelled when he turned in a term paper with the purchase receipt for it still inside the pages, and a clerk who ran his own Christmas cards through the office postage meter and was found out when he sent one of the cards to the company treasurer教育资讯，! We have all read or heard accounts such as these, not to mention the stories of dishonesty amongst all layers of society as exemplified by consumers who steal and politicians who demand bribes. Travelers ripped off so many towels last year that it cost a major hotel chain $3 million to replace them. Especially troubling are the reports that dishonesty is increasing amongst student populations around the world.
More students cheat on exams in order to struggle for scholarship. As universities are collecting tuition from students, they also increase the amount of scholarship. This money of course is very attractive to students, who have virtually no income. As scholarship is mostly decided by examination scores, students willing to get the money will try every means possible. In a recent survey, some good students admitted that they cheat on exams because "if most students are cheating, it is unfair when you choose not to". This probably represents a breach of traditional ethics, and is a more important reason than conscientious protest against improper tests.
Cheating in exams is fairly common in the Indian state ofBihar, but new images have emerged which show just how large-scale and blatant the practice is.
The most important reason, in my mind, should be the pressure from job hunting. In the past few years the situation in the job market is deteriorating, and this forces students to prepare as early as possible. Due to its importance, students naturally want to make their reports more attractive, and one way to realize it is cheating. As a student said in a news report, students are aware of the cost of being caught, but the profit of not being caught is too much, so many of them just "go ahead". Maybe it is not unreasonable to say that it is the society that makes students cheaters.
2 But are these reports truly accurate or do they exaggerate the situation? Should we be alarmed by these accounts of falling standards of principles and morality? The assumption is that student dishonesty is more extensive now than it was 20, 50, 100 years ago. If so, what's behind it? If this is indeed the case, it's deeply troubling as today's students are tomorrow's leaders! It's possible that the desire to cheat is no greater than in the past. However, the critical importance of having a university degree may have increased the pressure to cheat in academic environments. Undoubtedly, modern technology facilitates the means and opportunities to cheat. The demanding task of writing term papers has always been a source of tense nerves and frustration, if not the ultimate homework nightmare. But now, with Internet access, illegal resources are just a few links away.
To sum up, the desires to get a good job and a high scholarship, or simply to signal a protest in current education, have forced us students to copy in exams. It is undeniable that some suffer from weak moral principles, but it is wrong to blame them only. Only when the society and the university find the real source of the problem and deal with it can we restore the traditional criticism against cheating.
Many students smuggled in textbooks and notes into the examination centres despite tight security - and parents and friends were photographed scaling the walls of test centres to pass on answers to students during the current secondary school examinations。
3 Modern students who want to fake a term paper don't have to browse long. They only have to locate the appropriate website, purchase or order online papers, or even download them for free. One web service offers "highest quality papers at the lowest possible prices", only $5.95 per page. Busy, cost-conscious students will find other "low-priced" term papers on websites that promise consumers "You will be happy and successful." Some people worry that the Internet, once hailed as the ultimate learning tool, could become the best aid yet for cheating.
The examinations, held by the Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB)， began on Tuesday and are scheduled to go on until 24 March. Officials say more than 1.4 million students are taking the tests。
4 To cope with the growing plague of cheating, universities around the world now use anti-plagiarism software and have very strict cheating and plagiarism policies. If students are caught plagiarizing or cheating in any way, they will be immediately expelled from school. Some college faculty decided to do more than talk about rising student cheating. Professors at a major university launched a campaign to try to eliminate one form of cheating. As 409 students filed out of their Introduction to Psychology exam, they found all but one exit blocked. Test monitors asked each student to produce an ID card with an attached photo. If they provided a satisfactory ID, they were fine. If they had left their ID at home, the officials confronted them and took their picture. The purpose of the campaign was to reveal hired cheaters, students who take tests for other students. The majority of students at the university applauded the new strategy.
Most of the incidents of cheating this year have been reported from Saharsa, Chhapra, Vaishali and Hajipur districts。
5 With awareness of increasing dishonesty in today's society, it's sometimes implied that in "the good old days" people were better, happier, and more honest. Were they more honest? Maybe yes, maybe no. Long ago, all American schoolchildren knew the historical story of how Abraham Lincoln walked five miles to return a penny he had overcharged a customer. It's the kind of story that we think of as myth. But in the case of Lincoln, the story is true.
Local newspapers have been full of photos of parents and relatives trying to help their children cheat even at considerable risk to their own lives, BBC Hindi's Manish Saandilya reports from the state capital,Patna。
6 Like the Lincoln tale, every society has stories stressing the absolute value of honesty. It is these stories that students need to remember when temptation induces them to cheat. Whether discovered or not, dishonesty has an undesirable effect on anyone who practices it. Equally importantly, the ill effects are not confined to the dishonest person alone. Without trust, ordered societies would descend into chaos. It's important that we do what we say we will do, pay when we say we will, and create words that are our own. Perhaps the most important lesson our schools can teach is that we must trust each other. When honesty disappears, the affirmative, durable bonds of trust are eliminated and we all lose. The future of our society depends on mutual trust.
Some photos even show policemen posted outside the centres accepting bribes to look the other way, our correspondent adds。
Photojournalist Dipankar, who took the photos in Saharsa district, says when he went into the examination hall and began taking pictures, the students did not seem worried at all。
Despite the many reports that have appeared in the local newspapers, the authorities seem uninterested in taking any action against the students, he says。
Dipankar says during a raid at just one school on Wednesday, the authorities seized sheets containing answers which filled up nine sacks。
Nearly 20 parents were detained briefly for trying to help their children cheat, but they were let go after a warning, he adds。
At some schools, like this one in Saran in Chhapra district, parents also clashed with the police。
Those caught cheating can be barred from taking an examination for up to three years, they can also be jailed or ordered to pay a fine, but punishment in such cases has rarely been reported in Bihar。
Education officials say they are committed to holding free, fair and peaceful examinations, and that examination centres are being filmed and special "flying squads" of officials are making surprise visits to the centres。
They say at least 400 students who have been caught cheating have been expelled。
But they say the government alone cannot stop cheating without help from students and parents。
"What can the government do to stop cheating if parents and relatives are not ready to cooperate? Should the government give orders to shoot them?" the Times of India quoted Bihar Education Minister PK Shahi as saying。