By Zoe Hyland
Whether you want to face the facts or not, cheating has become the norm for many students at Novato High School. Cheating on exams, homework and projects often occurs right under the noses of administrators and teachers. The ways in which people cheat are profuse yet extremely ingenious.
When given lectures about cheating and academic dishonesty, students often tune out, having heard the same speech several times throughout high school. The main idea behind these talks is simply don’t do it. Threatening students with F’s and suspensions doesn’t hold them back, as most students have become skilled at cheating. Smartphones have created a simple way for students to snap a quick photo of a classmate’s work and copy it as their own.
NHS has a school wide policy for cheating that has consequences for the first three offenses. The first offense gets students a zero on the assignment, the second offense is recorded in the permanent file along with a drop of one letter grade, and the third offense calls for suspension and an F in the class in which the incident occurred.
Anonymous senior girl “Meredith” was lucky enough to get a good grade and make a profit by giving in to the temptation of cheating.
“One time I let somebody cheat off my test, and they gave me ten dollars in return. I didn’t get caught so it was worth it,” said Meredith.
A lot of students have cheated in very creative ways, and avoided the wrath of their teachers, according to anonymous senior “Rosie”.
“Sometimes I just move a paper with all my notes on it out from under my backpack with my foot. I would say about 40% of the kids here cheat, because I know a lot of people who say they never have,” said Rosie.
Cheating at Novato High happens for a multitude of reasons. Many administrators aren’t aware of these reasons, according to NHS junior “Pepe” who wished to remain anonymous.
“I think a lot of kids get pressured by their parents to get good grades. I also think a lot of students feel pressured to get good grades because that gets you into a good college and that makes you successful,” said Pepe.
Novato High School physiology and AP biology teacher Jon Dick, tries his best to protect and prevent students from cheating.
“Everyone says don’t build a wall, and I say build a wall. I try to have cardboard separators, different test versions and make sure students turn their phones off and put them in their backpack,” said Dick.
One of the most common reasons for cheating is because of pressure from parents, teachers and college administrators to get good grades. Good grades and high test scores are weighted heavily in terms of college acceptance. Maintaining a balance between all parts of the high school experience is beyond difficult.
“I think students cheat because of pressure,” added Dick. “I know students who have cheated in the past, but I know they know the material, but they just have three things going on at once and didn’t want it to hurt their grade.”
Anonymous sophomore girl “Annabelle” finds it difficult to retain material in some classes because of the way the teachers execute their lesson plans. Annabelle agrees that pressure plays a huge role in academic cheating.
“Some teachers don’t teach in a way that kids understand, so when it comes to the test which affects a big portion of their grade, they are left with no other choice but to cheat with the help of friends or peers,” said Annabelle.
Cheating takes a lot more planning and strategy than people may realize, and students will take it upon themselves to obtain a higher grade at any stake. Simply telling students not to cheat is ineffective for the most part, but outside of high school cheating has irreversible consequences such as expulsion from universities and institutions, which students may have to learn the hard way.