Updated September 10, 2022

Students Cheating: Serious Problem in Education

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Students Cheating: Serious Problem in Education essay
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Oxford dictionary defines cheating as – to act in a dishonest way in order to gain an advantage, especially in a game, a competition, an exam. Although cheating in education systems isn’t new, its prevalence has risen significantly over the past 30 years.

It comes in many forms, from prying over a colleague’s shoulder to steal answers, to individuals – like teachers – selling exams or marking papers. A report on last years’ Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exams by the Kenya Examinations Council showed that teachers and candidates work together to beat the system, and sometimes use mobile phones to transmit exam-related material.
Because it’s done undercover, it’s hard to assess how prevalent cheating is and catch those that do.

Even so, there’s a worrying increase in the detected cases. The number of Kenyan students caught cheating and punished by the national examination body during the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exams in 2015 was less than 1% – or 5,101 candidates. This was 70% more than the 2,975 identified in 2014.

Why Do Students Cheat?

An erosion of ethics. “Many educators say the rise in cheating is due to an erosion of ethics in a self-centered culture,” says the American School Board Journal. Concerning those in her high school honors classes, one student admitted: “All of us. . . cheated; we needed the grades to get into good schools. We were good, moral students; we weren’t like unethical people.

We just needed to get into good universities.” Even some parents have “caught” the plague. Anxious to see their offspring “succeed,” they either approve of cheating or turn a blind eye to it, thus further undermining their children’s ethics.

  1. The pressure to succeed. According to Donald McCabe, founder of the International Center for Academic Integrity, students who cheat believe that honesty puts them at a disadvantage compared with others who cheat and get away with it.
  2. The help of technology. Modern technology enables students to cheat with new levels of ease and sophistication. They can download term papers and answers for their homework from the Internet and share them with others. Often, only a small percentage get caught, and this emboldens others.
  3. The influence of bad examples. Cheating has become commonplace in the adult world—in big business corporations, in politics, in sports, and often even at home, where parents cheat on income tax or insurance claims. “If people in positions of authority or role models are cheating,” says David Callahan, author of The Cheating Culture, “then I think it sends a signal to young people that cheating is OK.” But is it? Does the pursuit of better grades really justify cheating?

Why Is Cheating Wrong?

There are many reasons why cheating is wrong. Cheating has many implications, from an individual level, organizational level to even the societal level. However due to time we will only focus on the individual level. The following illustrates why cheating is wrong on an individual level.

  1. Cheating causes stress. When you cheat you inevitably worry about getting caught. The stress of getting caught increases when you think of the consequences of getting caught, such as facing disciplinary action in school or being scolded at home by your parents. More so, cheating can force you to come up with a story to cover up your cheating, leading you to being trapped in a web of lies. It’s even more difficult to keep your story straight, since it never happened and you’re worried that your lies may be discovered, causing you more stress.
  2. Cheating is unfair to you. Accomplishment and success feels good when it is as a result of your hard work and sweat. It even boosts your self-esteem. When you engage in academic malpractice you are basically telling yourself that you don’t have faith in your own abilities. Therefore, getting an A or good grades from cheating will not feel as good, since you know you did not work for it. Cheating makes you feel horrible about yourself.
  3. Cheating kills trust. It only takes you getting caught once cheating for trust to be broken. Even if you never engage in cheating, those in authority will find it difficult trusting you and will always be suspicious of your work. Also when others get a wind of you cheating, their opinion about you will be stained. This will definitely lead to many of your relationships being damaged.
  4. Cheating is embarrassing. Our actions define who we are, not only to ourselves, but to those around us. Therefore when you engage in academic malpractice, you are telling others that you are lazy, selfish, incompetent, untrustworthy, unintelligent and disrespectful. In addition, schools have developed tougher stances on cheating. Imagine your embarrassment, when you realize that you are expelled from school due to cheating or you are denied admission into college due to previously being caught cheating.
  5. Cheating can become a habit. People who cheat don’t usually do it one time. It becomes a habit that follows people throughout college and into their careers. Cheating in one aspect of your life; academics has the risk of spilling over into other areas of your life like relationships and even work, this is because cheating blurs the lines of what is acceptable and unacceptable.
  6. Cheating eventually leads to failure. By skipping the hard work involved in learning, you will never develop the traits and the skills necessary for success, such a persistence, hard work, commitment, diligence and sacrifice. Cheating usually offers an easy way out in academics, but when you eventually get employed, you will realize that you cannot cheat your way to success. That life is much different from school. Where hard work and sacrifice is demanded for one to be successful.

Consequences of Cheating

Cheating lowers your self-confidence and self-respect. When people who you love and respect get to know that you cheated in your exams, you lose their respect and trust.

Unfortunately, cheating is not a onetime thing. When you cheat, in your academics, it makes it easier for you to cheat in other aspects of your life. Cheating is like an addiction, when you do it once, it’s hard to stop. In a sense, when you cheat, you lose your personal integrity, that’s hard to regain once it’s lost.

Students who cheat are wasting time in school. Most learnings builds on itself. In order for a student to progress from one level to another, he/she must first learn a concept. Therefore by not learning and opting to cheat, it sets up the student to continue failing or cheat.
Cheating may lead to criminal charges depending on the severity of the crime. For instance, if you are caught plagiarizing one’s work without credit. If the owner of the work finds out about it, you may be sued. A serious case, if you are caught distributing illegal exams or cheating in national exams; KCSE, you could be leveled criminal charges, and end up going to prison.

A common consequence of cheating especially in high-level institutions; universities may often result in failing the class or even worse being suspended depending on the severity of the case.


If we are to succeed in creating leaders of character and substance, the menace of cheating has to be tackled head-on. The following are some of the ways we can use to help alleviate cases of cheating in our institutions.

Preventive measures such as severe penalties to those involved in cheating can go a long way in deterring this vice.

The school has to clearly define what is ethical and unethical when it comes to matters concerning academics, especially when doing research or term papers. This will help clarify the difference between using online sources in research and plagiarizing someone’s work, which is often confused by students.

The school should create awareness to its students on the dangers of cheating, not only immediate effects of cheating but also the long term.
The school should set up a firewall in its network to bar its students from sharing emails or text messages that may contain exam questions.
The use of technology such as installing cameras in classrooms can drastically reduce cases of cheating, especially during the examination period.


What is apparent from above and the rest of the journal is that cheating is a serious problem. Its implications on our institutions and more so on students who engage in this vice is even worse. However, despite of the grim outlook of the situation, there is still hope. With changes on how exams are invigilated by introducing technology and the use of severe penalties to those involved in cheating will definitely help reduce these cases.

Students Cheating: Serious Problem in Education essay

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Students Cheating: Serious Problem in Education. (2020, Sep 25). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/students-cheating-serious-problem-in-education/


How cheating affects the academic performance of the students?
Students who cheat in examinations focus much on getting high grades, but they fail to get superior knowledge needed by employers. Hence, students who excel in academics through cheating can fail to perform well in their careers due to lack of competence .
What are the causes of students cheating?
Common Reasons Students Cheat Poor Time Management. Stress/Overload. Wanting to Help Friends. Fear of Failure. "Everyone Does it" Phenomenon. Temptation Due to Unmonitored Environments or Weak Assignment Design. Different Understanding of Academic Integrity Policies.
Why do students cheat cause and effect?
Students cheat because they are scared to fail . All students want in school is to get good grades and sometimes they will get desperate and being desperate leads to cheating. When students cheat all they think about is getting a good grade most of the time. Other students don't care about school and they cheat.
Why is cheating a problem in school?
Every time you cheat, you're not learning skills and lessons that could be important later on . Cheating is disrespectful. Teachers work hard to share knowledge to help you be successful in academics, career, and life. Cheating shows a lack of respect for the efforts of your teacher and your classmates who did the work.
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