Harvard Cheating Scandal: Is Academic Dishonesty on the Rise?

In order to better understand what leads students to cheat, colleges and universities need to break the code of silence and apply their own academic methods to the problem

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Brian Snyder / Reuters

Harvard University’s announcement last week of an investigation into a case of widespread cheating offered a little thrill of schadenfreude for some: confirmation, perhaps, that a venerable 376-year-old institution — whose motto, “Veritas,” means truth in Latin — could be caught up in the same pedestrian crimes and misdemeanors found at less lofty altitudes. According to reports in the Harvard Crimson, more than 100 students in an undergraduate lecture class are alleged to have lifted material from shared study guides on a final take-home exam.

(MORE: Campus Scandals and College Admissions: What Applicants Should Know)

Moral indignation is an understandable response, and can have a role in all sorts of problems. But focusing on individual character flaws or moral failings obscures both the magnitude and the complexity of the problem of our national crisis of academic dishonesty. Cheating cuts to the very heart of academia, more so than it does other institutions that have faced similar wrongdoing, such as professional sports and the financial industry, because the search for truth is the primary mission of a university. Harvard’s public statement promised appropriate discipline for the wrongdoers and noted that the “vast majority” of its students do their own work. Such circumstances — which are dismayingly common on college and high school campuses nationwide — often prompt institutions to reassert community values in this way. But a broader kind of soul searching is required.

Students have cheated for as long as there have been schools, but by any measure, academic dishonesty is on the rise. While detection methods and increased vigilance explain some of this increase, most experts believe the incidence of the forms of cheating has increased (PDF) too. For one thing, the technological ease of mashup culture can make it hard for students to recognize — or care — that they are appropriating the work of others. In fact, according to reporting in the New York Times, some of the Harvard students involved seemed to think that they didn’t really cheat, that there were special circumstances in the class, that the professor changed the rules and so on.

(MORE: Why Are We Depriving Our Teens of Sleep?)

Our experience at Harvard College as house masters of one of the 12 undergraduate residential-academic communities gives us a bird’s-eye view of the pressures that can drive students to temptation. We’ve observed two types of students who are especially vulnerable.

The first type is prone to panic and self-doubt. Feeling the weight of family or societal expectations, these students become so worried about failure that they lose perspective and fail to see obvious alternatives to cheating like asking for help before things get out of control, making up a failed class over the summer, taking time off, being honest with their parents or learning to cope with a plan B. Because of their youth and immaturity, these students don’t realize that bombing a class isn’t a permanent blot on their record as a human being and will not likely affect their long-term capacity to find a job or get into graduate school. The tunnel vision of late adolescence, which can be so energizing in other arenas, takes on a toxicity that inhibits resilience in the face of disappointment.

The second type of student at risk for cheating belongs to one or more social networks like fraternities, “final clubs,” athletic teams or cultural-affinity groups, where barriers to cheating (like social opprobrium) are lower and the logistic means to cheat (like sharing study materials) is more common. Membership in these networks often comes with a high degree of loyalty and social pressure to perpetuate cheating or protect cheaters from discovery. In fact, there is evidence that peer attitudes to cheating help predict who will engage in academic dishonesty.

(MORE: Should We Stop Telling Our Kids That They’re Special?)

But on some level, everyone is at risk for academic dishonesty, no matter who or where they are. Nowadays, we seem to live in a culture of lies. Should we really be surprised that high schoolers cheat on standardized tests when they grow up among adults — Olympic cyclists, politicians, money managers, high school administrators, journalists, professors and even their own parents — who may be thrifty, at best, with the truth? It doesn’t help to whisk away such a widespread phenomenon by dividing the world into good and bad people or insisting that the whole business is simply beyond our control.

The right response to cheating involves not just adjudicating the individual cases but also exploring and addressing the structural determinants and risk factors for academic dishonesty. For guidance, academic institutions can look within their own community. Many scholars are already at the vanguard of understanding how decent people fall prey to the pressures of groupthink and poor decisionmaking. For example, Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist at Duke University, describes some of the science behind the contagion of cheating norms in his recent book, The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty. We need to learn more about the learning environments that either promote or inhibit academic integrity.

(MORE: Penn State Cover-Up: Groupthink in Action)

As with any epidemiological study that addresses risk factors, people may not like the results. But we should embrace, not fear, these kinds of findings. They may shine light on dysfunctional social and academic practices that are in need of change, but educators and students nationwide need to engage in this difficult self-reflection.

It will be a real test of Veritas.

MORE: Failure Is Not a Bad Option

68 comments
ricthwaites
ricthwaites

Follow the money. Hold these spoiled brats accountable for their behavior, and Daddy's money is also withdrawn.


With a family member that attended Harvard College, I know first hand the culture in Cambridge. The school is rife with hard drinking spoiled brats who regularly cut class and cheat. Have you ever heard of the "Finals Clubs" and their hazing antics? For a significant number of these Harvard men who go on to a banking career, the evidence shows that they cheat there too. And apparently with no accountability for the crimes. Count how many Harvard men were caught up in the crisis on Wall Street. How many of those were held accountable for their misdeeds? Less than you can count on your one hand. Bottom line: Once born with a silver spoon in your mouth, it's hard to go without; once a cheat, always a cheat.

More generally, the moral standard that exists in the United States today has declined to such a low point that we don't even value ethical behavior any longer - not in our prestigious (sic) institutions, not in our industries, not in our media, not in our government and not in the general population. The lack of conscience and the resulting debauchery, corruption, and lasciviousness will come back to haunt us - just like it did in ancient Greece, ancient Rome and Sodom before that. It's time for personal accountability.

AKAN
AKAN

THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR CHEATING-PERIOD. WE ARE ALL TEMPTED TO TAKE THE EASY WAY OUT, DUE TO PEER PRESSURE, SOCIETAL OR FAMILY PRESSURE. WHEN YOU EXCUSE STUDENTS, WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU GIVE THOSE WHO REFRAIN FROM DISHONEST &UNETHICAL BEHAVIOR. TO ME IT SOUNDS LIKE -"SUCKER!"

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Amjad Khan Suri
Amjad Khan Suri

What about the universities pattern in Developing countries.

Denise Cornelius
Denise Cornelius

I think the most surprising part of this story is how many people cheated and the fact this was an intro to government (emphasis on the intro).  It's a little disheartening that Harvard students need to cheat for an into to government class. 

I read that in regards to this scandal that the intro class material did not match the lectures.  This happened to me during my academic career (it's frustrating and the university won't do anything about it) but cheating was still not an option.  The only thing that stops cheating is the university taking a harsh stance against offenders. 

doubtom
doubtom

Before tackling cheating in others, Harvard, Yale and many more of the so-called Ivy League, should have to correct their own cheating, or is there any other way to describe what happened when they graduated a total idiot like George (Idiot) Bush? 

Jardin J
Jardin J

"Because of their youth and immaturity, these students don’t realize that bombing a class isn’t a permanent blot on their record as a human being and will not likely affect their long-term capacity to find a job or get into graduate school."

In this economy, a bad grade is a lot more likely to cripple you than it was. Students have to compete with EVERYONE- fellow graduates, experienced workers who were laid off, not to mention graduates abroad who are willing to work for a lot less. As a result, we try to pad our resumes with everything- leadership roles in organizations, internships, work experience, volunteering, and of course- raising the almighty GPA. And we need to do all of that in as few semesters as possible, with tuition on the rise. 

As you can guess, time constraints make doing all of this nearly impossible, and failing at any of these endeavors makes you less desirable to an employer. We've all heard and seen the horror stories of students who graduated without high enough grades or without enough experience ending up in their parents homes again, working retail or some other unskilled labor (if they get accepted for those jobs at all. Who's heard the "you may be over qualified" line?)

I'm not arguing for academic dishonesty, but I don't think the choice should be chalked up to immaturity and youth. The game of life has gotten a whole lot harder, so we shouldn't be surprised when more people knowingly cheat, or "get help" from fellow classmates- which amounts to academic dishonestly.

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grownandflown
grownandflown

We applaud research into "structural determinants and risk factors" but if it includes only high school and college students, might it not capture the earliest habits being formed?  According to the Educational Testing Service, cheating in middle school is widespread.  Parents, and teachers, must teach their youngest children about ethics and academics giving lessons early and often.http://grownandflown.com/cheating-at-...  

Guest
Guest

We applaud initiatives that study  "structural determinants and risk factors" leading to academic dishonesty but if that research is limited to college or even high school students, it may miss the mark.  Cheating begins in middle school by both good and poor students, boys and girls (ETS.)  We believe that parents need to address the issue with their kids early and often.http://grownandflown.com/cheating-at-...

HDS26234
HDS26234

If the Republicans were as honest as they claim to be, our Country would and should not be in the mess it is in, right? To constantly blame the Democrats as guilty of all the ills now accosting America, only proves that they are not alone! Yes, I am writing as a staunch conservative Christian Republican. Yes, I consider Ron Paul the only true American in the style of the Founding Fathers, in  a figure of speech. Yes, I know he is not perfect! Yes, the Republican Party did everything to discredit him! Yes, they told plenty of lies about this man by the name of Ron Paul! Yes, our tax code needs to be burned because, it is the greatest and most effective school where cheating is in essence taught! And how about the many big companies that register in the Cayman Islands as one example? And how about the money in Swiss banks? How come the Republicans do not stop that, may I ask? Yes, the party that is supposed to be honest, as compared to the Democrats! Honesty in the good old USA fully replaced by dishonesty!

 

dave_young
dave_young

As long as Americans continue to elect frauds like Clinton and Obama, there will be no integrity and plenty of cheating all around.

HDS26234
HDS26234

Our youngsters only follow in our footsteps! For instance when politicians invoke the Constitution no greater lies are spoken, right? Cheating is what brought about the great economic worldwide disaster! What honesty was used may I ask, to go into Iraq? Our present tax code is the greatest teacher of dishonest ever! The way the politicians treat the laws of immigration, likwise, while the accusation goes from right to left, and from the left back to the right, right? So?

artdeco54
artdeco54

What we consider education seems to be shifting to memorization and regurgitation of information. Education used to be a discovery of the world around you and information to assist you in your curiosity and discovery. Yes, knowledge for knowledge's sake, a truck driver who reads Shakespeare, a doctor with a knowledge of Rennaissance music, a teacher with a passion for Archaeology. I personally went to school for an education, not a job, the job was a by-product. I purposely chose a university that did not give grades but written evaluations. My professors had to know me and my abilities. It was a tough job for them and I had to step up my game. Cheating was never an issue because there were no grades. 30+ years later I still value that time, and wish everyone could have that opportunity. I really feel I received a true education and have become a life long learner. I now teach elementary school and have had a chance to use just about everything I learned in some way. I aspire to teach my students how to teach themselves and follow their eductional stars.

f_galton
f_galton

It's not surprising there is widespread cheating at a university that  gives affirmative action to unqualified blacks like Obama and employs fake Native Americans like Elizabeth Warren and tolerates plagiarists like Doris Kearns Goodwin and Charles Ogletree.

badger85
badger85

If you think undergrads at other colleges taking a take home, open book, open note exam aren't collaborating, you're kidding yourself. Make a real exam and teach the class well enough that a reasonable number of people can do well on it.

And you think one bad grade in undergrad can't kill your future? Obviously you were never pre-med.

OlaoluwaBode
OlaoluwaBode

Take home exams are the stupidest things I've ever heard of. If you have to write and exam like SAT,MCAT,GMAT or  GRE in a controlled environment in order to get into school, why should school exams be different? If you want to eliminate cheating,stop the nonsense of take home exams. Open-book exams too are just licensed cheating of a sort. If you learnt anything in the class, then you should be able to remember it and give it back to the teacher. Cheating is a natural human predisposition that expresses itself given the right circumstances and depending on the moral upbringing of the individual. Since there's no objective way of controlling morality, the only option is to control the circumstance. Even with controlled environments, those who are morally reprehensible will still find ways of cheating but it'll be harder for them. They'll be caught easier and have to deal with the shame of being humiliated in the presence of their peers. Which will also be a source of discouragement to potential teachers. Not to mention that students will probably improve their knowledge and skills if they have to remember what they're taught in class and also learn the skills to handle the stressful situation of an exam which mirrors some of the challenges they will face when they get int o the workforce.

Frodo44444
Frodo44444

Bush graduated Harvard, slaughtered 60-100,000 innocent Iraqi civilians, and was our country's leader (with no repurcussions). Oh, we are so amazed at the social deterioration caused by this--quick, call the priest!

Eaglekissdisqus
Eaglekissdisqus

As far as honesty is concerned, students' cheating would be nothing as compared to our intellectual attitude concerning our basic issues, such as Christianity and its teachings. The Catholic Church, for example, has been doing more good for the poor and underprivileged all over the world than any other religions. To me, loving, caring and forgiving have always been the Church's strong and appealing pillars since her inception by Jesus. However, if the late Cardinal was right in saying that the Church was "200 years out of date" then this would be the doomsday for the Church and at the same time the Western civilization. Why? The Church, with her asserted truths, has always been believed to be the representative of God in the world, which can never be wrong. Now, if it turns out that she has been wrong, even in some aspects, then many things she has been teaching may not be the truths any more. Some major issues are: abortion, sex as a child-bearing function versus as a living need function (covering also condom use), divorce, same sex marriage, human killings in wars and death sentences, priest celibacy, women priests, and the looming scientific conclusion for the debate concerning creation versus evolution. Though originated from Israel - the Middle East, Christianity (majorly Catholicism) is not a Western religion, it has conquered the Roman Empire, now the West, which in turn has been spreading the religion as a Western ideology to the rest of the world. Now, if the Catholic Church has to revamp her doctrine, beliefs, and teachings, it will mean the same as saying that she is not the real representative of God, that all or at least many elements of her theology is man-made, which can become "out of date". I for one can see that our world is once again feeling itself in the dark, looking for the truth that has never been found. Can the East (e.g, Buddhism) provide some light? I doubt. I can feel that even if the Church gives all her assets to the poor, making her priests eat, live and dress like the poor, live among the poorest and serve them like Mother Theresa of Calcutta and many other saints, the major issues that the late Cardinal said make her "200 years out of date" will still be there, unsolved.  Is the human specie still in the dark since its birth? What is the real meaning behind abortion, life killing, sex and the other controvercies? If Harvard is seeking truth (Veritas), then what is Harvard's stance here?

 

Eaglekissdisqus
Eaglekissdisqus

Students' cheating is just the top of an iceberg. What is much much more vital to the meaning of our existence is  the truth (Veritas) that Harvard is supposed to be seeking.

If Christianity is the foundation of Western civilization, then are we living up to the basic teachings by Jesus - loving, caring and forgiving -which have always been the Christianity's strong and appealing pillars since its inception by Jesus. However, if the late Cardinal Martini was right in saying that the Catholic Church was "200 years out of date" then this would be the doomsday for the Church and at the same time the Western civilization. Why? The Church, with her asserted truths, has always been believed to be the representative of God in the world, which can never be wrong. Now, if it turns out that she has been wrong, even in some aspects, then many things she has been teaching may not be the truths any more. Some major issues are: abortion, sex as a child-bearing function versus as a living need function (covering also condom use), divorce, same sex marriage, human killings in wars and death sentences, priest celibacy, women priests, and the looming scientific conclusion for the debate concerning creation versus evolution. Though originated from Israel - the Middle East, Christianity (majorly Catholicism) is not a Western religion, it has conquered the Roman Empire, now the West, which in turn has been spreading the religion as a Western ideology to the rest of the world. Now, if the Catholic Church has to revamp her doctrine, beliefs, and teachings, it will mean the same as saying that she is not the real representative of God, that all or at least many elements of her theology is man-made, which can become "out of date". I for one can see that our world is once again feeling itself in the dark, looking for the truth that has never been found. Can the East (e.g, Buddhism) provide some light? I doubt. I can feel that even if the Church gives all her assets to the poor, making her priests eat, live and dress like the poor, live among the poorest and serve them like Mother Theresa of Calcutta and many other saints, the major issues that the late Cardinal said make her "200 years out of date" will still be there, unsolved.  Is the human specie still in the dark since its birth? What is the real meaning behind abortion, life killing, sex and the other controvercies? What is Harvard's and other Western intellectual institutions' stance concerning this foundational issue? It is much more vital to our honesty than sudents' cheating.

 

usnavy83
usnavy83

The true result of liberalism: no one is to be held accountable or to follow any rules. no surprise.

Christopher Hosford
Christopher Hosford

The University of Florida has long had a student honor code. Prominent among its elements is a pledge to never, ever cheat on a test. I always took that seriously -- the fact is, it goes without saying for many as a natural way to behave, and with no claim to virtue. It is how you're SUPPOSED  to behave. However, I'll never forget this incident: In my freshman year, in a large class taking a multiple-choice mid-term exam, looking up from my paper I accidentally saw the answer being written in by my classmate to my left  to the exact same question I was just about to answer. I quickly averted my eyes back to my paper ... and realized with horror that the answer I would have entered, without influence, was THE EXACT SAME ANSWER AS MY NEIGHBOR has just entered. Call me crazy, but I purposely marked what I knew to be the wrong answer, and continued on with the test. Is this a symptom of a crazed mind, or of another era?  Who knows. But I could do no other. You're either honest or you're not.

ajeps
ajeps

Cheating is as old as time, its not going away. I would rather see colleges but some effort into lowering tuition costs and securing jobs after graduation !

FrankMarco
FrankMarco

Everyone can get an "A" in a class if they study.  I have been in classes where everyone did get an "A." But if you dont want to put in the effort then you accept the lower grader or some people cheat.  I observed first hand cheating at the University of California, specifically in engineering or related classes, that was not limited to testing but also having others do homework assignments that were not collaboration but pay for product (homework assignment).  I mentioned this to more than one instructor and it was ignored.   I accepted my "B+" grade knowing I worked hard, I could have done better if I studied more and did all the work myself.  But it is common for many to take the easy route. Sometimes the cheaters do get caught such as 15 in my second year calulus class, again all enineering students.  The question is are we graduating people that have learned the subject and are ready to take good jobs and build our planes, roads, and bridgers or are we producing people that do not know and we put our lives at risk?

drorbenami
drorbenami

it's all vince lombardi's fault.....

aehchua
aehchua

I am someone who teaches at a university (not Harvard), and I have a policy similar to what is described in the article- you are allowed to collaborate, just not for tests.  My tests are always open book.  I do not have information on this case beyond what was described in the TIME article.

There are several tensions here that aren't well explored.  The first tension is the need for an individually identified grade and the fact that true creativity and intellectual contribution is a collaborative effort.  In academia, you don't copy others work, but you do share your work with others, because that sharing and the resulting commentary improves the work.  A lot of what the article describes as cheating appears to be as a result of that sharing.

The second tension is that between the administrative need for individual grades, and the demand by industry to inculcate the ability to work in teams.  Because we give grades, students become focused on obtaining the grade, rather than understanding the material.  The two ideas are correlated, but they are not the same.  There are people who can get a high grade, but not understand the material and people who understand the material, but cannot express it in the context of a test.

Also, if work is produced by a team, how can an individual be rewarded?  This is an inherent contradiction in terms.

In my classes, I resolve that tension by giving projects where I don't bother checking for copying and plagiarism.  For these projects, the grade distribution is expected to be fairly narrow.  I then give individual tests in a relatively closed environment to evaluate individual performance.  When tests have a focused answer (as appears to be the case for the Harvard course), they are in a in-classroom environment.  Take-home tests are only assigned for "open" questions where if I have 50 students, I can reasonably expect 50 different correct answers.  For example, here is a client's (very broad) requirements.  Produce for me something that meets those requirements.  These tests give me my variance.  I suggest that the problem the instructor has is with the evaluation design- every assessment encouraged collaboration, but had a small set of "correct" answers.

The issue in my mind is not cheating, or academic honesty.  The issue is with classroom assessment design.

Ice Berg
Ice Berg

Maybe HARVARD TEST is too hard for them.

I have seen upper and middle class kids cheated SATS and NYC REGENTS EXAMS to get into top schools and to get higher paid jobs. Sometime they blackmail against the teachers.  Stuyvesant kids cheated NYC REGENTS EXAMS. 42 students got caught.

I have seen some high school teachers and Professors cheated the exams too and wanted to get higher wages. They pretend they know everything but they don't.  For example, in school... There's thousands of teachers don't know how to use real algebra and real calculus in schools. The read them as examples. It's waste of tax dollars.

Iamtina5
Iamtina5

There's only one way to deal with cheating:  expel the cheating students.  In order to do this, Harvard needs to get parents and students to agree  in advance that if caught cheating, they will withdraw from school, they will not sue, and they will pay a penalty.  The schools are so afraid of students and parents that they don't penalize cheating.  Remember the MIT cheating incident in the early 1990's?  Faced with irrefutable evidence, MIT was so afraid that some MIT faculty even argued that there are benefits to cheating.  They should have been fired.  Cheating is now trained into young people early on:  that's how a lot of them got in to school.  Only the harshest punishment will deter cheating.

Cane Pazzo
Cane Pazzo

Does anyone really think this has never happened before?

sixtymile
sixtymile

How did the examples of government and political leadership get left off the list of obvious cheaters who obviously succeed doing it?

LoudRambler
LoudRambler

 Academic dishonesty is on the rise since, probably, late 80es; it was definitely rising through 90es and skyrocketed in 2000's.

 There are two very big parts of the problem.

 The first part is that the bets in the academic performance game got higher: due to grade inflation and complete refusal of companies to even consider hiring top students from anything but top tier universities, people are under an awful lot of pressure to get 100% mark. They always were, but if you do it on watered down tests that allow half of the class to get the top grade as long as they are merely careful - cheating becomes much bigger advantage than in the past.

 The second part is the fact that for a while getting a Ph.D. in US was one of the easiest parts to immigrate into US; thus, this created a culture of nearly slave Ph.D. labour with a steady stream of students from third world countries that were desperate to hold onto that very same Ph.D., a culture of immigrant profs who very often severely discriminated against all students that are not from their home country (yes, I mean China and India first and foremost) - just because they knew these students were much more controllable and look the other way in case of shenanigans. 

dimukh
dimukh

Cheating in take home examination is very common. Honesty is not the best policy in this avaricious world where the humble and honest merely survive. Hope, after getting married they don't cheat on their take home spouses.

syrocrat
syrocrat

The problem of cheating goes to the core of the methodology used in learning. And, it's a methodology that is not only characteristic of the colleges and universities, but of the secondary education that precedes it. Change the methodology so as the need or occasion for cheating will no longer exist.

Mary Della Valle
Mary Della Valle

Want to reduce the "need" to cheat?

Eliminate the fraternities, sororities, parties of any kind, sports - you get the picture.

College should be for serious students only.

Everyone else can go hang out on the street corner.

zza371creek
zza371creek

The problem with education is that many people view it as a way to make more money and it also cost a lot of money to get a education. I think that is wrong education should be free to everyone. I like the new online universities that give away classes for free. Learning is a life long thing we all have to do and it should be free for everyone that wants to do it.

If a work place wants to see if a person has the correct skills they should test him. I think many companies have started to use state schools funded by tax payers as employee training.  And that is not the goal of education that training should be paid for and done by the companies of the country like they used to do.

 

Once the world opens up and education becomes free the world is going to be a different place. It will not be the rich kids go to the good schools. It will be the kids that are the smartest ones finish the classes.

Ice Berg
Ice Berg

That would be Apple vs. Samsung Android. 

Godzilla1960
Godzilla1960

Yes, as the authors state up front.  The problem of cheating, however, is on the rise and the culture has changed so that many cheating students don't seem to think they are cheating.

That is what is different.

Iamtina5
Iamtina5

It has nothing to do with methodology.  It has to do with the character flaws in students.

mdh46
mdh46

Mary Della Valle,

Being a student is not limited to academics. Non-academics organizations of all types can be a fabulous environment for students to learn life skills that go far beyond anything you can teach in a classroom- I think it's ridiculous that you're placing the cheating blame here. If we really want to reduce the "need" to cheat we would need to reduce the growing standards and pressure placed on students for achievement- and that pressure is constantly increasing with no foreseeable future of decline. High achievers will do anything now for success, even your  "serious students", uninvolved in any outside organizations, will cheat to get what they want. It's not because they're scoundrels, it's because they want the success more than the academic honesty.

I'm a 22 year old full-time MBA grad student with a 3.7 gpa- I consider myself a serious student. As  an undergrad I was a member of  4 university affiliated organizations and not once did any of these group facilitated or encourage any sort of cheating. I'm not saying this applies to all organizations, but for you to place all of the blame here is ludicrous.

I can't believe I'm even stooping so low as to entertain you with a reaction for your ignorant comment. I often read this section and laugh at people's crazy remarks- but this time I got sucked in. While you sit at your desk hiding behind your piles of books (and not cheating, good for you!), I'll be happy to go hang out on a street corner. From there, I'll get a job managing people like you. Why? Because I've learned more about teamwork, honesty, social skills, and ethics (I don't cheat, good for me too!) being a member of those 4 organizations than any A+ grade in a class could ever teach me.

You and the rest of your "serious student" friends that "like" your comment will get a big slap in the face from reality when you realize life isn't all about being book smart. For once, I'd like to see someone admit their error in this black hole of a comments section. I wonder if anyone will even read this- at least I got it out there.

-M

Kirk McDermid
Kirk McDermid

Wow, so many stereotypes.  Academic study does not preclude social lives.  You think those Harvard students were dilettantes?  The need to cheat arises primarily because the grade has become the end in itself rather than feedback on the true end: learning.  The 'need' of society to neatly credentialize and quantify students is what has caused this.  Superficial standards of learning lead to superficial responses - i.e., cheating.

ComeBreakMe
ComeBreakMe

 Please...I'm glad a person like you isn't in charge of anything important.  The last thing we need is some totalitarian "bee hive" society of worker bees, who never have any fun.   As far as I'm concerned, you should be the one thrown onto the street corner.

Kristen R Turner
Kristen R Turner

Cheating on American campuses is nothing new. If students can get away with it, yes, a good many will...Unlimitedjoys.blogspot.com

Nathaniel M. Campbell
Nathaniel M. Campbell

How is your "free education" going to pay for teachers? And classrooms and libraries and computers and all of the other things that facilitate an education?

The budgets of most of the country's top universities are around $1billion a year.  Where is that money going to come from if nobody has to pay for an education?

(To be fair, I agree with the substance of your argument, to wit: education is about a passion for learning and thinking and discovering, not about making money.)

syrocrat
syrocrat

Ahhh ... but the "character flaws" are a direct result of the flaws in the methodology.

Godzilla1960
Godzilla1960

I think that is too simplistic.  Many students seem to believe the definition of cheating has changed.

Ice Berg
Ice Berg

How is your "free education" going to pay for teachers?  TAX...

Rich don't pay TAXES.