Cheating is perhaps the most prevalent dishonorable behavior encountered in the academic world. Surveys indicate that a large percentage of students cheat and that it is widely practiced in their schools. An article in Newsweek International reported that on a study conducted by Duke University among 50,000 college students and 18,000 high-school students, 70 percent said they had cheated.
One common way of cheating happens in exams. Besides the traditional way of looking over someone's shoulders, students use more sophisticated methods such as buying stolen exams from students or the Internet and text messaging via cell phones.
Another form of cheating is plagiarism defined by the University of Phoenix as "representing the words or ideas of another as one's own in an academic exercise." The use of the Internet has made it very easy for students to copy and paste material, then change a few words and claim it as their own.
Another method of plagiarism is buying papers from others or the Internet.
The same technology that makes it easy to cheat is also being used to detect plagiarism. Some of the common search engines used by universities are Turnitin, The Essay Verification Engine, and Plagiarism-Finder.
Whether found out by sophisticated technology or by vigilant teachers, cheaters face dire consequences for their lack of values. The least they can expect is to receive a bad grade and delay their advancement. At the other end of the spectrum, they can be suspended or even expelled, which may keep them from being accepted at other reputable universities.
The saddest consequence, though, is that these cheaters, whether or not they are caught, will become the people running our businesses and other institutions. In view of what is happening in schools and universities, it is no wonder, then, that our society has produced...