Response to Colleen Wenke's essay "too much pressure" about cheating in school

Essay by lauren7249High School, 11th grade May 2004

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In Colleen Wenke's essay, "Too Much Pressure," Wenke argues that cheating is a rising problem in college and especially high school that must be solved. She cites statistics indicating that the frequency of cheating has increased over the past few generations and attributes the problem to high levels of pressure on students to succeed, be accepted to competitive colleges, and earn a high income when they are adults. Overall, her arguments are weak. While she is clear in convincing the reader that the main cause of cheating is "Too Much Pressure," she does not effectively persuade him or her that it is an imminent concern and is vague in her proposed solutions to the problem.

In the first paragraph, Wenke puts the reader in the perspective of a student that is under pressure during a test and resorts to cheating in order to do well. By doing this, she evokes sympathy for the cheater, weakening her argument.

Instead of seeing cheating as a problem, the reader is already identifying with it as a solution. In the beginning of the paragraph the student is in danger of failing. After the student cheats, there is a sense of relief and resolution of the situation. Also, she later describes instances in which she herself copied homework from other students, causing the problem to seem benign. If Wenke is trying to convince the reader that cheating is bad and needs to be corrected, she has failed miserably in her introduction.

Another fault in Wenke's argument is that she is not specific as to the negative consequences of cheating. In the last paragraph she says that eventually the people who are cheating will end up in high positions of power, but fails to give a specific example of why this would be a problem.