The Structure of Compulsory Schooling Promotes Cheating

 

Source: Psychology Today, Oct 2012

Our system of compulsory (forced) schooling is almost perfectly designed to promote cheating.

Students are required to spend way more time than they wish doing work that they did not choose, that bores them, that seems purposeless to them. They are constantly told about the value of high grades. Grades are used as essentially the sole motivator. Everything is done for grades. Advancement through the system, and eventual freedom from it, depends upon grades.

Students become convinced that high grades and advancement to the next level are the be-all and end-all of their school work. By the time they are 11 or 12 years old, most are realistically cynical about the idea that school is fundamentally a place for learning. 

On anonymous questionnaires, as many as 98% of students admit to some form of cheating and roughly 70% percent admit to repeated acts of the most blatant forms of cheating, such as copying whole tests from other students or plagiarizing whole papers. 

One of the tragedies of our system of schooling is that it deflects students from discovering what they truly love and find worth doing for its own sake. Instead, it teaches them that life is a series of hoops that one must get through, by one means or another, and that success lies in others’ judgments rather than in real, self-satisfying accomplishments.

 

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