I’m not exactly sure what happened during midterms, but I have been hearing many allegations of cheating during the exams. Cheating is certainly not something new in high school, this got me thinking about why exactly students would risk so much for a single grade. Think about that gamble. You either somehow get away with it while acting right under a teacher’s nose or the teacher catches you and any chance you had of being viewed as a good student is decimated. Imagine taking a test with a teacher, who has already caught you cheating once. From what I understand, the cheating during midterms was somewhat coordinated. I wasn’t there and everything I’ve heard has been from secondhand sources, but if that is what happened, I find the cheating to be even more baffling. Aren’t you more likely to get caught the more people are in on it? That’s why I think it’s important to figure out the logic behind doing something obviously idiotic. Millburn students are at least smart, so there has to be some greater logic behind why they would risk their academic career to slightly benefit that very academic career.
Logically, I would like to believe that most of us are aware 20 years from now when we have actual lives outside of our educations, a poor midterm grade will mean absolutely nothing. Why then would students be willing to risk their reputations and getting a zero for the mere chance of doing better? Millburn High School is a stressful environment, there’s no denying it. Regardless of whether that’s right, as a student I know the feeling of never being able to compare to all the extraordinarily intelligent people around me. Those feelings are natural and the need to act on them is strong. What makes the difference between those who choose to cheat and those who don’t is those who act on those inherent insecurities and those who don’t. In a place where getting into college is paramount, grades like midterms are inflated, and the need to do well becomes all consuming. Cheating is wrong, we know that. It’s not Millburn’s fault that its students are obsessed with grades enough to cheat. However, we can’t discount the impact the environment can have on our level of desperateness.
To be fair, it’s easy to make the argument that of Millburn is a difficult school and the students are stressed that it manifests on questionable actions. Another possibility could be that students don’t feel the need to put in the effort. We won’t need to know about oxidative phosphorylation or logarithms in daily life and if we by the chance do need to, there’s always Google. By that logic, why should a student waste time studying when s/he knows that it would be easy to get away with cheating?
Maybe I’m giving too much thought to what happened. Maybe students just cheat in order to get a grade and there’s no larger cause behind it. Although I can’t get over how students carry out actions that they know are clearly wrong for something that will be pointless in such a short period of time. This is not the kind of situation that can be warped into seeming like it’s not really cheating. There is a lack of logic, and that could be the point. Right now, I’m interested to see how this plays out. Will students become more willing to cheat based on what happened during midterms? Less willing?