General Question

troubleinharlem's avatar

Is it better for cheaters to get caught in the future or immediately?

Asked by troubleinharlem (7951 points ) November 3rd, 2010

I just got out of my psychology class where we were taking a test, and these two girls beside me were definitely going over their answers (I think it’s b, no, its definitely a, etc). I told the teacher discreetly (writing it on the back of my test and showing it to him when I turned it in), but I just don’t know if I really did the right thing.

I know that cheating is wrong, and I know that its because you’re not being honest with work and things like that, but is it better to let them get caught in the future or to tell on them immediately?

I already told him, so there’s no way I can get that back or anything… but which is it?

I love how the answer was definitely not a, but it was d…

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69 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

It’s better when you’re not ratting on people who have no causal relationship to how you will do.

troubleinharlem's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir : ... so you’re saying that its wrong that I told the professor that they were obviously cheating. I don’t get that, I mean, cheating is cheating. There are rules, we sign an honor code at the bottom of the test that says “On my honor, I have neither given nor received any unauthorized help on this test/quiz/exam”.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@troubleinharlem I’m not saying it’s right or wrong – each person does what they believe to be right, certainly. I’m just saying I wouldn’t do it because how is it any of your business?

JustmeAman's avatar

Frankly I don’t think it is up to anyone but the girls and it is their problem. For example. I have a health issue and as a result I fell asleep during the early morning of work. I was discovered and written up. After telling them about my health issue that was taken back. But there is a guy here that I work with who sleeps every day. I could have said “Look at him he sleeps every day but you write me up and not him.” But what he does is not my problem that is between him and his work. It is not up to me. The only thing that might involve you would be the grading curve but I still don’t think it is up to you. It would be between the instructor and the students.

squirbel's avatar

I believe either/or is best… depending on the timing.

I’d just raise my hand or make eye contact with the teacher and signal what was happening. It’s better for the teacher to catch the act, than for you to be the only witness.

Been there, done that.

CMaz's avatar

Focus on what you need to do, to accomplish the task at hand.

Anything else. Like ratting out a cheater. Is a waist of time and energy.
Unless, the cheater will take away from your accomplishment.
Like a first place trophy or something.

Then the cheating would in fact be interfering with what you need to do to accomplish your task.

It’s called picking your fight. THAT as far as I am concerned was a bad choice.

marinelife's avatar

@troubleinharlem I think that you definitely did the right thing.

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I am disappointed in you. Cheating is everybody’s business. Would you want, later in life, to be treated by psychologists who cheated their way through school?

troubleinharlem's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir : Since when is cheating not everybody’s business?

squirbel's avatar

Everyone who is saying “it’s none of your business so keep doing what you’re doing” have no integrity, in my opinion.

troubleinharlem's avatar

@marinelife: Okay… I was just feeling kind of conflicted with the whole thing. /:

Seaofclouds's avatar

I would’ve have ratted them out as well. When I was in nursing school, I did rat out some cheaters. Do you guys really want nurses out there that had to cheat on their exams to pass? If they couldn’t prepared themselves enough for their exams to pass, do you think they’re going to prepare themselves for the things they need to do to take care of you? Granted a psychology course is a bit different, but I still would have done it.

squirbel's avatar

@Seaofclouds Exactly. People who have cheated in life are a pain to work beside in the professional world, and oftentimes a danger to society.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@marinelife I disagree. And this doesn’t mean I don’t have integrity. To me, integrity means something else entirely, apparently. And let’s leave it at that. I love how telling on someone is passed of as caring about the future of society. Please, what bs.

kevbo's avatar

I think your main problem was the lack of style in your delivery. Next time, stand on your chair, point, and exclaim J’accuse!!!

troubleinharlem's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir : But what about trust, honor, integrity and all of those things? I’m not trying to argue, but I just don’t really understand your point…

@kevbo : I’m not sure if that would have been a good idea… it was a rollie chair.

JustmeAman's avatar

Do any of you really think an exam truly shows what a person has learned or knows and do you think there are not people out there that cheated on exams to get to where they are now? Testing is very questionable as to its effectiveness it is more of an exercise in memory. In real life you can look at the books and look up what you need to know.

marinelife's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Why is “telling on someone” a bad thing? We are not children here.

BarnacleBill's avatar

Does your school require you to sign an honor code with regards to cheating? I know some IB programs do, and if you are aware of others cheating and do not report it, then you are an accessory to the cheating if it’s discovered.

I think you did the right thing.

troubleinharlem's avatar

@JustmeAman : well, yes, but its for discipline and training your mind to work through different problems, also. Just because I can look up something in a book doesn’t mean that I have the brain skills to work through the problem.

@BarnacleBill: Yeah… we have to sign “On my honor, I have neither given nor received any unauthorized help on this test/exam.”

squirbel's avatar

Not every test is a memory exercise – most of my exams weren’t. You might have been in one of those remedial classes though.

troubleinharlem's avatar

@squirbel: Its not remedial… sure, its PSYC 101, but geez, it isn’t for mentally challenged kids, either. And it might not have to do with memory, but it would have to do with study habits and such.

JustmeAman's avatar

Some testing is a good thing but most testing is a memory thing and trying to insult me by saying I was in remedial class is not very nice either. So ethically you would tell on a cheater but tell me I’m a remedial class person. I would ask is that good ethics?

CMaz's avatar

People. Cheating is part of life.

Like, driving through a yellow light, embellishing information, boob jobs and “Cheating” death.

troubleinharlem's avatar

@ChazMaz : Yes, but what if everyone did it? Then what?
thats what I like to ask in situations like this.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@JustmeAman If you were having a heart attack, would you want the medical team trying to save your life to have to go look up what they needed to do in a book or know it and do it right away?

CMaz's avatar

The amazing thing is everyone does. In some form or another.
Some are just more apparent and detrimental then others.

Like I said, you need to pick your fight.

JustmeAman's avatar

@Seaofclouds

Let me ask you just because a person was good on a test does it mean he is going to be a good doctor? Your question is not a good one because Doctors spend so much time as an assitant before they get to do surgery.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@JustmeAman Doing good on tests does not mean the person will be a good doctor, but I wasn’t talking just about doctors.

Nonetheless, it wasn’t a bad question because all medical professionals start somewhere immediately after finishing school. Do you want them to know their stuff when your life is on the line or do you want them to need to go look it up because they didn’t learn it when they were suppose to?

Testing is a way to make sure they know what they need to know. If they fail their test, it shows the didn’t learn what they needed and they need to spend more time on that subject. Sure, they could look it up later, but is that the person you want caring for you when your life is on the line?

wundayatta's avatar

To me, there are so many issues involved that I have no idea how to pull them together. I guess I’ll start with the honor code. I think that if you sign the honor code, and you have agreed to identify cheaters to the teacher, then you should fulfill that agreement. You gave your word.

Your honor code didn’t say you had any obligation to help enforce the code—the implication being that it’s up to the teacher to figure out what is going on. This is a morally ambiguous area, and it kind of depends on what you think is wrong with this particular kind of cheating and what impact the cheating has on you, the class, and on society. It also depends on the goal of testing.

Which brings me to testing. Testing is supposed to help you figure out how you are doing. What testing actually does is give teachers a way to show what they are doing. If you use tests as evaluation mechanisms, then you are always teaching to the test, and this, I believe, perverts the goal of education. Education, I believe, should be about learning, not passing tests. They are often not the same thing. Even worse they often turn people off of learning because they aren’t natural.

The natural way to teach is to give people real experiences with whatever it is you are teaching. When people get hands-on involved, they tend to be more effective later on in life, and isn’t that really the goal of teaching? We want people to do well and to be more effective, and we can’t know what will happen until much later in life.

The best evaluation system I know of is written evaluations. Not grading. Not test scores. But a personal assessment by a teacher which goes into depth about each student. Depth.

When teachers have thirty students or more in a class, this isn’t really possible. So they go to the fallback position—testing—and things go downhill from there. Teachers have to hand in grades so they test. Grades are needed so the the school can certify you, so they grade. School certification is needed so employers or further education can decide whether you would be appropriate. It’s all built on a house of cards, and while it may seem to “work,” we have no idea how well it really works. We don’t know all the people who are cut off from opportunities because, for whatever reason, they performed poorly on a test despite knowing the material backwards and forwards. Nor do we know how many people there are that are tracked one way because of tests, when they should have gone another.

If the testing system is bogus, then is cheating really cheating? Where do we owe our allegiance? To the testing system or to the world at large? What if these girls could do great things but are turned off into some side street and we lose their talent which might have cured some disease or something?

As if that isn’t enough, there is also the issue of collaboration—a skill needed for most of our lives, but that is forbidden, in most cases, during our educational lives. These girls are practicing problem solving in a way they will need the rest of their lives. Being an individual answering a test is a skill that is rarely, if ever, used in the working world.

As @ChazMaz says, cheating is a useful life skill. It helps you get around bureaucracy, and any of you who have worked with or had any contact with a bureaucracy probably knows that cheating is the only way you can get things done in a timely way. Many rules in life just don’t make sense. Are you going to try and get involved in politics so you can raise the speed limit, or are you going to just go as fast as you think appropriate? It’s a time vs benefit analysis. Most people don’t think the time it takes to change a bad law is worth it. They just ignore the law.

Personally, I don’t buy into the testing system. I don’t think it works effectively. I think it teaches the wrong things. So I wouldn’t report those people. I have better things to do with my time. If the teacher is worried about it, he or she can be more vigilant. After all, isn’t that their job?

JustmeAman's avatar

Don’t any of you think that if the person is always trying to cheat that it will not catch up to them? In their field of study be it a Dr or anything else it will show in their work if they do not know the field in which they are working. Do you think that all Doctors now are competent and okay to perform surgery?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@marinelife Exactly, we’re not children. Rather than talk to the person if you really care that they’re cheating and ensuring a terrible future for society (which would happen if you really did care), you go on and tell the teacher accomplishing nothing but getting that person in trouble and making them better the next time around at cheating? I don’t know, I just have a very aversive reaction to people who run to the teacher and tell on others rather than speaking to people directly.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@JustmeAman I’ve met many doctors and nurses that I wonder how they got their license to practice and I would never trust them to take care of me or any of my family. Did they cheat? Who knows, I wasn’t in school with them.

Also, with nursing school, we weren’t tested just on paper, we were also tested in simulation labs that put us in the situations we could be seeing once we started working. I saw students cheat on those. So it’s not just about written tests. If the students were cheating in those situations, it shows they didn’t know what they were suppose to do. What if they were alone, they wouldn’t have anyone to ask for help. I’m sorry, but I don’t agree with cheating. We had times were we worked together as a team and we were allowed to help each other out, but we also had times we were tested individually.

JustmeAman's avatar

That is entirely a different test and I said some testing is great. Last year I took care of my wife who almost passed. There were nurses that I had to correct and show them what to do for her. There were a couple of nurses that I asked not to return to her care any longer. Her surgeon was really on my side and helped teach those things for me so I knew how to care for her. This has NOTHING to do with testing or cheating or even telling on a cheater. I just don’t feel telling on some one is a persons business unless they confront them personally.

Thammuz's avatar

@troubleinharlem You did the right thing. You contributed to making the test results correct (or more correct than they would have been), you contributed to have them punished, hopefully making them either quit cheating or at least become better at it (either way they’ll improve in something) and you got on the teacher’s good side.

Plus, assuming they don’t know you ratted them out you’ve lost nothing.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@JustmeAman I think it does have to do with testing, so I think we’ll have to agree to disagree. Confronting a cheater will not suddenly make them know the things they didn’t know, nor alert the instructors that the person doesn’t really know the material. If it is not brought to the instructors attention, they will get by and be passed.

JustmeAman's avatar

I will agree to disagree. That is how it should be. Smile

troubleinharlem's avatar

@Thammuz : They don’t know, so its all good.

prolificus's avatar

There are three ways you could have handled this: 1. Tell someone in authority, 2. Talk to the ones whom you saw cheating, or 3. Mind your business. Any one of those three could be appropriate depending on the situation. Personally, I agree with @Simone_De_Beauvoir – it probably would be best to speak to the person. I think it would not only show you care (whether it’s for the person or about cheating), but also it would show a level of respect and maturity. It’s a hard skill to learn, especially when you’re young and you’re taught “if you see something, say something.” However, when it comes to non-criminal activity, I think the right thing to do is to confront the person in question.

In work situations, when a coworker tells on another coworker, it makes the situation worse, not better. The boss ends up having to deal with hearsay, and you end up looking like a non-team player. It’s actually unprofessional. In fact, telling on someone tends to be a passive-aggressive form of “righting wrongs.” When we learn to deal directly with people, it helps us to gain proactive ways of being and communicating. School is the perfect setting to gain these skills now!

If one opts for minding one’s business, this can lead to becoming apathetic towards innapropriate behavior. I suggest one makes sure he/she chooses wisely for the right reasons. For example, if someone’s innapropriate behavior does not have any negative effect on anyone else, then it would be appropriate to ignore the behavior. Sometimes people do innapropriate things to get attention or to get ahead. The truth always comes out and eventually they will reap the consequences.

Smashley's avatar

I’ve felt similarly. I compare it to littering. One individual piece of litter isn’t a big deal, even if it does bother people, but what it does on a larger scale is announce that the person doing it believes that the social convention that people shouldn’t litter is invalid, or at least, doesn’t apply to them. One person litters, the next person is more likely to. It’s easier than finding a trash can, and “everyone does it, anyway, so my contribution is irrelevant.” The same is true for people who don’t vote, people who speed, etc. Their individual acts have very little importance, except that it encourages others to do likewise.

In the case of the cheating girls, it seems unlikely that you were the only one to notice. In this instance, the two were basically telling everyone around them that cheating is acceptable, making it on some level, a logical error NOT to cheat. They are undermining education as a whole and decreasing the value of the time effort and money that everyone else is putting into it. The value of a degree is less when less effort, intelligence, and time is required to obtain it. So yeah, they are harming you, and everyone else, and it IS your business.

You weren’t wrong to do what you did, though there maybe could have been other ways of handling it. Being ballsy and just telling them in a low, stern, voice, that they’d better cut that shit out, will usually get them to stop. The “no-cheating” rule is restored, they’ll turn red and will be less likely to cheat in the future. Plus, you won’t be stuck with the feeling that you might have seriously harmed their academic careers for a single indiscretion. Of course, if they keep it up, it’s absolutely the time to tell on them.

JustmeAman's avatar

One more comment then I will leave it alone. What we are looking at here is to dictate and mandate the actions of others. If we take it upon ourselves to be our brothers keeper then where does it stop? Do we take our own moral system and make sure everyone around us acts as we think they should for a better society? Do we make sure if anyone does something we think wrong that we get involved and make them owe up to it? Does the United States go to every country out that and force our form of government on others because it is the acceptable moral? Lets make sure we all don’t cheat on anything or society is damaged. Where do we draw the line?

Seaofclouds's avatar

@JustmeAman In this situation, it is the school’s honor policy that says it is wrong for them to cheat, not @troubleinharlem‘s personal morals. She is sticking to the school’s honor policy that she, and the girls that cheated, had to sign.

GeorgeGee's avatar

While teachers tend to hate “cheating,” the behavior of asking someone else for help when you are having difficulty is actually a good skill to develop. Students who are able to get others to help them through difficult test problems are likely the ones who will be successful later on. Imagine you have a medical problem and your surgeon doesn’t understand it. The good surgeon seeks a “consult,” the advice and suggestions of colleagues. The bad surgeon plows through and “gets the wrong answer” and doggedly does his own work regardless of the fact that he does not have have adequate knowledge or skill to succeed. That might well mean you die in surgery, upon which I don’t think we’ll be congratulating the surgeon for “doing his own work.” Come to think of it, next time I go for surgery, I’ll insist on a surgeon with a history of cheating.

YARNLADY's avatar

“Every time we turn our heads the other way when we see the law flouted, when we tolerate what we know to be wrong, when we close our eyes and ears to the corrupt because we are too busy or too frightened, when we fail to speak up and speak out, we strike a blow against freedom and decency and justice.” Robert F Kennedy

Evelyn_475's avatar

Come on people. This girl is in school, not the business world. There are different rules for both. I believe that what she did was the right thing to do. You have to learn how to play the politics of the classroom just like you must learn the politics of the office. That is what it boils down to, pure politics.

The way I see it is, everyone in that classroom could someday be competing with me in the job market. (Especially taking into consideration these rough projections of the future job market) If I see someone cheating, I would say something to the professor. Most professors appreciate that so not only will you gain “brownie points” but the professor will also be biased towards those students in future grading which may put you above them on the totem pole of school grading curves. The professor may also be more attentive to them during future tests so they just might be caught in the act.

As far as approaching the students. Well, they are more likely to retaliate in anger than to think about “changing” their ways. Let’s get real… if everyone played by the “honor code” there would be no need for police and “laws” in society.
Most people in the world refrain from committing crimes because they know that there are consequences for their actions, not because someone will “tell them what they did was wrong”

@troubleinharlem Good job

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Cheaters in school are an annoyance, they undermine anyone who doesn’t cheat, they discourage others who may really have to struggle with their studies in order to just keep above water. I have no issue with what you did or how you did it.

lillycoyote's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I’m having trouble believing that you are actually saying these things. You have degrees. Doesn’t it matter that you worked for yours and someone else didn’t? It would would really bother me. And when people cheat in school it is everyone’s business. Do you and Alex want to drive yourselves and your precious babies over a bridge that was designed by someone who cheated his way through his engineering degrees?

troubleinharlem's avatar

@lillycoyote : Alex?
my name is Alex… but I’m assuming that it isn’t me.

troubleinharlem's avatar

@Smashley, @Simone_De_Beauvoir, @prolificus, @ChazMaz, Well… I couldn’t have just been like “HEY STOP CHEATING OKAY” in a setting like that. And what if they blew up at me? Then what would I do in that situation when everyone would be looking and such? That doesn’t seem to be the right answer to me… I don’t know.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@lillycoyote – I am really having trouble understanding how an instance of cheating necessitates a bridge badly designed? You’re having an entirely too emotional of a reaction and extrapolating an event to a future disaster that may not come to be. We have no idea whether the people in question have always cheated or will continue to cheat. We have no idea if they, with their cheating ways, will even get degrees. I must have a completely different view on this but I will not have any more people try to pull at emotional strings talking about my family and children, so please stop (where do people get off telling me they’re disappointed in me as if we have the kind of a relationship where you can do that, anyway? I’m troubled by this) Cheating is wrong and it doesn’t serve the person doing it but I hate those who ‘run to mommy’, okay because it doesn’t solve the issue – when has telling on someone ever solved the issue with what they were doing to begin with. As for my own degrees, I know my worth and the work I put into my education – at the end of the day, that is what I answer for. How other people got theirs is for their karma bus to decide – after all, in real life, whether we have degrees or not hardly matters and I can always tell a swindler from the real deal. Finally, there is a huge difference between being able to cheat on a psych exam (c’mon, how hard is that course anyway…why bother, but anyway) and building a faulty bridge. But I’m glad everyone’s enjoying their high horse like they haven’t cheated in their lives. @troubleinharlem – at least then you would stand up for what you believe in instead of going the cowardly (in my opinion, feel free to listen to everyone else as well when considering this) way.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

Okay, off the top, if you’re paying attention to someone else cheating, then you’re probably not focusing enough on your own exam. I really don’t care if people “cheat their way through” because in all seriousness, school exams are mostly a complete regurgitated example of a failed way of educating. That aside, I think of things not generally in black and white, though in this case, is the potential backlash really worth it? I don’t think so. Why care about other people wasting what small glimmer of education they could get by studying? Do your best and ignore others’ choice of ignorance.
@lillycoyote I don’t see the actual connection between cheating through school and somehow designing a collapsing bridge… That’s a pretty extreme circumstance. I went to college with a lot of engineers and they’re sharp as nails… I can almost guarantee they cheated at some point, probably because they were too busy learning to bother with memorizing useless stuff for an econ exam, or for an intro to circuits final.

GeorgeGee's avatar

@lillycoyote “Do you and Alex want to drive yourselves and your precious babies over a bridge that was designed by someone who cheated his way through his engineering degrees?”
Yes, as a matter of fact, lilly, I do. The reason is because I want that bridge to be designed by someone who was doggedly determined to get the right answer no matter what. If that engineer had to ask someone else for help and compare notes to get the right answer, it was a good thing he was smart enough to seek that help. See also the example of the surgeon I gave earlier. The best indicator of a BAD engineer is someone who refuses help and wants to make a personal statement in his designs, “this bridge was my design and mine alone, mua ha ha”

iamthemob's avatar

Given the choice between the two (and I’ll admit that I haven’t read the whole thread, so apologies), I would err on the side of ratting out. Considering that, in some sense, you’re all competing for the same jobs, etc., cheaters are screwing you over. That makes it personal, even if they don’t see it that way.

Any personal issues of the particular person can be dealt with by the administration. If a parent had just died, this was a clear first offense, etc., there are sanctions that the person can deal with most often. If it’s habitual, they need to be taken out of the mix as early as possible.

The only thing that would make me think twice would be a “zero tolerance policy.” But I don’t think that there should be such a policy in any sense.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@iamthemob In which case, she’d be doing it for selfish reasons, just to not get ‘screwed over’ and certainly not for some lofty reasons.

iamthemob's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir – I don’t believe in doing anything for lofty reasons when someone is screwing me over. ;-)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@iamthemob At least you’re honest about it.

iamthemob's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir – I try. ;-). Besides, I don’t see the need to have a lofty reason when something is objectively wrong. Someone cheating to get ahead is objectively wrong. Therefore, it should be exposed, whatever the motivations of the person.

I do have the same problem with the “running to mommy” issue you have if the person is trying to claim that they did it “for the good of all mankind.” That sort of self-righteousness should be called out as much as cheating. (not commenting on anything anyone else said on this post or the OP – just an objective statement based on my opinions sort of subjective-objective ;-)).

troubleinharlem's avatar

@JeanPaulSartre : No, I was paying enough to my own exam. It just distracted me enough so that I could notice.
@Simone_De_Beauvoir : Uhm… I was doing it because we sign an honor code. I didn’t do it for selfish reasons.

Whatever, I did the right thing in my opinion.

iamthemob's avatar

@troubleinharlem – I was going to mention that where I went to school, we had a strict honor code as well. We had to sign a statement at the end of all tests and papers averring to the fact that we hadn’t given or received help on them.

troubleinharlem's avatar

And it isn’t really snitching, I mean, if I was going with the code that we are required to sign, then what is the big deal? Yeah, they were cheating, and they shouldn’t have been. I couldn’t have called them out right there in that setting.

that bugs me that people think that its okay a bit, honestly

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@troubleinharlem Fair enough. I think cheating is probably a natural outcropping of a broken system. I wouldn’t go as far as commending them for working smarter and not harder, but learning to cheat well could be more educational than the prison system for youth that is education in America.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I think it’s ridiculous to argue that a person cheating is somehow diligent and determined to get the right answers because they want to know the best way. Face it, most people who cheat do it because they are not diligent or determined in their focus or studies- they’re slackers who just want to end up with a degree and then most of them will be bitching when they don’t land the jobs they feel entitled to.

There are so few people of accomplishment and consistency who don’t fit the norm of being studious, I wouldn’t gamble my family or friends’ safety going across their designed bridge. I personallly don’t put a lot of faith in underdogs or extremists, I can’t afford it.

iamthemob's avatar

@Neizvestnaya – I don’t know if that’s a fair generalization though. The pressure to succeed is as much a drive, if not moreso, to succeed than a fear of failure. Most people who are slackers are fine with just skating by – that doesn’t really require cheating so much as barely paying attention. The people I’ve known who have been accused of cheating were all pretty driven individuals – that’s anecdotal, true…but it seems that factoring in the pressure associated with academic performance and its assumed correlation to real world success gives us a much, much more diverse group of “cheaters” than you spell out. ;-)

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@iamthemob: I hear you. I’m of a generation who’s grandparents and parents said, “go to college and get a degree so you can be something. The pressures were huge all around but I did notice the best, the most gifted and successful were the ones who did the studying and not the cheating. According to my consistently A-student ex step-daughter (19) then it’s still that way and still a general animosity towards those who cheat.

iamthemob's avatar

Maybe they’re just really good at it – they are the best and most gifted, after all. ;-) kidding – but only slightly.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@troubleinharlem Good for you – now you know where you stand and that you did the right thing.

Smashley's avatar

@troubleinharlem – It does take some balls, but even in a test situation it would have been possible without arousing too much attention. A simple poke and a look would have been enough. They wouldn’t blow up at you without making a scene that would have ended in them getting caught, so it seems very unlikely, and not harmful to you even if it did happen.

If everyone looks, let them. You didn’t do a thing wrong. If you have convictions, stand behind them.

Evelyn_475's avatar

@Smashley- Don’t you think that trying to “poke and look at them” during the test would have been a liability for this girl? If she were to do that in class, the professor noticed, I am sure that he would have though SHE was the one cheating. Why should she put herself out there like that? Again, this all goes back to the politics of the classroom. She did the right thing by saying something to the professor and not to the students. She does not deserve social backlash for their mistake which will ultimately make her look worse if they do indeed benefit from the cheating.

Read my last post: Most people in the world refrain from committing crimes because they know that there are consequences for their actions, not because someone will “tell them what they did was wrong”

Smashley's avatar

@Evelyn_475 – You are right to assert that people refrain from committing crimes because of the consequences. Being told how obvious it was that they were cheating would reaffirm the potential consequences, but wouldn’t immediately bring the full wrath down upon them. They would have a chance at that moment to reassess their behavior. These girls believed that there was little chance that a member of the class would take action, or they would have hidden their behavior better, or refrained entirely. They acted as they did precisely because they did not fear the consequences. They did not believe that cheating mattered enough to classmates for anything to happen to them. They were wrong.

Cheating on a test can have extreme consequences. If these two were gently informed that their behavior was unacceptable, I have a feeling that they would have ashamedly returned to their own tests, knowing that they had just come pretty close to getting caught, hoping that a renewed commitment to the rules might stay the consequences they’d already earned.

If the asker had attracted the attention of the prof, big deal, she was going to tell him anyway, and it becomes clear to everyone that this was an unintended consequence, and ultimately the fault of the cheaters. The prof is not going to think she’s cheating, and she’s got the truth on her side anyway, which can be pretty powerful. In the odd chance that the professor did think she was the one cheating, the others sitting nearby could certainly corroborate her story, plus the physical evidence of the similarity in the two girls’ tests would be a giveaway (both getting the same question wrong, whereas the asker got it right.)

Social backlash? For standing up for everyone in the class who wasn’t cheating? For being the person that everyone wishes they were brave enough to be when they see something unacceptable? For not letting herself be walked on because she was too afraid to do something about it? Big fucking deal. Anyone who doesn’t respect her for it isn’t worth her time.

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