WHAT MAKES AMERICAN TEENS feel the guiltiest? Cheating on exams, neglecting elderly parents, or lying to friends?
This week, we’ve examined the perennial end-of-the-academic year topic: cheating in school. Cheating is widespread and on the rise, as I reported Monday. The Internet makes it even easier to do and harder to detect. (Scroll down to read all the pieces this week.)
The prevalence of cheating elicited a tough evaluation from OurValues.org readers. Our readers found fault in our larger social values, our winner-take-all society, and a system in which the ends of education are certification for employment and not learning.
Others cited the shift away from standard curricula and standardized tests, instructors who worry more about pedagogy than learning, and attempts to reduce labor input in teaching.
The society in which we live shapes attitudes about cheating (academic or otherwise). The comparison yesterday showed that clearly, with Russian students being the most tolerant of cheating and American students the least.
Even if cheating is widespread, do students at least feel guilty about it? About 77% of American teens said they would feel guilty if they cheated on a test in school. Slightly more said they would feel guilty (81%) about lying to friends.
What made Americans teens feel the guiltiest? Neglecting parents when they are old. Over 90% said that would make them feel guilty. Parent neglect topped the list of the nine circumstances Gallup asked about in polling. Second on the list was stealing something (88%), followed by not paying a debt (83%).
So, we’re left with a conflicting mix of behavior and attitudes about academic cheating: Most students say they cheat; most condemn cheating; and most say cheating makes them feel guilty.
I never cheated in school, and I rarely thought about it. Why? The honest answer is – the Wrath of Dad. My father would have killed me. Perhaps strict authority is the best deterrent.
How about you?
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