Q&A with an anonymous student on the secret life of cheating at SPA

Q: What kinds of academic dishonesty do you see people commit most commonly?
Copying homework answers from each other.

Q: Do you see the same people commonly rely on cheating, or is it an isolated incident?
I don’t really see the same people rely on it as the only way of getting their homework done, usually if someone copies someone else’s homework, they will return the favor later.

Q: How many times have you let somebody copy your homework this year?
A rough estimate is probably around 10 times.

Q: And how many times have you copied somebody else’s?
Probably about the same, around 10.

Q: Have you ever seen anybody cheat on anything bigger?
The biggest thing I have seen someone cheat on is a test.

Q: Were you involved at all, or did you just see? And how did they do it?
I have been involved in allowing someone to cheat, but not cheating myself. That case just involved them looking at my answers and me not stopping them. But in other cases I have seen people using phones or notes during tests.

Q: Do you ever feel there’s a threat of being caught copying homework, or does it feel casual?
Homework feels more casual, it’s not as big a part of the grade for the class, and there is no time limit or proctoring. I have never seen someone get caught copying homework, and have never heard of any consequences, so there is no real threat.

Q: Do people do it for the grade, or just because it’s awkward when the teacher checks and you don’t have it?
People do it for the grade. Especially with the huge workload we have at SPA, it is not always possible to get all of your homework done, but that usually is not a credible or acceptable excuse, so students are pressured to get the work done, but not always by themselves.

Q: Back to cheating on tests, have you seen people premeditate it or plan it, or do they just look around when they don’t know an answer?
I have never seen anyone premeditate it, just trying to find the answers once they realize they aren’t prepared for the test.

Q: Do you think copying homework is morally wrong?
Not really.

Q: Why not?
Because teachers don’t care if you use outside sources for homework, so copying isn’t much different. Plus, if you copy homework, chances are you won’t be prepared for that lesson’s material on the test later, so you will be punished by yourself in the long run.

To read more about cheating, click here. To read Dean of Students Judy Cummins’s perspective, click here.