Cheating is a truly astonishing phenomenon, almost universal throughout the world. At first, a person decides to spend from 4 to 6 years of their life studying at university, and then they give up and do anything but study. When exams come, students cheat but more often buy research paper.
Why do students cheat? Because they can. People, in general, always try to avoid unnecessary efforts, which is inherent in us. It makes absolutely no sense to condemn this. If you cheat, you save a lot of time and effort. If you don’t cheat, your diploma is worthless anyway because of the total prevalence of cheating by others. The only motivation left is not to cheat but to learn if the knowledge will be useful in practice after graduation. Let’s explore what this phenomenon means and how it affects the level of education in general in this article.
Students are falling into plagiarism not because they are lazy
Research by the CEDOS Analysis Center showed that:
- 60% of students engage in plagiarism because of the need to do a lot of writing;
- 54% of students cheat because they are not interested in the topics of their assignments;
- 49% of the cheating is the result of a lack of understanding: what is the necessity and purpose of writing a paper;
- 35% of students complain because of the lack of practical use of the results of their work;
- 28% of the payment is the result of the repetition of the topics of written work;
- 24% of students cheat because they do not feel the teacher’s interest in the work and have a low level of motivation.
In one term, university students are forced to take 10-15 courses and write a paper at the end of most of them. Also, they are forced to cheat to make their lives easier.
Another reason for plagiarism in students’ works is the lack of clear understanding and motivation. Young people poorly understand what they are learning for, therefore, do not have the motivation to perform their assignments diligently. However, the main reason for cheating is the external pressure to succeed in learning. In other words, the more pressure the teachers or parents exert on the student, demanding good grades, the more likely it is that the student will cheat and buy research papers from special services. If students have ten subjects per term and each subject requires a 20-page research paper, it is likely that some of them will buy this research paper instead of writing it themselves.
Students lack basic literacy and writing skills – schools did not prepare them properly for university. Also, the increased cost of higher education had a negative impact on the attitude toward learning: many people now think of receiving a diploma as a financial transaction. Students have already paid a lot of money for the diploma and do not want it to be in vain.
Universities respond to the threat by trying to evaluate students differently. They are often asked to present their work in front of a seminary group or answer the teachers’ questions.
Sometimes students are asked to show notes, abstracts, and drafts of their work. But the research papers’ writing services took care of that. You can also buy drafts for an additional fee.
How can the situation be improved?
We believe that this problem arises not only because of the high workload but also because of students’ lack of developed skills in academic writing. Therefore, the following work mechanism is suggested.
Students write papers (e.g., research papers) > the teachers give feedback > students understand what and how they should work on further.
It is important to note that teachers cannot always provide quality feedback on students’ work due to a lack of time and administrative pressure. As a result, the students are discouraged, and the teachers are shrugging their shoulders.
Of course, if the problems in the interaction between students and teachers were limited only to a defect of quality feedback, we would live in a near-ideal world. On top of that, students face biased evaluation, do not receive information about evaluation criteria and requirements before the course begins, and do not have the opportunity to negotiate or discount the evaluation. This situation deprives students of a sense of responsibility, and the ability to influence the learning process actively and, as a result, destroys motivation.
How to improve the situation? Reduce the imbalance of power in the relationship between teachers and students:
- First, give students more information: oblige teachers to publish their workbooks, write down their requirements and evaluation criteria;
- Secondly, create transparent, understandable mechanisms for all participants in the educational process to negotiate and appeal the grades and collect feedback from students on the quality of the teaching.
The more students and teachers violate academic integrity, the less confidence they will have in each individual student, teacher, and researcher, even if they personally do not violate anything.
Consequences of long-standing and systemic violations of academic integrity:
- The depreciation of university diplomas in the country and their non-recognition abroad;
- It is difficult for university graduates to get a good job because employers do not trust the higher education system and higher education institutions;
- Decrease in the quality of medical services;
- Stagnation of science, reduction of the state’s scientific potential;
- Economic development slowdown;
- The country is losing its authority in the world.
How to fight buying research papers among students?
Here are a few suggestions from university employees:
- Reform the teaching of academic writing skills at school;
- Pay less attention to traditional writing;
- Hold more meetings where students would report on the milestones of their work;
- Demand that, in addition to the final work, students submit their previous theses and drafts;
- Include more oral presentations in the program;
- More tests.
As we can see, cheating and buying research papers has a negative impact not only on the lives and level of knowledge students receive but also on the quality of education in general. However, as we can see, not only students are to blame for this problem, but also the education system itself.