Young Joon Ha / Glen A.Wilson HS
With the competition for college admissions rising, students have to take on more difficult classes in order to keep up. However, classes often don’t aptly prepare students for higher education, as it isn’t made clear why they’re learning what they’re learning?students are given so much material to look over and study, it is hard to know what they should be focusing on. Accordingly, because the American high school system evaluates students based on tests that assess them without clear intent, students feel underprepared and resort to cheating.
Nowadays, tests determine which students get into higher level classes designed to best prepare them for top tier universities. However, because students are overwhelmed with too much information without any guidance as to what they should be focusing on, tests are often not an accurate representation of a student’s intellectual capability. Valerie Strauss’s The Washington Post article, “How we teach kids to cheat on tests” states: “We need to improve the quality of the assessment tools used to measure student learning…And we also need to get to the root causes and pressures that prompt students to cheat in the first place.” Students desperately want to perform well on tests so that they can get into their colleges of choice, but because they feel underprepared, they resort to cheating. Without students taking tests honestly, test results are often misrepresentative when scaling how much they have learned.
Furthermore, students aren’t provided sufficient guidance to know what they should be focusing on out of all of the material they’re required to learn. In Eduardo Porter’s The New York Times article, “More in School, but Not Learning” states: “…a large number of people who have gone to school haven’t learned anything.” When students don’t learn from the material they are provided, they will feel that the only option is to cheat. Revisiting Strauss’s article, “Many in the school community now believe that a large number of students regularly shared and sold photos of tests, strategically planned absences on test days...” because they want to perform well, even though they aren’t actually learning the material. Despite the reality that students aren’t progressing nor showing their true capabilities, they are still passing tests when they shouldn’t be and are subsequently placed in higher courses than what they are capable of succeeding in.
Although schools restrict cheating, students are still willing to break the rules because the consequences they’ll experience if caught aren’t severe enough-avoiding failure is worth the risk.
To solve the conflicting issues of the school system teachers should prioritize better preparing students for tests by outlining what’s important. This will help students know what they should be studying and will lessen the need to cheat. By proxy, this will also increase the quality of higher-level education, as students will be able to legitimately earn a spot in competitive, advanced-placement classes, rather than gaining admittance by copying answers from someone else. This solution will decrease cheating and increase the amount of students that are learning, both of which will make tests more accurate and reliable.
<Young Joon Ha / Glen A.Wilson HS