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Cheating - at school

cheat; copy; plagiarise; school; honesty ;


All kids know about cheating. You might know someone who has cheated, you might know about someone who has cheated or you might think about cheating or cheat sometimes yourself. So what does it mean?

What is cheating at school?

  • Someone copying from others work.
  • Someone pretending that it is their own work.
  • Marking answers correct when they are wrong.
  • Changing scores.
  • Not owning up to something.

Why cheat?

This is what some children thought about why people cheated.

  • cheatingSo that you don't look 'dumb'.
  • To get a higher grade.
  • So that you don't get into trouble.
  • To get out of trouble.
  • To cover up that you have not done your homework.

I guess that what these people were saying was that kids sometimes cheat because they haven't done their work and they don't want to get into trouble. Sometimes they cheat because they don't feel good about themselves and what they can do. Sometimes it is because they want to keep up with their friends.

Most common forms of cheating

 1    Plagiarism (say play-jer-ism)

This is when someone copies someone else's work and pretends it is their own. This doesn't just mean copying from a friend but it can be copying straight from a book or from the internet.

Sometimes it is hard to understand information you have found to help you with a project.

What could you do?

  • Read through and ask for help if you don't understand it.
  • Try to write as much as possible in your own words. In other words ‘tell the story’ as you understand it.
  • If some of it is just too hard for you then put quote marks round it and write at the end where you got that quote from.
  • If you don't understand how to do something ask your teacher or mum and dad, then try for yourself.
  • Ask for help, ask for extra time to make sure that you understand what to do, then give it a go all by yourself.

booksCopying a friend's work is never a good idea because you won't know what it is about and you won't remember it either. Even if no one finds out that you've been cheating you will know. You'll feel bad about it and you won't know what to do next time you have to do that kind of work.

Some advice from Jacob,
"The only way to learn things is to try for yourself."

 2    Changing marks or marking answers right when they are wrong.

This is never a good idea because:

  • the teacher will probably find out when your work is checked.
  • the teacher may not find out right away and will not realise that you need extra help.
  • other kids soon know if someone is cheating.
  • you'll have problems later when you don't know the work.

cheating3    Copying other's work.

Working together with someone is a great idea. You can share the work, solve problems together and keep each other on task.

If one person does all the work and the other one copies, that is not sharing the work but copying. Both have really been involved in cheating, both feel uncomfortable and may not want to work together in future.

What do I do if I have been cheating?

Nobody feels good about cheating and most of us only do it because we are really worried about failing or getting into big trouble. 

  • The problem is that cheating can become a habit (something that you do so many times that it is hard to stop). If you have been cheating or want to cheat it could be that you will have to face a scary situation to get the cheating to stop or make it better, a sort of new start.

When kids ‘own up’ or tell the truth about things they have done, most grown ups are pleased that they have been brave even if they don't like what the kid has done.

Whatever you have to do to stop cheating may be scary, but once you have done it things will start to get better. Unless you go through the hard times you will never know how good it is to win or do well all by yourself.

If you cheat sometimes because you feel bad about what you can do, tell someone how you feel. Tell your mum or dad or teacher that you are worried that you can't keep up with the work.

Dr Kim Says

Dr Kim

There's an old saying "Cheats never prosper". It's sometimes hard to believe this because we all know people who have done well by cheating. But have they really? Others have no respect for cheats and there always comes a time when they are found out.

And, how can cheats have respect for themselves when they know that they have had an unfair advantage - and they know that sooner or later they will fail because they have not done the hard work, practice and sacrifice that is needed for success.



Cheating is really bad
It usually makes people mad.
Like when copying a sum
So you don't look dumb.
Or when the ball hits the ground
And you still scream and shout and jump around.
Or when you're going to get caught
And you make excuses of every sort.
So what am I saying? It's real bad
To cheat, and it sure gets people mad!

By Craig


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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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