Essay topics: Evidence suggests that academic honor codes, which call for students to agree not to cheat in their academic endeavors and to notify a faculty member if they suspect that others have cheated, are far more successful than are other methods at deterring cheating among students at colleges and universities. Several years ago, Groveton College adopted such a code and discontinued its old-fashioned system in which teachers closely monitored students. Under the old system, teachers reported an average of thirty cases of cheating per year. In the first year the honor code was in place, students reported twenty-one cases of cheating; five years later, this figure had dropped to fourteen. Moreover, in a recent survey, a majority of Groveton students said that they would be less likely to cheat with an honor code in place than without.
Write a response in which you discuss one or more alternative explanations that could rival the proposed explanation and explain how your explanation(s) can plausibly account for the facts presented in the argument.
The author beleives that the honor code is the best way to curtail cheating among students in a university. The author cites the case of Groveton College where, such codes have been adopted and Groveton College has also witnessed a reduction in the instances of academic dishonesty. However, the author’s comparison to Groveton College neglects other factors that may have contributed to Groveton College’s low instances of cheating.
The author believes that the low figure of cheating cases reported at Groveton college 5 years after it established its honor code is an indication that cheating has reduced. However, the author fails to realize the possibility that students may have no obligation or necessity to report other students found cheating, for fear of retribution or for their own self-intrests. If a student cheats in an exam, it is less likely that such a student would report another student cheating as they both belong to the same category and he/she would not want to be reported if he/she was caught cheating by another student. In this scenario the law of “doing unto others as you want to be done to you” applies. Hence, it is wrong for the author to evaluate the success of Groveton College in dealing with academic honesty by citing figure on cheating cases reported by students.
Moreover, the author fails to consider that Groveton College may have adopted other measures to discourage cheating among students. Camera’s may have been installed in classrooms and labs. Assignment and examinations may have been prepared in a specialized manner such that each student’s question varies, hence, making cheating difficult for students. These measures may have been adopted along with the honors code. Therefore, it would be wrong to conclude that the reason for Groveton college’s reduced cheating is solely as a result of its honors code.
Lastly, the author cites a survey in which a majority of Groveton students said they were going to be less likely to cheat with an honors code. However, the author fails to realizes that the response of students on a survey is not a realistic indication of such student’s intentions. Many students would not even admit to cheating under any circumstance. Also, the survey is only based on the students of Groveton College. Students at other higher instituions of learning may be of entirely different opinion, and may prefer other measures other than an honor code to curtail cheating. Consequently, it is wrong for the author to take Groveton college’s response as a representation of all colleges or universities in the nation.
The author would need to investigate more about Groveton college’s strategies for curtailing cheating. Perhaps other measures other than an honors code were installed which the author may not be aware of. A more detailed and representative survey should be conducted not just for Groven college but to other universities, in order to have a realistic representation of students view on curtailing cheating with regards to the honor code.
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