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Punishment on exam cheating in college

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Cheating is a very serious problem and many colleges are struggling with finding ways of ensuring that their students acquire better grades without cheating.
College life is an unforgettable experience because it requires hard work and determination in studies and builds on a person’s future career. However, the promise students normally make to study hard normally changes because of the social life that carries them away from the significance of their future making them lose concentration. Unfortunately, they only get serious when the examinations begin, which greatly affect their performance. Some students will always settle for average after realizing that a sociable individual cannot compete for every field (Berschback, 2011). On the other hand, there are students who are self-motivated who usually drive themselves to work hard. The last group of students would always want to sail with little or no effort perhaps because the social life and the stressful nature of either college life or lack of self-esteem have overwhelmed them. This group of students strives to find various ways of passing exams and achieving better grades through cheating especially during their final examinations.
Cheating simply implies that a student is more concerned with personal gain. However, every student, given an opportunity, would want to cheat in order to gain high grade. If any case of cheating goes unpunished then it would imply that a student is being encouraged to cheat (Gardner et al., 2008). Students may be encouraged to cheat even more because of either less severe or no punishment. However, the form of punishment differs depending on the impact of cheating. A responsible authority should weigh on the best option or remedy that can be instilled in the cheating students. Automatic dismissal may not be the best punishment to be given to the cheating students. There are other options that are more effective and efficient than automatic dismissal (Lau et al., 2012).
There are several things that encourage students to cheat in their examinations and the best thing to do is to analyze them before imposing stern action on the cheaters such as automatic dismissal. Some of the inventions of contemporary civilization have encouraged cheating such as the online companies in addition to writing on either body parts or using mobile phones. The root of the problem should, therefore, be analyzed and dealt with before punishing the cheaters. Supporters of automatic dismissal argue that it gives justice to the students who have worked hard to gain better grades. This may not be the best remedy because a student who works hard to acquire good grade is not affected by another student who gets a good grade by cheating. In fact, cheating in examination tends to affect the individual students who cheat because they will be rated higher than they are supposed to be. This leads to other challenges for the students who cheated in examinations. For instance, professionally, their performance may go down in the field because they shall have been hired for positions superior to their personal ability. The only challenge should, therefore, be the reduction of other students’ morale (Gardner et al., 2008).
Automatic dismissal may be too heavy for students who cheat in the examination. This method is not appropriately well suited to handling students because there are other intermediary steps of mediation that seek to be fair on the students. The students’ rights and safety should be considered because dismissal may make an individual to even commit suicide (Berschback, 2011). At times, automatic dismissal may mean that there is no investigation carried out to determine the cause of cheating. There are many students who are in the wrong career and are experiencing extremely difficult situations in their studies. Cheating in the examination should, therefore, be a good indication of the challenges that a student faces. Interestingly, some students may not realize that there are other options in their career.
Every student needs to be helped to understand their abilities, especially in their careers. Automatic dismissal is, therefore, very severe punishment to students and should not be advocated for. Perhaps the academic policies should be changed to ensure fairness amongst students. Considering that students always go to college with the intention of passing in their examination, they may not be happy having lost track of their education (Lau et al., 2012). Automatic dismissal may mean the end of a student’s career or even their life. Young people simply need direction but not punitive action that even affects their life. Punishment should help in correcting a certain behavior, especially in academics. Challenges in academics are not a major crime. Particularly, issues of examination cheating are even minor to other cases such as killing a fellow student or burning a college.
Automatic dismissal based on examination cheating is unfair and it means that the college did not follow the correct processes and have fair reasons for the dismissal. There should be legal actions taken concerning the cheating students, which are much better and fair than automatic dismissal. Automatic dismissal may be very harmful and the colleges that apply it should face lawsuits for using excessive power in handling a cheating case. Decisions regarding whether to dismiss a cheating student automatically should be based on the capacity of the student to remain safe and productive in their life. Counseling or using another criterion that is less punitive than automatic dismissal may be fair to students who may have done well in school had they been allowed to stay. Some of the challenges of automatic dismissal are difficulties of readmission. A situation where a student cheats for the first time and an automatic dismissal is granted is inappropriate it would be unfair to dismiss a first time cheater in examination especially after performing very well in the previous examination without cheating. Something better should be done to ensure that the student’s behavior does not affect others and that they still benefit from the college. There is a high level of student dismissal and the subject colleges should take responsibility in providing both emotional and educational support. An academic institution should perform the role of educating the student in various ways to help them succeed in their future endeavors but not dismiss them. Colleges should be more concerned with the ways of educating and supporting students such as good faith to help the student succeed instead of following a dissatisfying style (Gardner et al., 2008).
College students need to have adequate resources and personnel that can function as an appropriate substitute for automatic dismissal. Automatic dismissal may prompt a student to become a nuisance to the community especially when they become hopeless. The issue of examination cheating should not be viewed as a form of isolation or a narrow focus that does not affect the community. Although it may be difficult to ascertain between the interest of the student and the community’s interest, automatic dismissal may have a huge impact on the community (Lau et al., 2012). Dismissed students may be distressed and do certain things such as theft because they have lost hope in their life. Students may be dismissed because they may affect other students but the impact of outside college incidences is never paid attention to. The well-being of the community is very significant and whether the college would justify their action by using automatic dismissal remains a puzzle.
Maintaining positive student and college relationship is very important particularly a continuing relationship between faculty and students. If colleges have to initiate adverse proceedings then they should seek to maintain the relationship with students by implementing procedures that are least detrimental to the relationship with the student, the student’s family, and the community (Lau et al., 2012). The best thing to do as an institution is to consider a policy that may foster a positive relationship between the student, the institution and the community. An appropriate punishment for transgressors should provide more procedural rights that may make them appear more fair and reasonable to the students. Automatic dismissal tends to focus on the conduct alone but not the students’ challenges in academics and other social challenges that may have driven them to cheat on their examination. Decisions based on the importance of fact-finding are more critical in solving the issues of exam cheating (Berschback, 2011).
Any cheating student in college should not be protected by letting them get away with it. Students ought to realize that their actions call for serious consequences and therefore they should follow the rules that have been laid out. Cheating in academics may lead to cheating in life such as in marriage and on the job. Cheating in the examination does not serve an efficient educational purpose; instead, it leads to undeserved higher grades for the victims who think that there is no way they can succeed in life. Students normally take on large college loads that they cannot handle simply because their parents, peers or a societal perspective on the course has pressurized them.
Lecturers normally let cheating take place so easily because, in most cases, they are usually not vigilant or proactive; instead, they just sit back without attending to their students’ needs and capabilities. It is important to determine why teachers argue that cheating is wrong and that automatic dismissal is the best remedy for cheating because the society is past the point where things are wrong because most people say they are. Educators must understand that part of their jobs is to prepare their students for life challenges and make them understand the steps needed to succeed in life. Teachers ought to be taught on how to deal with exam cheating costs in a better way that supports the integrity of the syllabus and the exam while making sure that students continue with their studies.
Letting students get away with cheating or issuing them with automatic dismissal does not do them any favor; instead, different punishment such as failing the students and calling their parents to talk to them may offer the best option (Gardner et al., 2008). The students’ future should not be affected by instilling automatic dismissal and in such a case, it warrants lecturers to be vigilant for fairness to be achieved. There need to be proper student counseling before examinations and other sufficient precautions such as frisking and reading out the punitive action may be carried out. Lecturers need to take the holistic view on exam cheating specifically in the current times where the students are brought up in a decadent society. Colleges need to devise better ways of solving students’ problems that prompt them to result in cheating during examinations. Automatic dismissal is too harsh and painful for the students who are caught cheating and the overall community.
Policies and beliefs on cheating are different between various countries. This implies that while certain countries have strict measures for punishing a cheating student, other areas view cheating as normal. In Saudi Arabia, teacher-student relationships are formal both in and outside the classroom. The Arabic community teaches its students to respect and fear the teachers. As such, the students are usually hesitant to ask a question as the instructors express approval or disapproval to the students openly. There are many reasons that prompt a student to engage in exam cheating in Saudi Arabia (Muhammad, 2011). In this society, absenteeism does not result in failure especially if the student can pass the exams although attendance is important. The grading system in most Arabic schools is unified among the instructors and not determined by a single teacher. Such factors in combination with the pressure placed on Arabic students to pass exams leads to an increase in cheating cases. The students can even negotiate the grades they get with their teachers mostly because testing is based on subjective instruments. The subjectivity of the tests develops lack of standardization leaving room for negotiation. Cheating in these academic institutions is not penalized through the expulsion of the individual.
Additionally, cheating is not viewed as a vice that affects the morale of other students. This implies that it is typically normal to cheat in Saudi Arabia. In fact, it is viewed as sharing by some students. However, if a student is caught cheating, they fail that test (Susan, 2006). This shows that while some countries may take cheating with unnecessary seriousness to the point of establishing automatic dismissal of the student from school, others take it lightly. The students in Saudi Arabia continue their normal learning but the subject is listed as failed. At times, the institutions give the students a second opportunity to re-sit the failed examination. The most common cheating techniques, most of which are well known by the teachers, include note passing and texting if the students manage to sneak mobile phones into the examination rooms. Although the teachers know that there exists extensive cheating in Saudi colleges, an automatic expulsion policy has never been implemented. In most instances, the students get away with the cheating behavior, as most of the teachers appear to have allowed the vice since it is extensive among these schools. The students do not consider turning to check their friend’s answers as cheating but getting help. Cheating is also viewed as ensuring a good mark at all costs.
The teachers themselves seem to have taken the trend to the point of allowing it to happen in plain sight. This is because if a student is caught cheating, they provide a weak excuse to avoid punishment (Sidelights: Students develop sign language for cheating, 2009). This presents one of the biggest differences between the system of college education in Saudi Arabia and schooling systems in the West. Research also suggests that Saudi teenagers do not take education seriously. This is because most of them view colleges as more of outing places than academic centers. However, there is an explanation for this behavior. Most, if not all, college subjects are offered in English. Bearing in mind that this is not Saudi’s native language, the students encounter many challenges while trying to learn in an unfamiliar language. Until the language problem is improved in this society, helping each other during examinations will always appear as a means to an end. Since this is a valid reason, it would be barbaric to expel students for cheating.

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