Hey, Can I Copy the Homework?

by Allie Strosnider ‘12



Every teacher assigns work to be graded for completion, and this category of assignments can count for as much as 10 percent of the grade in a class. Some students, however, do not take work for completion seriously and view it as an invitation to copy.

According to math resource teacher Debbie Hiltner, work for completion is an important part of the learning process. “They [students who copy] are putting themselves at risk for never learning the material so their quiz and test grades will suffer,” she said.

Even so, students view copying completion homework differently than teachers. “Yes, it is [cheating], but I don’t care,” said junior Lauren Steck who has no problem allowing other students to copy off her because, “one of these days I’m going to need them to help me.”

Steck is not alone in her opinion about copying. In a Warrior survey of 151 students, 38.4 percent of students admitted to copying another student’s homework at least once a semester and 11.2 percent have copied 10 or more times. Less than one-third of students said they had not copied another student’s homework in a semester.

Cheating is not just a product of teenage laziness. After all, embezzlement, insurance fraud and identity theft are forms of cheating in the adult world. So maybe cheating is less of a high school issue and more of a human issue. “Adults set the tone,” noted science teacher Mary Cross.

Teachers more specifically can affect students’ choices by making it more difficult for them to copy homework and other work for completion. For example, Cross gives each student a different version of a work sheet when assigning homework so it is impossible to copy the right answer off a fellow student. She also walks around during class and watches for suspicious behavior to discourage students from trying to copy off each other during class. As a final measure against copying, students who wish to retake an assignment must redo the work in front of her at lunch so she can see that they are not just copying the right answers from a friend. By taking these precautions Cross sends a message to her students that copying will not be tolerated and discourages students from taking short cuts.

Nevertheless, teachers face an uphill battle to get students to take work for completion seriously. “If it is just work for completion [students] don’t have to try,” said junior Anna Nightingale. “They get the points either way.”



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