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A substantial
number of high school and college students cheat in schools across the globe
every year. A teacher or researcher will justify that students cheat in school
because they are lazy and don’t care about their studies. As a result, they use
various forms of cheating to complete work they don’t want to do. Others will
proclaim that people cheat on tests and essays to get good grades or pass a
class. There are multiple factors that can explain why a student would cheat in
high school or college. Indicators for why a student cheats in school go beyond
the common assumptions and explanations. Two major reasons why students cheat
in high school and college stem from a person’s gender and a lack of knowledge for
what qualifies as plagiarism.

          Research suggests that a male is more likely to cheat in
school than a female. While looking at a person’s gender may seem like an
absurd way to identify how likely it is for students to cheat, there is a great
deal of truth to this statement. From a historical perspective, males have been
seen more as cheaters than females for over two decades. According to Thalma E.
Lobel, a psychology professor at Tel Aviv University, males tend to cheat in
situations where questions on “masculine topics” are asked. Males want to be
recognized as someone who is aware of information they “perceive as masculine
topics” (Lobel 276). Lobel wrote her research article “Gender differences in
adolescents’ cheating behavior: an interactional model” in 1992. Men tend to
not pay enough attention to topics that are feminine. Today men are more shamed
upon than women when showing interest in a topic that is more popular for the
opposite sex. Men don’t study or focus on feminine topics. If a boy does show
knowledge of feminine topics in class, then he could get bullied or become an
outcast to the rest of his male peers. Any male that falls under this category
will most likely only study and pay attention to masculine topics. This can
potentially lead to a boy not knowing important information that is considered
feminine. When it is time to take a major assessment on something that covers
both masculine and feminine topics, the boy will need to cheat to find feminine
information he is looking for.

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          Further evidence reveals that males cheat more than women
in school due to a lack of morality. Women tend to have better ethics and
morals than men do. Ohio State Psychology professors, Terri D. Fisher and Amy
B. Brunell wrote, “Some scholars have suggested that the reason for this gender
difference is that women, being more focused on social harmony, are less likely
to break rules, whereas men, being more competitive, are more willing to break
rules to be successful” (Brunell and Fisher 1). The two authors proclaim that
females have better morals and are more ethical because they want to be
considered socially acceptable. Females follow rules more than males to avoid
social conflict and maintain “social harmony (Brunell and Fisher 1) amongst
their fellow students. Men tend to do whatever it takes to be successful even
if they must do something risky and unethical. D?Arcy A. Becker and Ingrid
Ulstad, authors of “Gender Differences in Student Ethics: Are
Females Really More Ethical?” share similar views, “for those students who
knowingly cheat, it may not be the concepts of right or wrong that prevail, but
the perceived benefits of cheating which outweigh the risks. Prior research has
shown that risk taking behaviors tend to be stronger for men than for women”
(Becker and Ulstad 12). Many females know that cheating is wrong, and this
stops them from doing it. They are well of aware that cheating could
potentially affect their image. Plenty of males also know that cheating is
wrong, but they do it anyway since their ethics tend to be weaker than women. Men
are aware that of the possible rewards that could come from cheating and this
appeals to them far more than it does for females.

          Another reason why males cheat more in school is because
some boys are not as committed to school as girls are. Those who fall into this
category will not pay enough attention to their studies. As a result, when a
test comes up for a class, they will most likely not know any of the
information needed to get a good grade. To ensure that they still get a good
grade, they will cheat. The same can be said for a major essay. If a student
does not pay attention in class, then they will not know how to avoid
plagiarism. When a male goes to type their essay, he could plagiarize without
even realizing it since he did not pay attention in class. Author Christina
Hoff Sommers would agree with this statement. According to Sommers, a boy does
not have the same level of commitment in school that girls do and is “less
likely to go to college” (Sommers 248). Also, research has shown that a
“typical boy” is a “year and a half” behind the “typical girl” in literacy
(Sommers 248). The lack of commitment shown by men in school clearly impacts
their ability to do well in school. If they do not possess the same skills and
knowledge that some girls do, then they cannot perform at a high enough level.
To make up for this disadvantage, some males will cheat on major assessments to
assure they still get a good grade. Another major contributor for why students
cheat is poor knowledge of what counts as plagiarism. Many students plagiarize
on high school and college papers without even knowing it. Students can have a
poor understanding of plagiarism for a few reasons. The first factor that
contributes to this poor understanding is some people genuinely do not know
what some forms of plagiarism look like. For an example, Heidi Radunovich,
Eboni Baugh, and Elaine Turner examined a plagiarism survey completed by over
500 university students. In this survey, the students were asked seven
questions to assess their knowledge of plagiarism. One question showcased an
extreme lack of understanding for what constitutes as plagiarism for most of
the students. The question asked if taking material from a source and putting
into one’s own words without giving credit to the author was considered
plagiarism. Only “45.2%” of the students who voted were able to correctly
identify this as a form of plagiarism. Out of the other students who voted,
“45% reported that this behavior” was not a form a plagiarism and “9.8%” of
participants were “unsure” (Baugh, Radunovich, and Turner 32). The results of
this survey are alarming. Many students failed to understand that paraphrasing
information without citing where it came from is plagiarism. This is a major
issue, plagiarism is a serious form of cheating that comes with a significant
amount of punishment. The fact that nearly half of students honestly believed
that paraphrasing without citing the source is not plagiarizing is a massive
problem. These students either did not pay attention on how to avoid plagiarism
or were poorly educated on what counts as plagiarism. The number of students
who plagiarize by accident could easily drop with a few changes. This is not
the only survey where most students failed to recognize how to properly
paraphrase. Professors Susan L. Murray, Amber M. Henslee,
and Douglas K. Ludlow had “nearly 1,100 first year engineering students”
(Henslee, Ludlow, and Murray 8) at the Missouri
University of Science and Technology complete an online plagiarism survey to
assess how much students know about plagiarism. The results for general understanding
of paraphrasing were not encouraging. The same can be said for knowledge of
when to use quotation marks from a direct citation. The Professors’ results
state, “Approximately one-third of respondents did not understand the need for
quotations marks when citing directly and 51% of respondents did not understand
proper paraphrasing” (Henslee, Ludlow, and Murray 8).
Once again, students showed a poor understanding of what constitutes as

          There are two possible explanations for why students have a
poor time understanding plagiarism. Some people simply do not pay attention in
class when they were lectured on how to cite sources correctly. There is a more
unique and complicated reason than this. Some students never properly how to
avoid plagiarism due to a lack of education. Specific teachers and schools may
do a poor job of teaching their students about plagiarism and how to cite
sources correctly. For an example, Julie J. C. H. Ryan, a professor at George
Washington University, wrote an essay on student plagiarism and in it she
proclaims how several of her students plagiarized on their research papers even
after she taught them how to properly use footnotes. Ryan wrote “several other
students made similar ignorance pleas when confronted, despite the fact that we
emphasized acceptable footnoting practices for research papers during both
semesters” (Ryan 451). Ryan makes it appear as if all students who plagiarized
did it on purpose. This is most likely partially true but, some of the students
had to have been confused on how to properly footnote. Ryan deserves some of
the blame. She mentioned how she went over the proper footnote technique during
both semesters, yet several students were ignorant to the fact that they
plagiarized on their research papers. It is almost guaranteed that a small
handful of those who ignorantly plagiarized seriously did not know how to use
footnoting correctly still. Ryan’s way of teaching was certainly unclear for some
students. If she taught her lesson on footnoting in the same way as the first
time, then it may have still been unclear to the confused students. If students
are being poorly educated on how to properly cite sources, then how will they
have complete knowledge of how to avoid plagiarism? Susan L. Murray, Amber M.
Henslee, and Douglas K. Ludlow’s research back up the fact how education
systems are not doing a good enough of job of teaching their students how to
properly cite sources. According to the results of their plagiarism survey,
“92% of respondents” (Henslee, Ludlow, and Murray 8) who showed confusion about
proper citations admitted they had been previously taught about “academic
integrity” (Henslee, Ludlow, and Murray 8). There are clearly major flaws in
the education system if such an overwhelming number of students are confused
about plagiarizing after being trained and taught in school. Until education on
academic integrity is improved, the number of plagiarism cases that occur by
accident will not decrease. If teachers can put more effort into their lessons
on plagiarism than the amount students who plagiarize every year is guaranteed
to decrease.

people will disagree with what was previously mentioned and say the most
significant reason why students cheat is because they are lazy, and the
internet makes it easy to access information. It is impossible to deny that
some people cheat in school because of this. There are variety of ways in which
information can be acquired online today. Tablets and phones put the limitless
information that comes from the internet into one’s hands. The use of a
computer also makes it easy to acquire information. There are plenty of methods
which can be used to cheat by using the internet. It could simply be using
google in class while taking a test to find an answer to a question. A more
significant example stems from when a student plagiarizes by copying sources
word for word and not giving any credit to the author of the source. 

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