The Costs of Cheating

Recent articles highlighting cheating in college here and here and here, may be shocking to some or just an everyday commonplace for others or somewhere in between both reactions. However, none of the authors of the aforementioned articles question why students and seemingly more students than in the past believe that cheating in college is necessary.

Cheating changes the educational process, where students focus on achieving an outcome, not on comprehending a concept. When did an education become a “thing” to obtain, not an opportunity for deepening knowledge?

Or as James Faust stated:

Cheating in school is a form of self-deception. We go to school to learn. We cheat ourselves when we coast on the efforts and scholarship of someone else.

When education becomes an objective, “school” transforms into a competitive arena and fellow students become academic archrivals, which I hear clients describe year after year.


Instead of getting into a technological arm’s race with students, Gardner said instructors and parents should help students understand “why one shouldn’t cheat and why it’s destructive to them. It’s easy to say that and be completely ignored, but otherwise, it’s a (game of) cops and robbers.”

Howard Gardner of Harvard Graduate School of Education, USA Today, August 16, 2019

Dr. Gardner’s “cops and robbers” analogy further illuminates the potential of creating an antagonistic relationship between teacher and student, which is the antithesis of having a trusted relationship so students can learn. So, the entire process of learning is diminished.

With a pause to reflect on the causes of cheating, then students can reform their actions. Also, with reflection, teachers can understand how they can better serve the needs of their students. Then, together, they can meet at schools which are once again incubators for students to refine their talents for the benefit of others.

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About Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, Harvard ’99, a seasoned, 25 year educator and consultant, is meticulous in helping clients navigate all aspects of the educational experience, no matter the level of complexity. She combines educational theory with experience to advise families, schools and educators. A UCSD and Harvard graduate, as well as a former high school teacher, Jill works tirelessly to help her clients succeed.
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