Software for the finest computer – The Mind


Posted by Tim Bryce on February 24, 2014


– Or is it just isolated incidents?


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When did cheating become an acceptable form of behavior? Did I miss the memo? According to the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and the Ad Council, “73% of all test takers, including prospective graduate students and teachers agree that most students do cheat at some point, and 86% of high school students agreed.” Translation: cheating has reached pandemic proportions and is now an inherent part of the American culture.

It may start out innocently, but cheating rapidly becomes a lifestyle. We can now find it on school tests and exams, plagiarism, cheating on our taxes, etc. I have a friend who teaches illustration at a Midwest college. Recently he told me his students were copying the illustrations of other students as found on the Internet. My friend rightfully resents being turned from a full-time instructor, to a part-time sleuth to determine if his students are doing original work. I have heard of college students copying term papers, but artwork?

Students are also hacking into school computers to gain access to exams and alter grades and scores. A prime example of this was recorded last month in Los Angeles where eleven high school students were caught hacking into the school’s computers. Subsequently, they were expelled. This scandal captured the attention of the press, as well as the FBI who joined the investigation.

Cheating has also extended into the military where scandals have recently emerged, such as the Navy sailors who stand accused of cheating on tests training for nuclear reactors. Likewise, the Air Force discovered officers cheating on proficiency tests to launch nuclear weapons. These stories are particularly disturbing when you consider these people are managing our military nuclear resources. Obviously, we want people who can be trusted and are proficient in these positions, not someone of questionable character.

In the Information Technology community, it is not uncommon for employees to hack and steal program source code, thereby expediting the production of programming. This occurs so often, it is now considered SOP in many companies. Such attitudes obviously present a threat to intellectual property and a disregard for our laws pertaining to copyrights, patents, trade secrets, and trademarks. Frankly, it is a violation of the “Copyright Clause” of the Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Clause 8) whereby, “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” From this perspective, cheating is unpatriotic.

If caught, cheating results in a variety of penalties, be it a fine, a suspension, an expulsion, etc., all of which becomes a part of a person’s permanent record, and I do not believe young people understand this until it is too late. Perhaps the biggest danger is it may do irreparable harm to a person’s reputation. To illustrate, I know of a student who, after graduating from college, produced a resume with false college scores to secure a well paying job. Remarkably, he was caught by the employer who pressed charges against him. Even though the matter was settled nearly forty years ago, his High School classmates have not forgotten and whisper about it at reunions, even to this day. In the eyes of the other students, his reputation remains in tatters.

Cheating ultimately denotes a person’s character; is he honest and capable of performing the work, or incompetent and inclined to cut corners? Even though cheating appears to be on the rise, evidently there is little shame in getting caught. Perhaps it is a new twisted red badge of courage awarded to those who somehow beat the system. If we are to believe the recent cheating statistics and scandals, we can reasonably conclude there is no longer any disgrace in cheating, and it will likely continue unabated. All of this reveals the declining moral values of the country.

Perhaps the only way to stop cheating is to make the punishments more severe. If shame cannot deter people, perhaps stiffer penalties are in order. Such should rightfully be the price of cheating.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at

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Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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  1. Alton Walston said

    Hi Tim, the ultimate outcome of cheating is failure down the line. It matters not the career field but sooner or later the inability to perform hurts many others and could cost many lives, (such as an aircraft mechanic,who does not understand systems and inadvertently puts the wrong parts in place and causes disasters. What is needed it to teach the kids what foundations are. There are foundations at every level of life. With out knowing the kind of foundation needed, no matter what is built on top is surly to fall if indeed the foundation is not of the right composition. Kids, don’t want to be preached to, but will listen if you can show them the ways to build on to something. Cheers ole Blake



  2. Tim Bryce said

    A B.H. of Boulder, Colorado wrote…

    “At one time, ALL the service academies had an “honor code” which said,
    basically, “I will not lie, cheat, or steal – or tolerate anyone in our
    midst who does.”

    I think that code is still there, but I suppose maybe we’ve “redefined” what
    lying (Clinton, O), cheating, and stealing REALLY means.

    And, it’s not that any change in the penalties will result in reducing those
    things, but rather that it will result in those doing them being more
    careful and not getting caught. Maybe that’s it? It’s OK to do them, just
    don’t get caught.

    I had an 11th grade Trigonometry teacher – Gus Klentos – in Tulsa. First
    thing he told the class at the beginning of the term – “you cheat in my
    class, you WILL get an “F” automatically and be removed from my class.”
    And, then he proceeded to tell us of some of the tricks previous students
    had tried – and were caught. My class didn’t have any cheaters, but I think
    we ALL just feared getting caught by Mr. Klentos at a time in history when
    MATH was of primary importance in getting into college and getting a good
    job, or perhaps even getting into the “space” industry where we were trying
    to get to the moon…and most kids wanted to be a part of that vision.”


  3. janismith said

    When I was in college, the penalty for cheating was a choice: 1.) Take an F in the class, or 2.) Withdraw from the class. No exceptions. When people cheat, they cheat themselves out of knowing their own strengths. They assume and accept weakness in themselves and somehow, they live with that. Is there any satisfaction in cheating? It is the same as stealing.


  4. Francis said

    I do a lot of crossword puzzles and of course one of my favourites is the New York Times so I got the app for my iPad. When I did the first puzzles you had to click “done” and it went to a rating list where it had user ID’s for people who had finished the puzzle in around a minute or less which was most offensive and impossible. I complained to the company that put out the app and finally after 2 years of having to watch that crap… they dropped it… they cut the cheaters out. They still have a timer on the puzzle but it only leads me to believe that the inventor just made the app and does not do crossword puzzles.

    Every game on the internet is ruined by cheats and in the case of Yahoo Games… they let the people who build the cheat programs sell them right on their game site. This has never changed and although I enjoy spades, Scrabble, gin rummy, euchre and others, I refuse to play them any more because of the cheats… and you can spot them a hundred miles away.

    I really pity these poor souls and truly believe most of them think it is okay to cheat… they have very serious problems and plenty to come in their miserable futures.


  5. Tim Bryce said

    A J.G. of California wrote…

    “Honor and integrity have become dirty words, unfortunately.”


  6. Tim Bryce said

    An S.B. of Greenbelt, Maryland wrote…

    “In Virginia a few years ago, a teacher was fired because she gave failing grades to several seniors caught plagiarizing in her class. She ruined their chances for a good University.
    Shocking and wrong. ”


  7. […] TIME:  HAS CHEATING REACHED PANDEMIC PROPORTIONS?  – Or is it just isolated […]




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