Cheating Essay has seemingly become an everyday phenomenon in exam situations at mostof Hungarian universities. Almost every student prepares for the examinationsmaking handy little bits of paper, contemplating on where to sit and, during theexam itself, the most sophisticated even use their mobile phones to surmount thenumerous gaps in their knowledge. Day after day in the exam period stories suchas the following circulate in the corridors of the School of English andAmerican Studies, as well as other faculties of ELTE and other universities inour country. It may seem surprising, but the story is not fiction, in fact, astudent at ELTE told it to HVG last year. I always elaborate on all thepossible topics at home and write them down on A/4 sheets of paper.
My specialexamination suit has an A/4 size pocket. I always put the sheets into it,and, at the examination I wait until the topic of the essay is given out, thenpick the right sheet in my pocket, and hand that one in. 2. 1. ResearchQuestions Is cheating really such an everyday phenomenon as it appears to be? Ischeating so easy to manage? What about morals? 3. 1.
Theoretical BackgroundBrown, Earlam and Race reported in their practical handbook for teachers thatSitting written exams is one of the most stressful parts of life for manypupils (p. 44). The book also suggests that if candidates get away withcheating, it is going to be regarded as the teachers fault. Most teachersfeel uncomfortable when encountering cheating and they do not think it is theirtask to prevent pupils from doing it. At least, they try to minimise thepossibilities by telling students to leave their bags someplace far from thedesks, and before starting the exam they are reminded to double check that theyhave nothing on their person that could be interpreted as a crib (Brown, Earlam& Race, 1995, p. 44).
But there are always a few who take the risk. Better safe than sorry! – say students afraid of not knowing one singleanswer to the exam questions. This is why they invented their own means, theillicit aid, as termed by teachers: the cheat-sheet. Students knowhundreds of methods to avoid spending long hours preparing for examinations andtests. Of these, everyone can choose the one which best suits his cheatingskills and of course the aim.
Cheating, in general, begins at senior primaryschool. The most widespread methods at this age are hiding small bits of paper(which contain all relevant information) in their pockets, under the questionsheet or into their pencil cases, and writing things on their palms. Thecreation of the small sheets is quite time (and patience-) consuming as kidsdo not use computers to design these pieces. Writing on ones hands is riskyas there is no way to remove the text when the teacher approaches suspiciously.
As you can see now, these methods are quite elementary, easy to discover and, infact, mostly done to amaze classmates rather than instead of learning. The nextage group, 14-18 years old, uses more sophisticated methods. Modern technologyis often of great help to the secondary school student: the computer edited A4page can be reproduced on a much smaller scale. Experts on the topic say thatthe smallest font legible to the students eyes is the 3 pt size. The laziestdo not bother with typing, they simply photocopy the book at about 8 pages / A4rate and cut the pages apart.
University students prefer thepreviously-written-essay method, which is often much more dangerous thanthe others, that is why they use those as well. Everyone tries cheating once. After that, he decides whether it is worth it or not (Rka & Bunny, 1999). In September 1996 a research was carried out at the University of Economics (BKE),Budapest for personal purposes under the co-ordination of G.
Vass (personalconsultation, March 3, 2000). A small group was interested in studentsopinion about honesty. Similar to us, the research group used a questionnaire asa measuring instrument, which had, beside 45 others, 5 questions about cheatingat university examinations. They asked about 100 participants from differentfaculties to fill the questionnaire. However astonishing the results were, theresearch has not been published in any way. The first two questions on the topichad four possible answers: Always, Often, Sometimes andNever.
The first question concerning cheating was the most obvious one,Do you cheat in exam .