A look into cheating at York


Photo courtesy of Poets and Quants

Recently, a cheating scandal broke out at York amongst the Honors Chemistry classes.

Every once in a while, cheating occurs within classes at York Community High School. Recently, Honors Chemistry, an advanced sophomore level class, has fallen victim to this prohibited activity; when pictures of the test were sent from student to student the night before the exam, the rules of academic integrity came into question.


“The night before the chemistry test, the pictures of the test were going around like wildfire,” an anonymous sophomore said. “It seemed like it was too good to be true.”


It was on the night of Mar. 20 that pictures of the unit eight test being given out the next day began circulating amongst sophomores enrolled in Honors Chemistry. By third period on the day of the test, administrators abruptly stopped the test and canceled the upcoming tests for that day.


“Prior instances this year and last year, we were able to find out [about the cheating] and modify the test before students had the opportunity to make a bad decision,” Assistant Principal Ryan Doherty said.


While breaches in academic integrity rarely reach the extent of that on the chemistry test, it is not uncommon for breaches of academic integrity to occur.  A breach of academic integrity can be as simple as asking a friend what was on a test.


“Sometimes I think some kids don’t see it as cheating,” Doherty said.


Cheating, in and of itself, opens up many doors for different perspectives into student lives. Cheating can be a cry for help from students, resulting from pressure from parents, colleges or themselves, and the idea that every grade is a make or break.


As opposed to 20 years ago or even 10 years ago, it is evident a shift in culture has occured at schools and in curriculum that allows for students to become obsessed with grades.


“Some [students] will talk about ‘I honestly didn’t think there was any other way to pass’” Doherty said.


Recent advancements such as online gradebooks and increased pressure from colleges have caused immense amounts of stress and anxiety which could explain why cheating occurs.


“I check my grades everyday,” an anonymous student said. “It does stress me out a lot and on top of that, my parents are always on me about my grades since they can see them in Powerschool.”


Aside from online gradebooks, other aspects of technology, such as social media and texting, have allowed for cheating to become easier than ever. Pictures of tests, like in the situation with the chemistry test, can be easily and quickly sent around the student body in a matter of hours.


“Technology has become our worst enemy,” Doherty said.  “It seems so much easier that a friend can snapchat you a copy of the test second period and then you have your lunch to study from it.”


Despite how tempting it seems, cheating comes with a cost. A breach of academic integrity can result in an in-school-suspension, not to mention having permanent ramifications in terms of future education; for instance, the Common Application requires students to disclose if they have ever been disciplined for cheating since that’s information many colleges take into account during the admission process.


In light of the recent chemistry cheating scandal, York administrators urge students to seek help from teachers before a poor decision is made and move towards a more comfortable and helpful learning environment for all.


(To protect and respect the identity and safety of the students, only anonymous quotes have been used.)