Elite: Honors Students Cheat at Alarming Rates

Students and teachers agree that cheating is rampant. However, research done by The Talon shows that the elite honors and AP students at our school are cheating at much greater rates than many teachers would expect.

An anonymous female sophomore, who admits to cheating in the majority of her classes, agrees that cheating is more common in advanced classes due to grade pressure and the fact that there may be more at stake in an honors class.

“Getting an A in honors is harder than getting an A in P.E.,” she said.

One class she admits to cheating in is AP European History, where she hides notes with extra information during tests.

“It’s a hard class, and you have to remember a lot of things,” she said. “You’re more afraid that you’re not going to get an A.”

According to an anonymous male sophomore who admits to saving equations and answers in is calculator during tests for honors math, cheating is simply “more efficient.”

“I can get an A in more classes if I cheat,” he said.

Although the student cheats in all of his classes, he definitely sees a difference in the styles of cheating between honors and non-honors classes.

“Getting an A in every class is important,” he said. “But there’s more pressure in honors.”

Another female sophomore, who cheated on an honors math test by writing a formula on her wrist, said that confidence in cheating abilities is another factor.

“I pretty much knew I wouldn’t get caught because [my teacher] wasn’t going to come over and roll up my sleeves or anything,” she said. “If you’re placed in a situation where you’re going to fail, you’re going to try to avoid failing at all costs.”

However, the student does not feel that cheating on the test necessarily helped her.

“I guess it probably wasn’t worth it because it was so stressful and I obviously felt bad about it,” she said. “I don’t consider [my teacher] a friend or anything, but when someone trusts you, you feel bad when you do something behind their back.”

Competition also plays a role in motivating students to cheat. According to junior Molly McShane, AP and honors students are not only focused on how their grades are, but they are also “more competitive.” The first anonymous sophomore agrees.

“Competition comes from other students,” she said. “Colleges make that pressure.”

An anonymous male senior who has cheated in honors math agrees, saying that there is definitely “more stress” in an honors class. The need to get a high grade drives them to cheat.

“Students who take a lot of honors and AP classes are, if not necessarily more motivated, more pressured to do well,” he said. “If they can’t meet that expectation for whatever reason, they’re more likely to cheat.”

Although the senior does not believe that the level of cheating necessarily differs between honors and regular college preparatory classes, he agrees that there’s definitely a clear distinction between how students cheat in each type of class.

“For honors kids, I don’t want to say they cheat more, but they cheat for slightly different reasons,” he said.