Education dean says cheating isn’t worth the risk

Cheating and plagiarism can negatively impact students’ future educational and employment opportunities

Published Apr. 04, 2012

Craig MertlerCraig Mertler, dean of Lynn University’s Ross College of Education, recently sat on a panel at West Boca Raton Community High School to discuss cheating, plagiarism and the impact it can have on elementary, high school and college students.

“In my opinion, the only thing that ‘prevents’ cheating and plagiarism is a student’s desire to perform ethically and honorably,” said Mertler. “It’s wrong to cheat in any professional endeavor. For students, at this point in their lives, being a student is their profession. They have an obligation to their professors, to their families, to their future employer – and most importantly, to themselves – to perform academically with the highest moral and ethical standards.“

In addition, cheating can negatively impact students’ future educational and employment opportunities. Lynn has an extensive Academic Honesty Policy (subsection 5.4.11) in the Academic Catalog that specifies the possible outcomes of academic cheating and/or plagiarizing including: a failing grade on an assignment, a failing grade in the course or suspension/dismissal from the university.

At many institutions, including high schools and colleges, once a student has been convicted of academic dishonestly, a formal letter is written and is included as part of his/her permanent record. When students apply for admission to college, for admission to graduate school and/or for their first jobs with potential employers, the institution may ask to see the student’s academic records. If one or more occurrences of cheating are discovered, the student may be denied admission and/or rejected from a job. 

“The bottom line is this,” said Mertler, “it’s just not worth the risk in the long run. At the end of the day (or the assignment, or the course), students will feel a much greater sense of professional and personal satisfaction when they know that they earned the grade that they received. If you want the ‘A’, then do the work for the ‘A’.”

More of Mertler:

Mertler's career in higher education has focused on applied classroom and school-based action research that can be used by educators and administrators to develop real-world solutions for their school districts’ needs. He is an expert and author on helping schools interpret testing data and integrate that information into a curriculum.

In this role, Mertler can discuss the implications of cheating and plagiarism at the elementary school, high school and/or college levels; advantages and disadvantages of standardized testing; how to interpret testing data; the importance of holding teachers and principals accountable; and the local and national implications of education laws including Former President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act and President Obama’s Race To The Top program; among other topics in education.