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Depressing Statistics...No Lie!

Some news you do not want to share, but this one piece has been stashed to the side too long. As mathematics teachers, we are facing new challenges in how students interact and use technologies. It may range from text messaging during an exam to storing equations and formulas on a graphics calculator to sharing homework answers via scanners and the Internet.

We say, my students would not do that...But the data is getting quite discouraging. A 2006 survey of 36,122 students discovered that around 60% of American high school students cheated on a test, 28% admitted stealing from a store, and 23% said they stole from a parent or relative. Plus, 92% said they "were satisfied with their personal ethics and character."

Other survey of 18,000 students by Donald McCabe (Rutgers) suggested that more than 70% of the students admitted to cheating and 60% admitted to plagiarism. Also, 62% said they had lied to a teacher within the past month...and 19% said they stole from a friend.

Other studies are consistent. A 2006 study of graduate students found students admitting to cheating as well--business (56%), engineering (54%), education (48%), and law (45%).

Perhaps we need to focus more on teaching ethics than on mathematics...but then if almost half of those entering education cheat as well, who will do the teaching?

Source: The Financial Express, October 16, 2006