Thoughts on Elementary Kids Cheating in School


Article Link: How Could a Sweet Third-Grader Just Cheat on That Exam?

Published in: The Wall Street Journal

On: 5/16/13

In my opinion: our society is asking kids to perform actions that their brains are developmentally not ready to handle. Elementary grade kids cannot comprehend the ethical issues let alone the philosophy of testing and its supposed importance to American society.

Why can't our schools focus on content and flood these young minds with information? Young kids need to experience life, so putting them in a closed classroom for the majority of their waking hours is already a bad idea. Kids need to be out in the world and exploring and interacting with real people in the real world, not just kids their same exact age with whom government workers classified them into groups based on random criteria.

Elementary grade kids need to learn some skills but some of the skills taught are pushed down from upper grades and too much time is spent trying to force kids who are too young to tackle those skills easily to master them. This winds up being a combination of pushing kids who are not ready and boring kids who are fast learners and think it was a cinch to learn.

There are so many developmental changes happening in the elementary grade years, kids are all over the place developmentally. It is very hard to get an entire classroom of kids all on the same page at the same exact moment in time. I don't know how teachers are supposed to do it.

Starting in third grade schools focus on testing as the goal when the real goal is learning.

The only way to avoid all this nonsense about too much testing and grades as the focus (not real learning) and cheating is to opt out of the system by homeschooling. Since the majority of American parents have no desire to go down that road, I will save my breath and move on with my day. Rant over. I'm stepping off the soapbox.

My kids have never cheated on a test, ever, and they are soon to be 16 and 13. My kid's lives have focused on learning and doing and experiencing and thinking.

"First- and second-graders are often taught to work together and share ideas in small classroom groups. When told they must start working independently, "it's naturally confusing to a 7-year-old," Dr. Anderman says."

"By third grade, "the high pressure starts" as more students begin taking state standardized tests, says Mark Terry, president of the National Association of Elementary School Principals. Most schools also begin giving grades, and children may cheat to keep up or to please parents or teachers. Children with poor study skills or learning disabilities are especially vulnerable; poor impulse control is linked with a higher readiness to cheat, says 2010 study of 189 children in the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology."
Yes, young children are people pleasers. Most want to please their parents. Some who like school will want to please teachers.

The article outlines the problem and tells parents how to teach kids about the unethical nature of cheating.
"It worked better, she said, to tell her kids, "Cheating flies in the face of the values of our family and the rules of the school." She told them they'd be letting her down if they cheated, and she wouldn't defend them. "Not only will they be in trouble at school—they will be in hell at home."

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