Editorial

Editorial: cheating is never okay, but don’t be too quick to judge

Desperate circumstances may sometimes lead to desperate measures in cases of academic misconduct, writes editor Graham Scott
Graham Scott

It is easy to rush to judgement about students who cheat in their exams or buy essays on the internet.

Such activities can never be condoned and those who succumb to temptation must suffer the consequences, which can involve being removed from their courses.

The scale of the problem has been revealed by a Nursing Standard investigation that found there were 2,752 cases of academic misconduct among nursing students over the four academic years since 2012. Four in five cases involved plagiarism, while others took the form of forging signatures or falsifying data.

Severe consequences

The more extreme cases bring the students integrity into question to such an extent that their university has no choice but to send them home. But, as the RCNs head of education Anne Corrin points out, it is important to understand the context in which some students allow themselves to

It is easy to rush to judgement about students who cheat in their exams or buy essays on the internet.

Such activities can never be condoned and those who succumb to temptation must suffer the consequences, which can involve being removed from their courses.

The scale of the problem has been revealed by a Nursing Standard investigation that found there were 2,752 cases of academic misconduct among nursing students over the four academic years since 2012. Four in five cases involved plagiarism, while others took the form of forging signatures or falsifying data.

Severe consequences

The more extreme cases bring the student’s integrity into question to such an extent that their university has no choice but to send them home. But, as the RCN’s head of education Anne Corrin points out, it is important to understand the context in which some students allow themselves to stray.

She cites an example of a student who was suffering severe financial hardship, working countless hours on top of their academic work and desperate to pass.

Is cheating acceptable in such circumstances? Absolutely not. But does that student deserve some sympathy and a second chance?

That should be for the university to decide based on the full facts of the case.

All of which brings home the importance of creating an environment in which students have every chance of completing their courses successfully without resorting to desperate measures.

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