Students lie, cheat, steal, but say they’re good

This was interesting article to read.

Statistics include:

  • 30 percent of U.S. high school students have stolen from a store
  • 23 percent said they stole something from a parent or other relative
  • 64 percent have cheated on a test
  • 36 percent said they used the Internet to plagiarize an assignment,
  • 42 percent said they sometimes lie to save money

Those are pretty crazy to think about.

But what caught me off guard was this statement:

“Despite such responses, 93 percent of the students said they were satisfied with their personal ethics and character, and 77 percent affirmed that “when it comes to doing what is right, I am better than most people I know.”

Now, 77% is a majority and a majority includes most people.

That means that most people think they they are better than most people.

Doesn’t make sense, does it?

8 thoughts on “Students lie, cheat, steal, but say they’re good

Add yours

  1. Nation wide.

    From the article:
    “The Josephson Institute, a Los Angeles-based ethics institute, surveyed 29,760 students at 100 randomly selected high schools nationwide, both public and private.”

  2. I have absolutely no difficulty believing all this, especially that there are few pangs of conscience about cheating. I spent years on the Academic Integrity Committee of my university, most recently in the late 1990’s. I thought we were fighting a losing battle, catching only those who were not smart enough to avoid getting caught. I think that this extraordinary extent of academic dishonesty reflects the culture at large in which it thrives.

  3. There’s a similar statistic with driving. A majority of people believe they’re better than average drivers. This is probably true with a a lot of things. We tend to be optimistic about ourselves in the sense that we tend to think better about our standings with respect to other people.

    Recent trends in psychology and philosophy (particularly moral psychology) take this to be healthy because it makes people more optimistic in other ways and contributes toward a better world. I call it self-deception and worry about its effects on our willingness to inflate ourselves. The Bible, of course, calls it pride and certainly doesn’t treat it as a virtue.

  4. Let’s look on the bright side of this: if the cheats who get caught are “those who were not smart enough to avoid getting caught”, at least the people who pass by cheating have proved that they are smart! Isn’t that the point of the exam? 😉

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