Reporting cheating


So I’m in high school and I was wondering, in your opinion, are we morally obliged to report somebody if we see them cheating on an exam? not participating in it…but witnessing it.

I had a French test today and I saw a girl taking down notes for the spelling of two words. Just two words, and I know it was only for the spelling, not the meaning or anything. I expressed my disapproval to her but I didn’t say anything past that.

Am I under any obligation to tell the teacher? I keep thinking…it’s just two points. Is it really a big enough deal to take to the teacher? To be honest I really don’t want to. It feels like obsessing over details, making a huge deal out of tiny things. And it didn’t give her an advantage anyways, not really - the two words were from a unit we did on the names of animals and we were only required to write 6 out of 8 words, so she could have gotten by without knowing them at all. In addition, both of those words were written out in the multiple choice section right before the writing section, meaning that her notes were redundant as long as she could recognize the word.

Therefore, I would be reporting based entirely on the principal of the thing - the fact that she tried to cheat, not that she gained any real advantage. In the religious world, yes, intent is important, but in the academic world intent means nothing. So…I don’t know. Must I?


You have no obligation to do so.


People who cheat only eventually cheat themselves. Let it go. There is no moral obligation on your part. She, however, will be burned on the spit of French irregular verbs.


I’m not sure how you KNEW she was attempting to cheat.

If you saw her preparing what** looks to you like a “cheatsheet”, that doesn’t mean it actually was **a “cheatsheet”.

Often I will hand write stuff that I need to remember just before an exam, simply because the act of writing it out by hand acts as a memory aid a little while later. I close my eyes and and can “see” my hand writing out the word, or the formula, or whatever.

And even if she did prepare a “cheatsheet”, unless you saw her consult it, how do you know she used it illicitly during the test?

As above, I often prepare such sheets by hand, then study them intently for a few moments, after which I can usually recall the info on them visually by closing my eyes and “seeing” their contents.


Well we were all doing some last minute studying, and I was helping her look up a few words we needed to know in the textbook, and so I saw her write down the words in pencil on her desktop (pencil is very easy to erase off desktops and obviously, for cheating purposes, a teacher will not notice it like they would notice a slip of paper). It clearly wasn’t a study sheet because…well, when you make a study sheet, your intent is to put it away right before the test…when you write it directly onto your desk the intention is quite obviously to keep it there throughout the exam.

Like I mentioned above, it is highly likely that it didn’t really give her an advantage anyways because the words were written out for us in the multiple choice section anyways. I myself used the multiple choice section as a reference for spelling the very two words that she wrote down, so it is easily arguable that no harm was done to anybody. Therefore, if there is to obligation to report it, I will not do so.


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