I just read Cheating On Standardized Tests and Roaches in the Washington Post. The article discusses the prevalence of cheating, by schools and by teachers, on the high stakes tests required by NCLB. It is a good article and educators should read it.
As I read, it struck me that cheating situations are created by the pressure to perform, and often that pressure is external. Let me explain - a student who cheats often tells me he/she does so because of the expectations put on him/her by their parents. They feel the only way to live up to these expectations is to cheat. Other times a student is told by others that they are “brilliant” and the external expectation is that failure is not an option. Excellence is tied to the student’s self-esteem, and it is better to cheat than to fail. This doesn’t seem to me to be what education should be about. Is an unwanted by-product of testing - cheating? It might seem so.