Cheating or cheated? Surviving secondary exit exams in a neoliberal era

Author(s) : Buckner, Elizabeth; Hodges, Rebecca

Imprint : 2016

Collation :

p. 603-623

Series : Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, Volume 46, Issue 4

Cheating on exams is a rampant and highly developed practice among youth in the Arab world, often involving elaborate networks, advanced technology and adult authorities. Rather than viewing cheating as mere laziness or immorality, this article interrogates the social meanings of cheating by comparing the practices and discourses of cheating on high-stakes high school exit exams – the tawjihi in Jordan and the Baccalauréat in Morocco. Using informal networks to obtain higher grades, and thereby better futures, cheating is one way youth contest the putative meritocracy of the state to reclaim a sense of control over their lives. Ironically, cheaters develop twenty-first century skills of collaboration, networking and creativity outside the school in order to evade the nation’s formal system of educational sorting. We argue that cheating illuminates the declining effectiveness of the public school in the nation-building project and the simultaneous emergence of the outcomes-oriented ‘neoliberal student’.

  • Academic fraud, Cheating, Educational management, Central administration, Educational quality, Examinations and diplomas, Governance, Students, Youth, Secondary education
  • Arab States
    Jordan, Morocco