Cheated But Defeated

Student fails English test even after using SparkNotes for answers

While other students in his class stay up to frantically refresh their IRC page for updated grades as the clock strikes midnight, Ned Chetting ’21 is asleep in his bed. Confident in the answers he had copied down from the SparkNotes for his English test earlier in the day, he sleeps soundly, not aware of the shock that he will feel when he wakes up the next morning to see a 1 in his gradebook.

Although Chetting is one of many students who participate in academic dishonesty on a daily basis, he is one of few that has managed to fail a test while doing so. He is now trying to find a way to move on from the situation responsibly, despite the fact that he still insists his answers were correct to begin with.

“I was more prepared for that test than any other test I have ever taken in my entire life,” Chetting said. “Not only did I have ten different tabs from the SparkNotes summary section open simultaneously on my three monitors, but I also made sure to have the No Fear translation open on my phone. There is no possible way I didn’t get a 3 on that test.”

Noah Cluu, Chetting’s English teacher for a second year now, is confident that the grade he has given him on the assessment was not a mistake. However, he is concerned as he claims Chetting is usually one of his most honest, hardworking, top-performing students.

“Chetting’s grades have been significantly better this year compared to last year, so it was especially disappointing when I had to grade his test a couple nights ago,” Cluu said. “I really am hoping he will be back to his old self soon because I usually use his answers as a model for the class. He made an appointment with me to go over his test but never showed up, so I am beginning to get quite worried.”

While it is common for students to go over their tests after a bad grade, it is rare for a student who cheated to do so. Chetting says that he initially wanted to meet with Cluu in order to argue why his answers couldn’t have been wrong, but quickly realized he didn’t have the knowledge to pull it off. Although abandoned, Chetting believes this plan has backfired.

“Mr. Cluu keeps asking me to meet with him after I flaked that one day, and I don’t know what else to say to keep avoiding him,” Chetting said. “I already lied to him that I am really busy this week before and after school with the Zoom rock-climbing class I signed up for, but he has insisted I set up a time with him next week. Hopefully he leaves me alone soon.”

Chetting claims he has developed a substantial amount of anxiety as a result of this situation. Furthermore, even after sending 15 emails to SparkNotes about the alleged mistakes on their page, he says he has been on edge and unable to think straight for the past couple of days. 

The unease Chetting has been put under is something he has been unable to hide from his immediate family. After significant inquiry, his mother, Evie Chetting, was eventually able to get the news out of him.

“When he told me everything that had happened, I was in shock and thought that all my Ivy League dreams had been thrown out the window,” Mrs. Chetting said. “However, as a parent, I knew that I had to be there for my son. I think the advice I have given about how to handle situations like this in the future will really help him move forward.”

Chetting seems to reflect a similar sentiment expressed by his mother and has already made a tangible change in his life. With this, he hopes he is truly able to leave this event, and his previously used cheating websites, in the past.

“This experience has definitely taught me a lot and I promise to never cheat on a test with SparkNotes again,” Chetting said. “I really am looking forward to turning my life around with my mother’s advice as I have already signed up for a premium membership of Shmoop.”