I sense that a lot of students have difficulty reading well enough to garner the information necessary to be successful in college. They can read, but not well. It must be an awful feeling to be at such a disadvantage that they feel compelled to cheat. Not every cheater is a lazy slacker. Some, I suspect, are feeling truly desperate.
My wife's a professor and assigns lots of papers, take-home essays, etc. She'll sit on the couch grading papers and notice a phrase or sentence that seems too well written or uncharacteristic of some particular student. She sticks the sentence into Google and up pops the document they plagiarized.
It's like shooting fish in a barrel.
Some.. I suspect, are feeling truly desperate”.
I agree. I went to a very small, Catholic high school. The geometry teacher was a nice man.. he just wasn’t a good teacher at this subject. There were kids who did cheat on the tests. One way was to have a cheat-cheat (a piece of paper with notes) and it was taped inside the front part of the school uniform skirt. You sat down, flipped your skirt over/up and presto... notes. The girls felt safe because what male teacher (at that time) was going to ask you to flip your skirt up!
Some of the students that I currently see struggling with a subject don’t have the money (or the parents don’t) for a private tutor. The school doesn’t really assist much with tutoring. Thus, they may feel trapped.