Cheating among students can be linked to a certain outcome and to specific expectations from both teachers and parents. On the other hand, it may be difficult to determine the reasons behind cheating among teachers. Burke’s Pentad provides a framework for the analysis and evaluation of cause effect relationships founded on five pillars. The center point for the framework is the act itself, and the five pillars of the pentad include the act itself, the actor, the agency, the purpose and the scene. Most of the articles focused on understanding the cause of an act attempt to find the relationship between the act and the purpose. However, understanding the relationship between the act and the different pillars should be the foundation of determining not only the causes of an act but also the degree to which each of the causes contributes to the act itself.
Considering the act of examinations cheating by teachers, the pentad can provide a valuable tool for evaluation. The first pillar which is the act describes the cheating itself. The actor in this case is the teacher who does the cheating. The relationship between the act and actor is such that certain characteristics predispose a teacher to the cheating act. For instance, Emdin (par. 5) explains that when a teacher is poorly remunerated and the only way to make a living is through examinations cheating, they are likely to engage in cheating. In such a case, the purpose that connects the teacher to the act may also constitute a cause for the cheating. This can be explained from Emdin’s (par. 1) argument that the desire to be competitive as a business entity, and the fear of a world beyond the classroom both contribute to the tendency to cheat. Agency and context of cheating are together related to the act in that an environment which provides suitable support for the act will be more attractive for engagement in the cheating act (Emdin par. 7). This is perfectly exemplified in the characterization of the education as affected by the hero worship syndrome, the loss of true innovation in the education sector and the value placed on tests by the education sector.
Out of all these causes, the most probable cause for cheating among teachers can be described as the value of tests in the education sector, which affects not only the act itself but also the degree to which it is considered a valuable resource for academic performance in the sector.
Emdin, Christopher. The 5 Causes of Test Cheating Scandals: From Atlanta to Washington D.C. Huffington Post, 2013 June 25. Accessed on 14 March 2018.