Academic cheating is defined as
representing someone else's work as your own. It can take many forms, including
sharing another's work, purchasing a term paper or test questions in advance,
paying another to do the work for you.
Statistics show that cheating among high
school students has risen dramatically during the past 50
In the past it was the struggling student
who was more likely to cheat just to get by. Today it is also the above-average
college bound students who are cheating.
73% of all test takers, including
prospective graduate students and teachers agree that most students do cheat at
some point. 86% of high school students agreed.
Cheating no longer carries the stigma
that it used to. Less social disapproval coupled with increased competition for
admission into universities and graduate schools has made students more willing
to do whatever it takes to get the A.
Grades, rather than education, have
become the major focus of many students.
Fewer college officials (35%) believe
that cheating is a problem, in this country than do members of the public
High school students are less likely than
younger test takers to report cheaters, because it would be "tattling" or
"ratting out a friend."
Many students feel that their individual
honesty in academic endeavors will not affect anyone else.
While about 20% of college students
admitted to cheating in high school during the 1940's, today between 75 and 98
percent of college students surveyed each year report having cheated in high
Students who cheat often feel justified
in what they are doing. They cheat because they see others cheat and they think
they will be unfairly disadvantaged. The cheaters are getting 100 on the exam,
while the non-cheaters may only get 90's.
In most cases cheaters don't get caught.
If caught, they seldom are punished severely, if at all.
Cheating increases due to pressure for
Math and Science are the courses in which
cheating most often occurs.
Computers can make cheating easier than
ever before. For example, students can download term papers from the world wide
"Thirty years ago, males admitted to
significantly more academic dishonesty than females. Today, that difference has
decreased substantially and some recent studies show no differences in cheating
between men and women in college."
Cheating may begin in elementary school
when children break or bend the rules to win competitive games against
classmates. It peaks during high school when about 75% of students admit to
some sort of academic misgivings.
Research about cheating among elementary
age children has shown that: There are more opportunities and motivations to
cheat than in preschool; Young children believe that it is wrong, but could be
acceptable depending on the task; Do not believe that it is common; Hard to
resist when others suggest breaking rules; Need for approval is related to
cheating; Boys cheat more.
Academic cheating begins to set in at the
junior high level.
Research about cheating among middle
school children (Ages 12-14) has shown that: There is increased motivation to
cheat because there is more emphasis on grades; Even those students who say it
is wrong, cheat; If the goal is to get a good grade, they will
According to one recent survey of middle
schoolers, 2/3 of respondents reported cheating on exams, while 9/10 reported
copying another's homework.
According to the 1998 poll of Who's Who
Among American High School Students, 80% of the country's best students cheated
to get to the top of their class. More than half the students surveyed said
they don't think cheating is a big deal and most did not get
According to surveys conducted by The
Josephson Institute of Ethics among 20,000 middle and high school students, 64%
of high school students admitted to cheating in 1996. That number jumped to 70%
Research about cheating among college
students has shown the following to be the primary reasons for cheating: Campus
norm; No honor code; Penalties not severe; Faculty support of academic
integrity policies is low; Little chance of being caught; Incidence is higher
at larger, less selective institutions.
Additional influencers include: Others
doing it; Faculty member doesn't seem to care; Required course; No stated rules
or rules are unclear; Heavy workload.
Profile of college students more likely
to cheat: Business or Engineering majors; Those whose future plans include
business; Men self-report cheating more than woman; Fraternity and Sorority
members; Younger students; Students with lower GPA's or those at the very
Cheating is seen by many students as a
means to a profitable end.
Cheating does not end at graduation. For
example, resume fraud is a serious issue for employers concerned about the
level of integrity of new employees.