Posted at 11:17 AM on March 16, 2012
by Paul Tosto
It's hard to pull back the veil on cheating. No one's really proud of it and, if it works, no one wants to talk about that either.
So the data from a survey of 2,000 students and 600 faculty at the University of Arizona deliver some pretty interesting insight into how it works.
The findings, discussed this week at a higher education conference, might have gone unnoticed if it weren't for a reporter from Inside Higher Education, who wrote about it in detail today.
--84 percent of students believe students who cheat should be punished, yet two of every three admit to having cheated.-- The highest rates of cheating were among fraternity and sorority members and international students, the latter of whom were most likely to use technology to cheat.
-- Cheating was reported least among students receiving need-based aid, and non-degree seeking and first-generation students. The more education a student's parents had, the more likely he or she was to have cheated.
Maybe most interesting is the finding that students are "more likely to cheat out of perceived necessity than simply because they can get away with it."
So, basically, students are cheating when they're up against a wall -- they're close to being kicked out of school, losing a scholarship or seeing their grade point average drop -- rather than simply cheating because they could.
There's something oddly comforting about that last part.
I just graduated and never knew anyone who cheated at the test level(quiz/midterm/termpaper/finals). Now I was in engineering so I don't know if that was a factor, but homework and projects was seen by the students(and encouraged by almost all teachers) were seen as collaborative efforts, so people would ask for answers/help from other students and people who had passed. Some of the time there was no 'right' answer, grades came from effort not answers, and there was contention on what was the right answer, but mostly there was an understanding that those tests are what count, and if you just copy someone else's homework you'd fail the test.
Working in the field (higher education, not cheating), I always found it interesting that many if not most of the reports I have seen over the years showed that those surveyed believed that there is more cheating occurring than what is revealed in parallel surveys in which students were asked anonymously to self-report their own cheating.
Also very interesting is that in the very few studies of online higher education, the rates of cheating (perceived and self-reported) is lower than in face-to-face courses. My best guess is that is because students who enroll in completely online programs tend to be older, more focused on learning than other social aspects of the traditional on-campus college experience, likely to be working full time and perhaps a bit more able to mix real work with class projects for a win-win among other reasons. And, faculty who teach online courses have typically re-designed courses to focus less on exams/quizzes and more on projects (group and individual), reflection papers, discussion, etc., where cheating is more difficult. At least, the good instructors do (and have the support of their administrators and institutions to do so). Also, online instruction is under a microscope whereas face-to-face much less so.
"Cheating was reported least among students receiving need-based aid, and non-degree seeking and first-generation students. The more education a student's parents had, the more likely he or she was to have cheated."
Appears that the "have nots" don't take schooling for granted whereas the "haves" continue to act like entitled spoiled brats. Yes, I'm jaded.
Candi, confer with http://www.healthzone.ca/health/newsfeatures/article/1137460--richer-people-break-the-law-take-candy-from-children-cheat-and-lie-more-study-finds
which confirms your observations.