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Study: Two-thirds of college students admit to cheating

Dave_BerryDave_Berry Posts: 33,409CC Admissions Expert Senior Member
edited August 2011 in College Life
"Don McCabe, a professor at Rutgers University Business School, has written extensively on academic dishonesty, cheating and plagiarism. He recently conducted a survey of 14,000 undergraduates over the past four years, in which about two-thirds of students admitted to cheating on things like tests, homework and assignments ...

... McCabe says [one] commonly heard justification for cheating is that it's done to level the playing field.

'They see other students cheating and getting away with it and getting ahead in this great GPA race,' which makes them feel like they're being 'unfairly' left behind ...

... But Kirk Hanson, executive director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University, thinks the No. 1 rationalization for cheating is a heavy workload. He tells Conan that that sort of thinking can set cheaters up for a lifetime of cutting corners."

Does cheating in college necessarily lead to cheating in life?

Cheating In College Is Widespread -- But Why? : NPR
Post edited by Dave_Berry on
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Replies to: Study: Two-thirds of college students admit to cheating

  • broken_symlinkbroken_symlink Posts: 690Registered User Member
    What exactly is considered cheating?

    I'll admit to using cramster a few times when I got stuck on physics homework problems, but I never just directly copied the answers. Sometimes when I got stuck I would just skip the problem too and not turn anything in.

    I've never cheated on a test though. I do know kids who did entire take home tests by using cramster.
  • StraightsJacketStraightsJacket Posts: 423Registered User Member
    What exactly is considered cheating?

    Kids really have to ask that question nowadays?
  • silence_kitsilence_kit Posts: 1,826Registered User Senior Member
    Since he is a business professor, if he's surveying business students, these numbers really aren't surprising to me at all. They came to college not to learn anything, so of course they are going to cheat their way to a diploma.
  • i_wanna_be_Browni_wanna_be_Brown Posts: 5,260Registered User Senior Member
    The actual study was not linked and I don't feel like taking the time to find it but my first question would be about re questionnaire. Did he ask kids if they cheated or did he ask about behaviors that he then defined as cheating eg "have you ever asked another student for the answer to a homework question?" If the question was vague enough (like mine) you could easily inflate the number of kids who cheat since answering yes to mine is not necessarily cheating (eg prof allows collaboration/discussion on assignments)
  • romanigypsyeyesromanigypsyeyes Posts: 22,478Registered User Senior Member
    @straights- Yes, we do since "cheating" means vastly different things to different people. I had a professor at another U consider helping each other with homework problems- helping, not doing it for them- cheating. Other people consider that tutoring or help.
  • DolorousEddDolorousEdd Posts: 1,274- Member
    I'd be interested to read this study. Given that it was 14,000 students, I doubt it was just Rutgers business students; probably multiple schools across all fields.

    Many people I know think "If it's on the internet, it's not cheating for me to use it, it's just stupid for the professor to not realize it's there." And I'm astounded by the number of people still busted by online plagiarism checks. They know what these websites are for, they submit their plagiarized papers to them, and are somehow surprised that changing every 18th word didn't save them?
  • Plut0niumPlut0nium Posts: 213Registered User Junior Member
    Are you really that surprised? I could have told you that without a survey. I would think more people cheat. I guess this is CC.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I897 using CC App
  • singh2010singh2010 Posts: 994Registered User Member
    2/3 is VERY low compared to what I was expecting if you include homework. I don't know a single person that hasn't cheated on a homework assignment at least once. The reason is because there's NO RISK involved (at least in math and science, where there is only one correct answer). Homework is also worth almost nothing (5-10% of my grade in most classes => largely based on completion), so it barely matters.

    If it's 3 AM and you haven't finished a problem set, you might as well copy your friend's homework and then try the problem the following day to make sure you understand. You still learned how to do the problem, which was the point of the homework. If you get an A+ on the exam, who cares if you copied the homework problem?

    Cheating during a test is a completely different thing all together. I've never dreamt of it.
  • SunslothSunsloth Posts: 217Registered User Junior Member
    Does reading the wikipedia article on a novel when you've still got 200 pages left and the seminar's in 30 minutes count as cheating?

    I actually did well on a book essay with only reading two thirds of it.... no doubt I'd have done better if I hadn't been a lazy arse. Plus it was first year which isn't that hard.
  • b@r!umb@r!um Posts: 9,435Registered User Senior Member
    See the footnotes to table 1 on page 5 of this document for examples of "serious cheating." It includes fabricating a bibliography and turning in work written by someone else.

    I will admit to both of these charges, by the way. As singh2010 has said, when you are completely stuck on a math or science problem, it might make sense to get a friend's solution and think through it later. (I guess I could have reworded it for the sake of rewording it after I understood it, but what's the point of rearranging a math equation?)

    As for fabricating a bibliography, I have on occasion referenced more works than I actually used to get to the minimum number of references that the professor asked for. (Okay, he asked for 10, but I really only needed 8 to make my point. Now what?) Fudging the bibliography seemed preferable to putting an irrelevant paragraph into the body of the paper.
  • UAKidUAKid Posts: 554- Member
    "If you get an A+ on the exam, who cares if you copied the homework problem?

    Cheating during a test is a completely different thing all together. I've never dreamt of it. "

    This verbatim. I haven't done an actual homework problem in years without copying straight from the solutions manual. I'm not going to spend 14 hours doing a homework which is worth .5% of the overall grade when I only spend 20 hours studying for a test worth 20%. Cheating on tests is a no-no though.
  • DolorousEddDolorousEdd Posts: 1,274- Member
    It includes fabricating a bibliography and turning in work written by someone else.
    Once I wrote a paper using Wikipedia as a source, then just cited the sources they did for that information. However, that was back in high school, on a completion-based grade.
  • UAKidUAKid Posts: 554- Member
    On the subject of fabricating bibliographies....I once finished a 10 page paper on islam in 1 day by making up quotations to back up my arguments and then attributing them to a real author and a random page #. Got an A-. Not sure if this technically falls under cheating.
  • b@r!umb@r!um Posts: 9,435Registered User Senior Member
    ^ Defamation? That might go beyond academic dishonesty...
  • JenniferinFLJenniferinFL Posts: 96Registered User Junior Member
    The community college I'm at uses turnitin and other resources to prevent cheating. I think a lot of students get busted that way. I can see the grade averages of other students and some of the scores are so low that they really must be being penalized for plagiarism because the teachers I have are not sticklers for perfection on written assignments. I'm not spell checking, rewriting anything or really doing anything to ensure an excellent grade and I'm still getting perfect or nearly perfect scores while there are some other students getting 20's on the same assignment. Has to be penalties for plagiarism.

    The only thing I've done close to cheating is try to find a homework answer online when I can't find it in the book or notes. The point of homework is to work through it at home and find the answer. It's more to help you than to help your grade since it counts for such a minuscule part of it. Cheating on quizzes, papers and tests though? Never..
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