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Academic Cheating Fact Sheet

  • 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 years.

  • 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 (41%).

  • 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 effect 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 school.

  • 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 high grades.

  • 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 web.

  • "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 cheat.

  • 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 caught.

  • 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% in 1998.

  • 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 top.

  • 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.

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