Academic Dishonesty Among College Students Research Paper

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Academic Dishonesty Among College Students

Academic Dishonesty: Social Perception

A factor that has considerable influence in the phenomenon of academic dishonesty is social perception. This can occur from a variety perspectives; most notably from the perspective of students attempting to justify their behavior; also from the perspective of academic leaders attempting to curb cheating practices; and from the perspective of researchers who attempt to understand the phenomenon.

Etter, Cramer and Finn (2006, p. 134-5) cite studies indicating that the student perspective that the norms of the society in which they function allow cheating combines with generally favorable attitudes to cheating to encourage it. Other factors that could contribute to the urge to cheat include a younger age, moderate to poor performance in the classroom and a tendency towards deviant behavior. This is substantiated by Bolin (2004, p. 100).

De Bruin and Rudnick (2007, p. 153-4) include demographics such as men and students who live in residences as being more likely to cheat because of the social perception that it is acceptable or even desirable to do so. Indeed, the authors note that both peer approval and peer cheating encourage cheating in the individual student.

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Taking a somewhat divergent direction in terms of the literature, De Bruin and Rudnick (2007, p. 157) continue to suggest that social perception might also include an element of excitement. In this way, academic dishonesty could in part be caused by excitement-seeking behavior. Research cited by the authors indicate that such behavior includes the tendency towards a need for thrills, taking risks, and engaging in strong stimulation. De Bruin and Rudnick relates this concept with sensation seeking, which in turn is linked to legal, social, financial and recreational risk-taking behavior. When considered in terms of the college setting, this type of behavior can then be seen as closely correlated with cheating in college. It follows that students who are less prone to excitement-seeking behavior, who are more introverted, and more careful of the risks incurred, would choose not to engage in academic dishonesty, regardless of the apparent ease of doing so.

Research Paper on Academic Dishonesty Among College Students Assignment

Bolin (2004, p. 100) turns to the general theory of crime to find a possible explanation for the phenomenon of academic dishonesty among students. In additional to a lack of self-control, Bolin hypothesizes that perceived opportunity contributes to the likelihood of cheating by certain types of students. In addition, detection rates of cheating tends to be at a low level, further encouraging students to use the opportunity to do so.

Another important factor is the attitude towards cheating, which Bolin (2004, p. 103) distinguishes as perceived pleasure and perceived shame. The author cites research to indicate that the former would drive cheating while the latter would inhibit it. The author found that these attitudes, even more than a tendency towards deviance, play a critical role in the tendency to cheat (Bolin, 2004, p. 109). In addition to the element of ease and drivers such as the need to perform, students who perceive that cheating is equal to pleasure, are highly likely to engage in this practice.

Hence the relatively high percentages of teaching students estimated by the research. Engler, Landau and Epstein (2008, p. 99) for example indicate that the percentage of college students who cheat tends to be between 66% and 75%. According to the authors, this number has remained relatively stable for decades. There is however a difference between the current phenomenon of cheating and that of decades ago. Today, students who cheat are more likely than ever before to do so repeatedly and in a greater number of ways than before. While the increased use of Internet technology plays a role in this, the authors appear to be more convinced that social perception of cheating by peers is a much better indicator of the likelihood to cheat and to do so repeatedly. It is not very surprising to note that students use the behavior of their peers to guide their own actions. What may be surprising to these individuals, is that they tend to be incorrect in judging the tendency of peer behavior. The authors for example show that students tend to perceive a much greater culture of teaching at college level than is in fact the case, and subsequently use this behavior to justify their own cheating behavior, regardless of the accuracy of the perception. Hence, the authors suggest a social norms intervention strategy to combat the phenomenon. An example is a verbalized honor code that discourages cheating. The authors are of the opinion that such a code would guide the general perception towards one that is more in keeping with the reality, in that fewer students cheat. The outcome is then hypothesized to be one in which fewer students would be encouraged to engage in such behavior.

catalog and other published materials.

In terms of the perceptions by academic leaders working with students, Schmelkin et al. (2008, p. 600) mention that there is a marked difference between the perceptions of professors and students when it comes to the seriousness level of certain cheating behaviors. Professors for example hold that some types of cheating are more serious than the level ascribed to this type of cheating. In other words, there is a discrepancy between the perceptions of students and lecturers not only on the nature of cheating, but also the seriousness level of various types of this action.

This difficulty is further exacerbated by the fact that students tend to ascribe more importance to their relationships with peers than with lecturers. Hence, the persistence of student actions are unlikely to be changed simply by reprimanding them. Instead, the authors are advocating that a common definition of academic dishonesty be constructed. This would not only mitigate the confusion surrounding the issue, but also encourage a culture of honesty.

Academic Dishonesty: Pressure

There are various types of pressure that exert an influence on students' tendency to cheat. Like perception, the concept of academic pressure can be applied to various interest holders at college level. The most common type of pressure is on the student to perform well on various levels, while also maintaining his or her social connections with friends and family. This is also commonly perceived as the most common driver of student dishonesty at the tertiary level.

There are however also other types of pressure that relate to the dishonesty of students. One of these is societal and technological forces that are reshaping the perception of teaching and learning at college level. In addition, issues of authorship and academic misconduct are also being reshaped by these forces (Academic Integrity in the Twenty-First Century, p. 65). The pressure here is on tertiary institutions to encourage the personal integrity of their students and their own reputations in a world that is in constant flux.

The authors suggest that additional pressures, such as the commercialization of tertiary institutions, increased class sizes, and an increasingly casual teaching setup are far more serious problems than student cheating itself, which is merely symptomatic of the deeper-lying problem (Academic Integrity in the Twenty-First Century, p. 77). Indeed, it is suggested that both students and lecturers should be concerned with creating an authentic teaching and learning experience within a world that has become addicted to instant gratification and results.

They for example note that plagiarism from the Internet is a symptom of a decline in trust and decimation of the academic environment to the point where intellectual virtue is simply ignored by both students and their leaders.

Concomitantly, the authors note that, despite this substantially changing environment, academic authorities have not changed their response to cheating practices in response to these pressures. Strategies such as spacing students far apart during examinations, checking their identification, and other such preventions have become little more than "symbolic, structural and procedural interventions," which do little to curb the actual cheating taking place. Quite the opposite is occurring, with the rise of a cheating culture among the student body. The twenty-first century institution has significantly increased in complexity. This complexity exercises pressure upon institutions and academic leaders to create better strategies not only to prevent cheating, but to actively encourage honesty and integrity among the future workforce.

Hutton (2006, 172) addresses the effect of certain pressures, including academic and peer pressure, upon students to encourage the cheating phenomenon. According to the author, these negative pressures combine with the positive factors associated with cheating to encourage an increase in the phenomenon. From the perspective of the student, for example, successful cheating leads to an avoidance of work pressure, which could be significant, along with higher grades and less stress. In addition, fairly low enforcement results in a low likelihood of being found out, and students only have their own somewhat immature conscience as a deterrent for cheating. The benefits of cheating therefore far outweighs the cost of possible punishment for students.

Hutton (2006, p. 173) also mentions the relationships among students and those between students and their instructors as driving forces in terms of pressurizing… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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