ECEC - Faculty Resource - Academic Integrity

Academic Integrity

Why do students cheat?

Kessler International surveyed 300 students from both public and private colleges and universities, including online universities, in 2017, and found:

  • 86% of the students surveyed claimed they cheated in some way in school.
  • 54% of the students surveyed indicated that cheating was OK. Some went so far as to say it is necessary to stay competitive.
  • 97% of the admitted cheaters say that they have never been identified as cheating.
  • 76% copied word for word someone else's assignments
  • 79% of the students surveyed admitted to plagiarizing their assignments from the Internet or citing sources when appropriate.
  • Only 12% indicated that they would never cheat because of ethics.
  • 42% indicated that they purchased custom term papers, essays, and thesis online.
  • 28% indicated that they had a service take their online classes for them.
  • 72% indicated that they had used their phone, tablet, or computer to cheat in class.

The International Center for Academic Integrity collected survey data between Fall 2002 and Spring 2015, and discovered that among 17,000 graduate students, 17% admitted cheating on tests; 40% admitted cheating on written assignments, and 43% admitted cheating on either written or test. Among 71,300 undergraduate students, 39% admitted cheating on tests, 62% admitted cheating on written assignments, and 68% admitted cheating either on written or test. 

What could possibly cause student cheating? There are three types of tendencies. 

  1. Would never knowingly cheat 
    Sometimes it’s a result of a lack of knowledge on best practices such as correct referencing, using quotations, or in-text citing.
  2. Those who "rationalize"
    Sometimes students do not intend to cheat, but if the opportunity presents itself, they might ‘rationalize’ it, especially when they are stressed, out of time, or under pressure. Some cheat when they feel that others cheat; some cheat because they have no barriers; some cheat if they feel the content is unimportant to their future and they don't see value in I; some cheat if the teacher is seen as unfair or unduly harsh or uncaring. 
  3. Opportunity to succeed
    Sometimes students see cheating as an opportunity to succeed, level the playing field, or a challenge to see if they can get away with it. 
12 practical strategies and more resources for enhancing Academic integrity 
Additional strategies and resources for enhancing Academic integrity