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Cheating in College

Why Students Do It and What Educators Can Do about It

Donald L. McCabe, Linda K. Treviño, and Kenneth D. Butterfield

Publication Year: 2012

Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders, and the college years are a critical period for their ethical development. Cheating in College explores how and why students cheat and what policies, practices, and participation may be useful in promoting academic integrity and reducing cheating. The authors investigate trends over time, including internet-based cheating. They consider personal and situational reasons and the culture of groups where dishonesty is more common (such as business majors) and social settings that support cheating (such as fraternities and sororities). Faculty and administrators are increasing their efforts to promote academic honesty among students. Orientation and training sessions, information on college and university websites, chapters in student handbooks that describe codes of conduct, honor codes, and course syllabi all define cheating and establish the consequences. Based on the authors’ multiyear, multisite surveys, Cheating in College quantifies and analyzes student cheating to demonstrate why academic integrity is important and the cultural efforts that are effective in restoring it.

Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press


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1. A Journey and a Commitment to Action

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pp. 1-14

This book is the history of a two-decade-long journey that dominated our research and often our lives during that time. When we began this project in early 1990, no one would have predicted that it would last more than a year or two, the time it would take to conduct a replication of the groundbreaking...

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2. Where to Begin: Academic Dishonesty among High School Students

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pp. 15-34

As noted in chapter 1, our work has primarily focused on the college level. However, about a decade ago, we made the decision that to better understand what we were observing among college students, we needed to develop some understanding of the experience they brought with them from high school...

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3. Prevalence, Types, and Methods of Cheating in College

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pp. 35-71

Although we probably do not need to convince anyone that student cheating is a significant problem at colleges and universities today, we begin our discussion of college-level cheating with a very brief summary of some recent popular press articles that illustrate the scope of the problem and its...

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4. Individual Student Characteristics That Influence Cheating

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pp. 72-90

Individual characteristics influence students’ academic integrity and dishonesty. A focus on such characteristics is consistent with the individual differences, or “bad apples,” perspective, which suggests that cheating is attributable to the personal characteristics of individuals acting on the basis...

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5. Institutional Factors That Influence Academic Integrity: The Role of Honor Codes

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pp. 91-112

McCabe and Treviño began conducting research on academic integrity in part because of their own experiences attending undergraduate institutions with strong academic honor codes. Those experiences convinced us that participation in a strong honor code community can...

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6. Institutional Factors That Influence Academic Integrity: Other Contextual Influences

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pp. 113-129

In chapter 4, we noted that much of the research conducted on academic integrity over the past five decades has studied the role of personal characteristics. In chapter 5, we focused on academic honor codes as a contextual strategy to promote academic integrity in educational institutions. Here...

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7. The Faculty Role in Creating a Strong Environment of Academic Integrity

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pp. 130-147

A key conclusion from our discussion, in chapters 5 and 6, of the role of honor codes and other contextual factors in reducing student cheating and promoting academic integrity in university environments is that formal honor codes are not the only way to promote academic integrity. It is not honor...

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8. Academic Integrity in Business and Professional Schools

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pp. 148-163

Thus far we have focused primarily on academic integrity among undergraduates. In this chapter, we shift our attention primarily to graduate students and particularly to academic integrity in business and professional schools. Our own research and the research of others suggests that cheating...

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9. Creating a Culture of Integrity: Practical Advice for Faculty and Administrators

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pp. 164-195

Based on the research cited in this book and our experience in the field, we can state with certainty that an academic dishonesty problem exists in our educational institutions. Research has found unacceptable levels of cheating in high school, college, and even professional school...


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pp. 197-216


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pp. 217-225

E-ISBN-13: 9781421407562
E-ISBN-10: 1421407566
Print-ISBN-13: 9781421407166
Print-ISBN-10: 1421407167

Page Count: 232
Illustrations: 1 line drawing
Publication Year: 2012

OCLC Number: 830023563
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Cheating in College

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Education, Higher -- Moral and ethical aspects.
  • Cheating (Education) -- United States.
  • College students -- United States -- Conduct of life.
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