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Academic Dishonesty: A Corruptive Social Norm

1728 words - 7 pages

Who Cheats
Cheaters come in all shapes and sizes. In fact, 75% of all students openly admit to some form of academic dishonesty throughout their educational career ("Cheating Fact Sheet"). With so many people who openly admit to academic dishonesty, certain categories of students tend to exhibit more cheating behaviors than others. One classification consists of students in a group. Studies have found that cheating is more prevalent in group oriented settings, such as fraternities and sororities (Anderman and Murdock 17). Most dishonest behaviors involve some form of collaboration or communication between learners thus, this correlation is logical.
The correlation between cheating behaviors and academic performance based on GPA is also incredibly strong. The shocking statistics surrounding academic performance and cheating behaviors show that most dishonest behaviors occur in students with a low performance and a high performance rating, and less in the average performing students. While those with lower GPA's and those with higher GPA's both show higher rates of cheating, the cited reason for their dishonest behaviors is completely different. The lower end students cite cheating to pass a class. Their reason for cheating is to make it through class because they cannot do it without dishonest aids. Students with higher GPA's cite their purpose for cheating as to increase performance (Anderman and Murdock 16). They explain that cheating serves the purpose to give them an advantage and get higher grades in harder classes so that their GPA's can exhibit 4.2 ratings and they can also balance 10 extra circulars amid their academic successes. McCabe and Trevino quotes this correlation as, "the lower end students are cheating to survive, while the higher end students are cheating to thrive" (McCabe and Trevino 367).
Why do Students Cheat?
Engaging in academically dishonest behaviors is a seemingly more and more justifiable action. Davis, Drinan, and Gallant (73) discuss the most common technique used in cheating, neutralization. Neutralization is asserting a deceitful justification for ones behaviors in order to make a morally or legally irresponsible act falsely appear acceptable. Students are attempting to justify their dishonest acts, and using many different justifications for such acts. The most common justification for cheating behaviors is a lack of time and worry about potential failure. Other reasons for dishonest behaviors include; high pressure for grades, unfair professor or assigned workload, lack of effort, and lack of fear if caught (Anderman and Murdock 12-13; Keith-Speigel and Whitley 23-24).
McCabe offers and insightful opinion as he suggests that students cheat because they will see others cheating, and getting away with it. This gives them an unfair advantage in the race for a high GPA, which will influence other student’s to cheat in order to level the playing field ("Cheating in College"). Academics have become a never ending...

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