Majority of Canadian College Students "Personally Witnessed" Cheating Last Year
Plus, Michigan students prepare to sue school over cheating accusation. Plus, the NCAA sanctions another school for academic cheating.
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Survey: 54% of Canadian College Students “Personally Witnessed” Cheating
A new survey of college students in Canada found that most - 54% - said they saw classmates cheating within the past year. And that’s just the start.
The survey was done by Studiosity and covered more than 1,000 college students in Canada.
Headlining the results is that a majority (54%) said they “personally witnessed” cheating by a classmate within the past year. That’s important because, as authors note, surveys that rely on students to self-report, often undercount misconduct. By asking if they’d seen other people cheat, the authors suggest the results may be more indicative of the scope of the problem, and they may be right.
A level down, 15% of the respondents said they see cheating “all the time.” When broken down by field of study, the results are frightening:
74% of “mathematics & physics” students reported seeing cheating
63% in “accounting/ finance”
62% in “engineering” and
62% in “life science”
Nothing to worry about - just physics, accounting, engineering and life sciences.
Further, the survey asked:
Would you be more likely to cheat if you knew other students in your classes did?
Twenty-eight percent of students said they would be, which probably illustrates the self-report discrepancy mentioned earlier. Still, more than a quarter saying they’d be more likely to cheat if they knew others were cheating, is a big number.
Even further, the report authors write:
Two-thirds of students, including three-quarters (76%) of those in life sciences & medicine programs, agree that cheating has been more prevalent since the start of the pandemic, with very few students feeling it had become less common. Online learning appears largely to blame
The numbers are - 66% say cheating is more common in the Covid era. Just 9% say it’s less common. Sixty-six to nine.
And the hits keep coming. When asked why students thought cheating was more common now, the top three answers were:
Easier to cheat when completing assignments remotely/online - 82%
Decline in quality of learning has pushed more students to cheat to get by - 54%
Less oversight from faculty members/school administration - 52%
I think one and three are the same. But still, it’s “easier to cheat” online - 82%. Yikes.
There’s more in the survey, including whether students think the grading and feedback they’ve received is clear and fair. There’s also a breakdown of the results by foreign and domestic students, language, age and so on. It’s pretty good.
Stepping back a bit, none of this is new information. But it is very important to repeat and absorb - students think cheating is quite common, that it’s increased and that it’s easier to cheat when studying or testing online. I do not think that they are wrong.
Students Prepare Lawsuit Over Cheating Accusations
Two students at Lansing Community College in Michigan are reportedly readying a legal challenge after being accused of academic misconduct on an online test.
The school says the two students took the same test with the same IP address. And, according to one of the accused students, the school used “an algorithm” to determine that the students had “similar testing scores.” The school did not comment directly.
In response, the students hired a lawyer and are threatening a suit, claiming that the rules governing online exams were not actually rules. They do not claim to not have cheated - not in the little news story anyway. They simply claim the school can’t impose academic sanctions for cheating without having spelled out what cheating things were not allowed or what could be used to substantiate a sanction.
One accused student said,
Like how am I accused of academic dishonesty on a policy that’s not a policy
Hmm. It seems to me that there may be reasons - very good reasons - why a school may not want to tell students exactly what methods they’re using to detect misconduct. If you know, for example, that the IP addresses are cross-checked and that answers are also cross-checked for similarity, you may do things differently. If you were trying to cheat, that is.
Lawyers are, as they do, going to pick apart every policy, review every procedure and contest every action. In theory, there’s nothing wrong with that. In reality, it will make academic misconduct cases take longer, be more adversarial and cost considerably more - adding even more disincentive for teachers and schools to start them in the first place. It’s a bad, bad trend.
NCAA Dings Another School for Academic Misconduct
The NCAA, which sets the rules of conduct for college athletics in the United States, has issued a ruling against the University of Montevallo in Alabama for academic misconduct.
From reading through the case, it does not appear the school or the school’s basketball program did much - if anything - wrong. Nonetheless, the academic integrity part of the case is noteworthy, for the record.
It seems a volunteer basketball coach took an online exam for a basketball player. From the report:
the coach knowingly committed academic misconduct when he connected an HDMI cable to a student-athlete's computer and completed an online exam on the student-athlete's behalf from another room.
Goodness. And again, online exams.
The report does not say whether the school uses a remote proctoring or monitoring provider for its online assessments. But if they do, that’s not how this cheating case started. The NCAA says:
After receiving an anonymous tip alleging the misconduct, the professor for the course informed the athletics department about the potential violation.
I don’t like to criticize schools, but, if your academic integrity plan relies on anonymous tips, you have room to improve.
This also is not the first time we’ve seen the NCAA punish schools for academic cheating (see Issue 47 or Issue 125). And I will say it again - I wish anyone else would care as much about investigating and sanctioning cheating as the NCAA does. By “anyone,” I mean accreditors. Or college presidents. Or lawmakers. Alright, fine. I mean anyone.