When do people start cheating? Cheating may begin in early childhood, but cheating in school seems to be where most children first learn to cheat in the real world. Cheating appears to be prevalent in all grades of school, up to and including college. A 1997 national survey of the nation’s top high school students conducted by Who’s Who Among American High School Students, found that 76 percent of the students surveyed admitted cheating on school work. Of those students who admitted cheating, 65 percent said they copied some else’s homework, 39 percent said they had cheated on a test or quiz, and 60 percent said they cheated because it did not seem like such a big deal (Cite).
When students reach the competitive world of college, the temptation to cheat is greatly increased. For some reasons not fully understood, some students do not feel capable or simply choose not to fulfill their goals and expectations through legitimate means (Haines et al., 1986, p. 16). Studies of student cheating in college have shown that it is both epidemic and endemic. It is so common that some college students even brag about their cheating and the methods they use. They brag about everything from having “incredibly gifted eyes” to breaking into the offices of professors. College cheaters seem to feel that, under certain circumstance, the ends justify the means (Cite).
Cheating in college is an important issue since it goes to the heart of the purpose of higher education. The academic reputation and personal integrity of students and faculty are at stake when cheating occurs. Honesty in meeting academic requirements and respect for the academic processes are important values in developing properly educated students (Cite) In addition, academic cheating is a significant problem because of its frequency and because it interferes with conventional learning and evaluation processes. With colleges having to accept more and more students regardless of their academic credentials, due to changing social standards, and with the problems colleges are having in monitoring the large number of students in some of today’s overcrowded classrooms, the amount of student cheating is steadily increasing (Cite).