Friday, December 31, 2010

Cheating Students

Interesting, and depressing, statistics from the Online Education Database titled 8 Astonishing Stats on Academic Cheating.

   1.  60.8% of polled college students admitted to cheating.
   2.  The same poll revealed that 16.5% of them didn't regret it.
   3.  Cheaters have higher GPAs.
   4.  The public is more concerned with cheating than college officials.
   5.  Cheating college students likely start in high school.
   6.  In fact, 85% of them think cheating is essential.
   7.  95% of cheaters don't get caught.
   8.  Top-tier paper mill website average about 8,000 hits a day.

Go read it for more details on each point.

The article does say that math and science classes inspire the most incidents which obviously interests me.  Whenever I require a paper now, I require students to submit it to Turnitin first to check for plagiarism - students still try to get away with it, just a couple of weeks ago a student handed in a paper with over 50% directly-copied content (no quotations, no citations).

I'm not naive, I know students cheat and plagiarize each other on assignments and labs.  I encourage students to work together, but some take that to mean they can copy off their classmates.  I generally know who's doing it (although I can't always prove it) and I always announce to the class that they're not going to be able to work together on the lab exam.  And, predictably, a certain number of people fail the lab exam (the same ones I suspect are copying on labs all semester).  Since the lab exam is worth a lot more than individual labs, they're only hurting themselves in the end.

I really do hate having to treat all students as potential cheaters.  I'd rather be grading or reading something while students are taking exams instead of pacing around watching them like hawks.  Unfortunately, past experience has shown that some people do try to cheat and that's not fair to the honest students.

I also surf the web looking at web sites on how to cheat.  I'm wise to many of the tricks used!

1 comment:

  1. Those are very sad statistics. There is an interesting article about cheating in science on the Freedom to Learn blog. If you haven't seen it, this is the link:

    I thought it at least made some sense as to why this is happening.