Causes Of Academic Dishonesty Essay

Many essays have been written about the consequences of cheating, whether at the post-secondary level or at other academic stages. People who cheat on tests, essays, or assignments find themselves facing repercussions such as failure, suspension, expulsion, and lack of credibility. And if someone succeeds at cheating once, they are likely to repeat the task – perhaps next in a work environment. But not as many pieces of writing examine the causes of cheating. In other words, what leads children and adults to deceive in the first place? Are there definable factors that lead to cheating in the first place? I would say yes. Factors such as: stress, procrastination, and lack of study skills leads to cheating in academic settings.

One of the main factors that cause people to cheat is the pressure and stress revolving around exams and grades. In many cases, so much relies on one exam: status, awards, scholarships, advancement. Who would take the risk of bombing a test or project when so much of the future depends on the result? Students need to be able to see the path beyond success or failure and strategies to deal with anxiety and pressure in the interim. They can be taught how to do deep breathing exercises to minimize test anxiety and they can write in a journal to help put their thoughts to paper. Both of these strategies can aid students in working through difficult times, instead of avoiding them.

Sometimes students feel the need to cheat on final evaluations due to lack of preparation. They have procrastinated, by putting off studying, and now have no other avenue to pursue other than the route of deceit. Students need to be taught, at an early age, that studying is important and cannot be put off until the last minute. Studying in small increments is more effective than an all-night cram-a-thon. Plus, it helps alleviate stress by taking work and sectioning it into manageable doses. Parents can model this by not waiting until the end deadline to get their taxes done or stressing at the store because they need to buy something just then when they should have picked it up a week ago.

Lastly, students lack some skills that go into test preparation. Perhaps a reading of Stephen Covey’s book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens, should become mandatory reading for those still in school. The author offers advice on ‘putting first things first’ which, in essence, teaches about organization and prioritizing – a skill that many students lack. They might want to study, but aren’t sure how to go about it or find time for it in their busy schedule.

There are more factors that can be explored in terms of the causes of cheating in academic settings. No one reason can cause a student to cheat. But by analyzing certain key factors, change can be implemented. Students can be education about working through their problems, and not avoiding them. There are better options out there than cheating.

Research about Cheating and Academic Dishonesty


Cheating can be defined as the act of being dishonest in examinations or assignments at school. This is a practice that is rampant in colleges and a large number of students have accepted that they do cheat in examinations. There are different behaviors that have been singled out as being consistent as to what constitutes cheating. This include copying from different exams or tests, using crib notes, copying from other students while at the exams, getting help or giving help to someone while in an exam room, or even getting assignments and term, papers done by others. The behavior of cheating can be traced to few decades ago among high school and college students. Although cheating has been researched on as early as from 1970s, it is a behavior that was not common in schools and colleges given the strict rules and disciplinary action that were associated to it. However, nowadays, cheating has become not just a common problem in college; it is a learned behavior that has serious implications in the future, and this problem is spreading more widely among college students.

Research on academic dishonesty has been in existence for more than three decades now. Most of these researches has dwelled on identifying students who cheat and coming up with methods of stopping them from doing the same. However, the findings from these research works have not been efficient given that the practice has become more common and rampant in our colleges. The ways that students cheat has changed slightly in schools and colleges and there is a belief that such changes are attributed to the rampant changes and developments in the use of the internet. This research paper will dwell more on establishing reasons as to why students cheat in examinations and the motivating factors in cheating. Understanding reasons as to why students cheat in their term papers and examinations can be helpful in developing good student codes in colleges and coming up with better ways of ensuring that the culture does not spread and damage the quality of higher education. Causes of cheating

Pressure to do Well/Succeed

The desire to succeed and do well both at school and later in life has been among the documented causes and motivators to students cheating in school. Students have the desire to do well in school and impress colleagues and parents. The phenomenon that the workplace needs performers in education has further motivated students to cheat in examinations. Students desire to achieve academic excellence for them to be at a better position of securing a good job after college. Another factor that drives student to cheating is the pressure of the workload they are given. Students interviewed have been seen to argue that they are given large workloads within deadlines that they unable to complete. College students participating in athletics are more affected by this issue given that they need more time for classwork and practice in the fields. Because of the workload, they are driven use cheating as a tool to assist them in completing their term papers on time and ensuring that they do perform well.

The pressure for attaining good grades is high among college students. Students believe that grades do determine their future and if they fail, they will be closed out of better job opportunities or even stay without formal employment. Because of this, they ensure to use any means to ensure that they register the expected grades.

In most colleges and universities, the penalty of being caught in cheating in a test or assignment is being rewarded a grade of zero. These penalties are small and at times are considered non-existent and fail to prevent students from cheating. Further, before the student is punished for the act, a professor as to prove that the student did cheat in an assignment or test, something that is difficult to ensure. Such provisions have made professors to be reluctant in prosecuting cheaters a trend that creates and promotes an environment for cheating among students. When professors are forced to document the student’s information on misconduct and approve his claims in open hearings, they are reluctant to punish students who cheat. This has resulted in an environment that is forgiving and permissive of acts of cheating among college students, a factor that has greatly made cheating easier.

Another issue that has promoted cheating is the presentation of opportunities. In the current technological environments, students have access to online materials and this makes it easier for them to have the information they need. Students get it easier to download and copy from materials in the internet and cite them as their own pieces of work. Students can sneak in with their phones to classrooms and use them to do all the work that they need. Arguing on the same point, a student interviewed by the ABC news website said that the few non-strict rules on punishing students present an opportunity for them to cheat. Most students argued that it does not matter if one cheats in his/her papers. What matters is if one is able to convince the jury that they are not guilty at all and ensure that they are free.

Students have developed a lazy attitude towards ensuring honesty in academic work. The ease of cheating has made students to be lazy and at times careless in doing the tests and examinations. When one knows that they can easily get their assignments done, or copy the content of their work from internet resources, they are more likely to go for such short cuts. Better still, students are likely to cheat given that they can easily go unnoticed or be forgiven by their lecturers.

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