Cheating Behavior of College Students
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Abstract of the thesis
The purpose of this study was to determine the proportion of college students who cheated when allowed to correct their own exami nations, to. determine factors associated with cheating behaviour among freshman college students, and to determine the proportion of college students who would admit to cheating. Data from the sample of 158 students enrolled in three general psychology courses at a small, Midwestern, public college, during fall quarter, 1981, were obtained from a questionnaire developed by the researcher, from observed cheating behavior, from a modification of Warner’s randomized response technique, and from a direct question method regarding cheating.
Cheating was defined as changing one or more answers when correcting own examination and/or not marking two or more incorrect responses. Forty-three percent of the students cheated. Although no significant difference existed between the proportions of males and females who cheated, 50 percent of the males cheated compared to 38.3 percent of the females. Students at the lower end of the grade scale tended to cheat more than those at the upper end of the grade scale. Students were more likely to cheat as a result of perceived importance of grades to parents than importance of grades to themselves.
Among the selected variables investigated, anticipated college success was found to be significantly related to cheating at the .05 level, using a Chi Square Test of Independence. Those students who anticipated being “very successful” cheated more than was expected based on a true null hypothesis. Other variables from the questionnaire were riot found to be related significantly to cheating, except for students’ specific plans for training/education after college. The randomized response procedure was not found to have utility in group settings.
Recommendations for action and further study included I) further study regarding the usefulness of the Warner technique is warranted, particularly where the actual incidence of a sensitive behavior can be determined and compared to the estimated proportions for the sake of validation, and 2) further studies should be conducted to clarify the relationship between cheating and anticipated success.
Researcher of the Thesis
- Kathryn Louise Holleque
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