A June WSJ article described the cheating (academic fraud) occurring in universities and colleges in the US. WSJ asked many universities for their data on cheating but only 14 were able to provide full records. Based on these records, rates of cheating ranged from 1%-12% and were twice as high to 8x higher amongst foreign students.
While the focus was on foreign students it is news worthy to point out that cheating in these 14 schools ranged from 1-4% for non-foreign students. And this is most likely the level of “most obvious” cases, said the article. Mr. Sanders of Purdue said confronting a cheater is “incredibly unpleasant for everyone concerned. All of the institutional incentives, at multiple levels, are against catching and prosecuting cheaters.”
Point of this is that faculty may be willing to look the other way because the time required to defend against a cheating case is time consuming and often not well supported.
Some highlights of the article:
- About 60% of all students on U.S. campuses admit they cheated at least once in the last year
- Most of this cheating never leads to a formal complaint, the Journal’s analysis shows
- The especially high rate of cheating reported for international students’ fuels faculty concerns about a cheapening of schools’ diplomas. “If the integrity of the degrees they are earning is undermined, that market could also be undermined”
- Last year, Ohio State learned that a Chinese student had been advertising on a Chinese message board that he could guarantee an A on a test by taking it in someone’s place. His price was around $500 per test
- Ohio State has so far found more than 30 Chinese students who made use of the scheme, she said, with the investigation still under way
- The University of Iowa is investigating at least 30 students suspected of paying professional test takers to take online exams in their place, the school says.
- Some of the suspected impersonators took the online tests in China, said one person familiar with the matter. (Authors note – this is why real time reports and geo location are important fraud busters)
- One method used by stand-in test-takers was uncovered at UC Irvine. Imposters would report losing their university ID cards. The bookstore would issue new ones bearing the imposter’s picture, but carrying the name of the student for whom a test was to be taken. The system was used mainly by Chinese students, faculty members said.
- Mr. Sanders of Purdue said confronting a cheater is “incredibly unpleasant for everyone concerned. All of the institutional incentives, at multiple levels, are against catching and prosecuting cheaters.”
- Many of the schools said they didn’t have such information or it would be too onerous to track down. Fourteen provided the full records sought, for the 2014-15 academic year.
- At nearly all that provided data, the rate of such cheating reports was at least twice as high for foreign as for domestic students, ranging up to over eight times as high.