Does cheating spread? The relation between observing academic dishonesty among peers and the self-reported cheating behaviors of undergraduate students
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Series/Report no.:2022 Edward F. Hayes Graduate Research Forum. 36th
Ensuring academic integrity is the goal of many educational researchers and practitioners. When social norms allow for cheating to be perceived as acceptable, then students are more likely to rationalize away the moral implications of academic dishonesty (e.g., adopt "neutralizing attitudes") and cheat themselves. Recent psychometric research has elaborated on past findings, with a new comprehensive measure of academic dishonesty being proposed and tested. This measure has distinguished four unique types of academically dishonest behaviors including collusion (e.g, working with other students illegitimately), plagiarism (e.g., copying others' work as one's own), fraud (e.g., falsifying or forging materials), and contract (e.g., hiring another to do work). The purpose of this study was to replicate past findings regarding the relations of peer social norms to academic dishonesty through neutralizing attitudes toward cheating with these novel measures of academic dishonesty. Self-reported cheating behaviors, observations of peers cheating, and neutralizing attitudes were assessed from a national representative sample of undergraduate college students. It was hypothesized that observations of peer cheating would predict all four types of self-reported cheating both directly and indirectly through neutralizing attitudes (e.g., statistical mediation). Findings supported the hypotheses and affirmed the role of peer social norms and psychological perceptions in predicting academic cheating. Further, findings supported the argument that academic dishonesty can be considered a multidimensional construct with four distinct types of cheating operating independently.
Education and Human Ecology: 1st Place (The Ohio State University Edward F. Hayes Graduate Research Forum)
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