Academic journal article ABNF Journal

A Pilot Study of Nursing Student's Perceptions of Academic Dishonesty: A Generation Y Perspective

Academic journal article ABNF Journal

A Pilot Study of Nursing Student's Perceptions of Academic Dishonesty: A Generation Y Perspective

Article excerpt

Abstract: As a result of the proliferation of technology, academic dishonesty in colleges and universities is becoming a major global problem of higher education. Unfortunately, it is documented in published research that today's student appears to normalize academic dishonest behaviors. This paper reports on a pilot study that tested an instrument that explored the perceptions of cheating in undergraduate nursing students. The instrument explored scenarios that represented dishonest behaviors in examination situations; dishonest behaviors relevant to classroom assignments; and scenarios that represented dishonest behaviors towards practical laboratory experiences.

The participants in this study were quite clear on the definition of academic dishonesty in examination situations but had difficulty identifying academic dishonest behaviors during classroom and laboratory assignments. This paper further discusses these findings from the unique point of view of the characteristics of Generation Yers and the resulting implications for successful strategies that may curtail academic dishonesty.

Key Words: Academic Dishonesty, Generation Y, Nursing Students


The Generation Y student

A majority of students in classrooms of colleges and universities across the country can be categorized as Generation Yers or the MTV generation. As a result of a number of sociological factors including the precedence of single parent households many in this generation are independent, are often seen as being resourceful and peer dependant. They also tend to be inventive, self sufficient problem solvers, easily accommodating multi-taskers, and fun-seeking and hopeful individuals (Arhin & Cormier, 2007). Accustomed to immediate gratification, youth in this generation are responsive. They crave stimulation and expect immediate answers and feedback (Brown, 1997). Because many of these young people have grown up with computers, a majority of youth in this generation are technologically literate. Intrinsic to the proliferation of technology, modern tools of communications such as the internet and cell phones are social lifelines for youth in this generation.

Academic Dishonesty

Unfortunately, these important lifelines of technology for this generation also serve as the perfect media for academic dishonesty. Lifelines including wireless messaging devices, sophisticated cell phones, I-Pods and the internet make cheating easier than ever. Students can text each other answers to an examination with relative ease using cell phones. Photographed copies of entire examinations can be picture messaged via IPods and cell phones. Plagiarism has become common place. Students write full essays just by cutting and pasting content from Internet sites or can purchase "original" essays from a number of websites.

It comes as no surprise that academic dishonesty in colleges and universities is on the rise. In a recent study of 50,000 college and 18,000 high school students conducted by Duke University's Center for Academic Integrity, more than 70% admitted to having cheated. This result was up from 56% in 1993 and just 26% in 1963 (Vencat, Overdorf & Adams, 2006). The problem of cheating behaviors in students is so pervasive that it is almost common place. Most students do not see their cheating actions as out of the ordinary or morally wrong. The process of neutralization is a major concern when students incorporate cheating into "normal" student culture (Bates, Davies, Murphy & Bone, 2005).

This reality raises a number of questions: Are faculty members effective in communicating unacceptable cheating behaviors? What behaviors do Generation Y students perceive as cheating? Are the differences between what faculty members perceive as cheating and what students perceive as cheating?

The differences that may arise between what students perceive as cheating and what faculty members perceive as cheating may contribute to differing notions and norms of behavior (Stern and Havlieck, 1986). …

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