Magazine article USA TODAY

Can Student Cheating Be Deterred?

Magazine article USA TODAY

Can Student Cheating Be Deterred?

Article excerpt

Diligent professors virtually can eliminate cheating on exams through a combination of efforts, including using multiple versions of the same test, hiring additional proctors, and giving verbal warnings about cheating. "There is a lot of information out in the popular press about cheating in academia, and most of it tends to place the blame on students," notes Joe Kerkvliet, associate professor of economics, Oregon State University, Corvallis, and principal investigator in a study on cheating by college students. "But our research has found that cheating is strongly dependent on what goes on in the classroom."

The biggest factor is the instructor. Using tenured or tenure-track faculty tends to reduce cheating, but when professors use teaching assistants, students are 31% more likely to cheat. "There are a couple of possible explanations. One is that TAs have a lot less experience. But it also could be that they are more sympathetic to the students and reluctant to start the whole dirty process of accusing someone of cheating."

Giving verbal warnings before each exam is "surprisingly effective," Kerkvliet indicates. "That surprised me. I didn't think it would be effective. But professors who state clearly before the exam that cheating will not be tolerated had success in reducing cheating. …

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