Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

On the Sick List: The Truth about Deadline Crises

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

On the Sick List: The Truth about Deadline Crises

Article excerpt

Sudden illnesses, unlikely hardships and other tales of student woe always seem to pop up as assessment deadlines loom.

However, a study of about 2,000 German university students has confirmed what lecturers have long suspected: bogus excuses are more likely to be provided by badly organised students who procrastinate.

Students who put off doing their work until the last minute are also more likely to cheat in other ways, according to researchers at Bielefeld University in northwest Germany.

Those who admitted to a high level of procrastination were more likely to fabricate or falsify data, to use forbidden materials in exams or to copy from another person's exam sheet, according to a paper published in the journal Studies in Higher Education.

They were also more likely to copy other students' homework or to engage in other forms of plagiarism, the report says. However, the strongest association between procrastination and academic misconduct related to the invention of ailments or false excuses, with procrastinators 68 per cent more likely to lie about their circumstances than those who organised their time more effectively.

"Not only does academic procrastination have unfavourable effects on students' well-being and academic successes, but it enhances the risk for engaging in academic misconduct," the study's authors conclude. …

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