The Enemy Within Our Gates
The university at the undergraduate level sounds likc a place where cheating comes almost as naturally as breathing, where it's an academic skill almost as important as reading, writing and math.
—Moffatt (Z990, p. 2)
Moffatt's view may strike many readers as overly cynical, but there is a growing recognition that academic dishonesty is a major problem on college campuses (e.g., Maramark & Maline, 1993) and increasing numbers of students are engaging in it (e.g., Collison, 1990; Peyser, 1992). These concerns have been reinforced by the publication of how-to books on cheating, such as Corbett's (1999) The Cheater's Handbook and the establishment of what might be called cheaters' sites on the World Wide Web (WWW). Collectively, these sites provide thousands of term papers and examinations (e.g., Hickman, 1998; McCollum, 1996).
Although Fass (1990) attributed high levels of contemporary academic dishonesty among college students to their having been “raised in an era of decline in public morality” (p. 17l), cheating and other forms of academic dishonesty are not new problems. These behaviors have existed as long as there have been tests and will probably continue as long as students are evaluated. Brickman (1961) noted that attempts at cheating were so common during the ancient Chinese civil service examinations that candidates were searched for crib notes and confined to individual examination rooms for the duration of the examination (usually 3 days) to prevent collaboration. The government further attempted to discourage cheating by imposing the death penalty on cheaters. Despite these precautions, examination candidates still tried to cheat, such as by having concealed pockets sewn into their clothing in which crib notes could be hidden.