Study shows that students cheat

Christian Shepherd
News Editor

A recent report by Kessler International, an investigative service, found that 86 percent of college students admitted to cheating in school, according to a PR Newswire release.

Kessler queried 300 students who attended public, private and online colleges for the report released last year.

Briana White, junior theater major, and Myreilly Ramirez, senior criminology major, said they believe cheating is not uncommon here.

Both said it is most likely to happen in general education classes students are required to take outside of their majors.

“I am a theater major and you have classes like bio. That doesn’t connect with me,” Ramirez said. “I could see (students) doing anything to get through.”

“I dropped bio just because I couldn’t do it, “ Ramirez added.

Associate Professor of Mathematics Gail Tang said that her usual testing methods help prevent student cheating.

“The questions that I ask are not lookup-able,” Tang said. “If you make the questions more interesting, they aren’t routine, but they do require more thought.”

By changing her questions regularly, Tang said she prevents students from passing around answer keys.

“I’ve heard that frats and sororities keep all of my exams, so I make up new questions all the time,” Tang said.

Tang also said she has heard there are students who will pass around old tests among their peer groups.

Tang allows her students to take advantage of the technology available to them since math requires that students work out the problem themselves, not just provide answers.

“I personally think we should be using technology,” Tang said. “I allow my students to use their devices in a scrolling fashion. If you can find it online and still explain how it worked, then there is a level of understanding there.”

White said that professors’ approach to educating may affect students’ motivation and even their ethical choices.

“Some professors won’t say anything, just ‘read the book,’ which doesn’t resonate with certain people,” White said.

Ramirez said she thinks that the focus on achieving good grades might drive students to cheat, if they are more focused on grades than learning.

White said that she has heard classmates talk about cheating.

“One (guy) said that he takes pictures of the study guide and puts them on his iWatch,” White said. “(Another) said that he would print out labels and tape it to the water bottles.”

Nicholas Athey, assistant professor of criminal justice and criminology, said that he has had to develop new ways to prevent students from cheating.

He gives tests on Blackboard online, and he does not give students the correct answers after the test to protect the integrity of the process, he said.

Athey added that when he receives work from a student that is above their usual performance, he speaks with them privately about their sources for the project and their methods of gathering the research.

“It’s never okay to assume a student isn’t capable of good work,” Athey said.

Athey said has taught about 1,500 students in his career and has had to question the validity of student work in just three instances. He said that his familiarity with the research in the field helps him identify content that is plagiarized.

According to the Kessler report, 42 percent of students said that they purchased custom term papers and essays from an online service.

Additionally the study found that 54 percent of students queried said that cheating was okay. Some even said that it was necessary to remain competitive.

Only 12 percent of the students queried said that they would never cheat for ethical reasons.

The ULV Academic Honesty policy defines cheating as “receiving help on an assignment, quiz or examination that you are not supposed to receive.”

Examples of this include:

• Copying an assignment from another student;

• Copying answers to exam questions from other students;

• Taking notes or books to an examination and secretly referring to them while answering examination questions (unless permitted by the teacher);

The consequences of cheating at ULV are listed in the same policy and include failing grades for either the assignment or course or expulsion from the course or the University.

Justice Borden, junior education major, said it might be easy for someone to cheat from her since she’s more focused on learning than preventing others from copying her work.

“A lot of professors post study guides, so why would you need to cheat?” Borden said.

The Kessler study also estimated that one in every three employment candidates also lies about some aspect of their resume, according to the press release.

Christian Shepherd can be reached at

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