What do students say about cheating?
In our recent research with university students in Australia and New Zealand*, we found that awareness of other students cheating is trending down from a high of 30% in 2020, to 24% in 2021, and now to a low of 15% in 2022.
To tackle the challenge of cheating as a self-reported topic, our research with Studiosity focused on self-reported awareness rather than own behaviour.
The results of this study show that awareness of cheating is higher with younger students aged 18 to 19. From the data, it remains unclear if this reflects a reduction in cheating as students progress through their studies, or if older students are less likely to discuss cheating overall.
Reflecting the higher awareness in students aged 18-19, awareness of others cheating is also more prevalent for full-time (20%) versus part-time (10%) students. When it comes to study disciplines, reported cheating awareness was highest for Medicine (25%) and lowest for Languages (13%).
Student comments shed light on cheating-related issues, including understanding exactly what constitutes cheating, use of online study assist Web sites, impact of open book exams, anti-cheating technology, as well as changes to evaluation and examination methods due to the impact of COVID-19.
Other students noted that closed-book exams were at-odds with real life and work, where “you aren’t set to do tasks with nothing but your brain to assist you. You have access to research and peers to help with your work tasks.”
On academic integrity and asking for help
For students, their lecturers or other university staff are the number 1 source of information for academic integrity (50%), ahead of the orientation process (19%) and student services (16%).
Overall, 92% of students agree that they feel confident that they can avoid plagiarism or unintentional cheating. However, there were some differences based on demographic factors such as age and cultural and linguistic diversity. While a total of 75% of students feel confident that they can approach their university about getting help with assessments, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) students had lower confidence than non-CALD students, 69% versus 77%. Likewise, younger students aged 18 to 23 had lower confidence than those 24 and over (71% vs. 80%).