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The Demographics of Cheating in College Students
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by Melanie Butler, Tiffani Ridley, and Mary Allen* - California State University, Bakersfield
Cheating in college has become a serious problem. Thirteen cheating behaviors were examined among 81 state university and 29 community college students with an average age of 23.38 years (SD = 5.92). Based on the literature, we hypothesized that men find students with low grade point averages cheat more often. In addition, we examined the effects of ethnicity, campus type (community college vs. university), student status (full- vs. part-time), and age on types and rates of cheating behaviors. Students were asked to report the frequency of each behavior in an academic year. Most students (78%) reported cheating of at least one type. Grade point average and age were significantly negatively related to reported cheating; sex, ethnicity, campus type, and student status were not. Although more common among younger and academically weaker students, cheating occurs across ethnic groups, campuses, and types of students. Cheating may be caused by a number of different factors. Steps should be taken to create an environment in which cheating is less likely to occur.