Friday, July 22, 2011

Plagiarism and the College Classroom

Cheating is rampant and not just in the college classroom.

Recent scandals include the Atlanta school district where hundreds (yes, hundreds) of teachers and administrators, NOT STUDENTS, changed answers on state wide tests in order for the district to look good (meaning get more money) on standardized tests.

You can blame "No Child Left Behind," for pushing up standards, but my response to those teachers who say the standardized test drove them to it: Didn't you always give tests in your classes? Of course, you did.

But I digress . . .

Great Neck, New York high school students paid to have their SAT tests taken by others with fake IDs and handwriting samples - tests that cost high schoolers $1 a point, meaning some paid more than $2000 for a good SAT score.

David Wangaard and Jason Stephens in the Winter 2011 edition of Excellence and Ethics posted the results of a three-year study of academic motivation and integrity. The two researchers "surveyed over 3,600 students from six economically and ethnically diverse high schools in the northeastern United States and found ninety-five percent of these students reported engaging in at least one form of academic cheating during the past academic year. More troubling still, 57% of these students also agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, 'It is morally wrong to cheat.'"

Panagiotis Ipeirotis, a professor at NYU recently blogged about his experience with plagiarism in the college classroom "and described how crusading against cheating poisoned the class environment and therefore dragged down his teaching evaluations. They fell to a below-average range of 5.3 out of 7.0, when he used to score in the realm of 6.0 to 6.5." Mr. Ipeirotis “paid a significant financial penalty for ‘doing the right thing'."

So what did the professor do?

“'Forget about cheating detection,' [Prof. Ipeirotis] said in an interview. 'It is a losing battle.'”

What lesson can we take away from these scandals? Students know it's wrong to cheat, while professors, administrators and teachers don't want to be financially impacted by enforcing rules against plagiarism.

But what do students want?

That's what Wangaard and Stephens asked some of the students they surveyed and the number one response was: "Schools should create and enforce stricter consequences for dishonesty."

How would you control cheating in the academic setting and what do you think the consequences should be?


  1. One method I believe would be good to counteract cheating in any academic environment, is making in depth comparisons of an individual’s previous exam and work history. A person who generally recognized for scoring good, bad, or at least average on their exams should show consistency. An individual known for his terrible scores and work effort would standout to the teacher unless the person actually possessed the knowledge. From my personal experience, people occasionally get caught because of this factor and practically lose any teacher’s trust. On the other hand, this can’t be true for all people because many make the effort to change their teacher’s expectations and surprise people.

  2. In my opinion we cannot do anything about cheating , students will always come up with new ideas and new ways to cheat. To get rid of cheating in the education system student should understand that cheating will not get them far in their academic career sooner or later they will get caught and that’s will be the end of their career. On the other hand schools should not be too strict about cheating.

  3. I believe that cheating can be a good thing because it's a easy way to ace your tests or home work, if you get away with it but at the same time it can wrong because by you doing it so much you'll never know nothing other than cheating

  4. okay..okay.. there are two types of cheating in college life. one is lazy to study and commit to cheat on the test. Another one is a student who did not meant to cheat on the test but he/she take some idea from the other without citation. In this situation how the college's authorities take action to the students. my opinion is the teacher should ask the question open types student's idea and thought. So, students can not plagiarize from the book or web,they can think more and practical outside the school.

  5. cheating is going to occur always, there is no stopping it. As the rules on cheating become more strict, the new fond ways of not getting caught will just rise. Something about people and being challenged, they will always accept.

  6. I am really surprised American students also doing cheat in the test because in my mind, I think some American tests are pretty easy, and American people have good credit. However, in China, there are a lot of plagiarism actions in school. The main reason is that some students don't study hard and spend time on the study. But they want to get satisfied grade on exams. I think if students are cheating in the exams, it is no fair to other students who are honest. Another reason is that some students want to get better grade in the every test, because Chinese tests are always tough and hard.Also, they don't want to have any mistakes in their tests. I think this is the problem of Chinese education. Teachers and parents only focus on students' grade, so they are prefer to cheat in order to get good grade.

  7. As a student, I feel I can say that there is is likely no solution to cheating, especially in public schools. I know personally that students have the potential to cheat on not tests and homework, but also things like scholarships and personal statements required by many UC's. It's not that there aren't risks involved, but I think the problem lies in the fact that the schools and rule enforcers don't realize the extent to which students are willing to go to continue to succeed, and how devious and clever our minds can truly be.

  8. After reading the article, I was surprised to find out that so many people have cheated. In my opinion, cheating is not only against your moral, but it is also bad for you in the long run. Not only will you not understand the concept, you will only learn through cheating. For students who cheat right now, how are you going to cheat through the rest of high school and college? You will not only harm yourself, but you will be wasting your time and money during the process. Hence, please, do not cheat. People do not realize that once you start cheating for the first time, they will just end up doing it over and over again. In my opinion, there is not way to stop people from cheating. It is their free will to do that and they will just need to learn from their mistakes. They will eventually understand sooner or later.

  9. Hayden BeaudreauMay 14, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    The entire education system in the United States of America is pretty pathetic when you think about it. Teachers, who are educating the future of America, are paid terrible salaries regardless of how much money the school receives in funding. This year the entire graduating class of Acalanes Highschool is each receiving a free iPad bought by the school district, where other schools are cutting teachers, sports programs, and even certain classes like auto shop or wood shop, left and right. However it's kind of like the economy in the USA. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Prices for education are rising every year, making it more and more difficult for individuals to succeed, especially when it seems like everyone and their brother has a degree. The working force has become too competitive for even those WITH a degree. After reading this article, there is no surprise in what teachers did to try and get some extra money for their schools. Desperate times call for desperate measures. If it was a matter of losing your job, entire income, and benefits (if there are any?) , what would you do?

  10. I don't think that there is a way to fully stop cheating. Students now a days can do so many different things to cheat, and because of school rules, they teachers will never find out some of those ways. (Some students will write on their arms or other skin). I think that there are a few ways to decrease the amount of cheating. One of these ways is to print at least 30 different tests, or more if the teachers feels like it. Doing it this way makes sure that they won't copy off each other. They could also try testing online in the classroom (or computer lab) There are ways to set up a test where they can't flip web pages. They could also include a "why is this answer correct" part of the question, because this will prove what they did and didn't know. If all this fails, a big consequence is to give them a 0. Usually for college, a zero is one of the worst things we can get, because it impacts our grades so much... especially on tests.

  11. Gabriela Delgado
    English 1002-02
    18 May 2016
    Blog #5 EC
    I've heard of plagiarism many times, I don't personally think that I've ever done it but I think the reason why I haven't is because I've heard that if a professor find out that you are using plagiarism you can be expelled from all the CSU campuses. If that still seems to be a problem in other schools, maybe expelling students may be the thing to do since they think it's morally incorrect and still do it. I know when I use Turn it in, which is a website in which I submit my essays, it usually tells me the amount of plagiarism that I've used, however I know that I haven't commit plagiarism it's just that the website does not take in mind the citations therefore I need to put many of the quotes I borrowed from other articles in my own words, in other words just rephrase them. Perhaps, teachers need to actually teach instead of changing students scores and teach them how to rephrase their words.

  12. I believe that for many school plagiarism isn't prohibited in any costs. So its one of the reason why when i submit my essays online , I tend to not have a lot similarity and I start to get scared because I dont want to be able to plagiarize at any costs. In seeing the consequences of doing so. it could make you get expelled form your school and all other schools, and also be in the record of your files that are always around. So when I do essays and I want to add evidence of what I am talking about I decide in using sources and saying where I got them from, and adding the works cited to show that I didn't plagiarize, and I did use the feedback of the articles that I used throughout my essay. So that why teachers should be able to teach the students how to prevent from plagiarizing and not help them go with it, because it would affect the students but also the teachers. Just be able to paraphrase when using the articles, so then you could have less of the quotes of the articles.

  13. As a student myself, I understand the pressure of getting good grades in college and how it will affect my future. Those people paying thousands of money for an excellent SAT test perceive that getting a good degree is crucial. They fail to understand that it is vital to understand what you learn and apply it to real life - for a real success.
    I believe that as much as people try to stop their students from cheating, there is no possible way to prevent it. However, small steps can be taken to minimize the number of cheaters. For instance, surveillance cameras may be put around the room to make them more anxious when they are about to cheat.
    More education on cheating should also be given to students, to let them know the real purpose of education. They should also realize that cheating is useless, although it might give them a better grade.