Los Angeles Times, Colleges Grapple With Cheating in the Digital Age:
Stanford University's honor code dates to 1921, written by students to help guide them through the minefield of plagiarism, forbidden collaboration, copying and other chicaneries that have tempted undergraduates since they first arrived on college campuses.
Exams aren't proctored, and students are expected to police themselves and speak up when they see others committing violations.
But there appears to have been a massive breakdown during the recent winter quarter, culminating in "an unusually high number of troubling allegations of academic dishonesty" reported to officials, according to a letter to faculty from Provost John Etchemendy.
"Among a smattering of concerns from a number of winter courses, one faculty member reported allegations that may involve as many as 20% of the students in one large, introductory course," Etchemendy said in the March 24 letter. ...
Although the Stanford allegations may have surprised some, for many others they cemented the belief that a culture of cheating pervades higher education. Harvard, Dartmouth, the Air Force Academy and other prominent institutions have recently grappled with allegations of large-scale cheating.
Studies find that students feel under more pressure than ever to succeed and increasingly see cutting corners as nothing serious. And they are being aided by cheating-friendly technology. Etchemendy alluded to those challenges.
"With the ease of technology and widespread sharing that is now part of the collaborative culture, students need to recognize and be reminded that it is dishonest to appropriate the work of others," he said. "Do we provide guidance for the use of technology? And are students aware that we really will seek to identify and report concerns that may arise?" ...
Nationwide, about 68% of undergraduates and 43% of graduate students admit cheating on tests or written assignments, according to research by retired Rutgers business professor Donald L. McCabe and the International Center for Academic Integrity at Clemson University.
As students see business leaders, athletes and their peers cheating — in many cases with impunity — the practice no longer carries the social stigma it once did, according to the research. With competition at elite institutions especially intense, high-achieving students are as likely to cheat as those who struggle academically.