Why professors ignore cheating: Opinions of a national Sample of psychology instructors

Ethics and Behavior 8 (3):215 – 227 (1998)
Abstract
To understand better why evidence of student cheating is often ignored, a national sample of psychology instructors was sampled for their opinions. The 127 respondents overwhelmingly agreed that dealing with instances of academic dishonesty was among the most onerous aspects of their profession. Respondents cited insufficient evidence that cheating has occurred as the most frequent reason for overlooking student behavior or writing that might be dishonest. A factor analysis revealed 4 other clusters of reasons as to why cheating may be ignored. Emotional reasons included stress and lack of courage. Difficult reasons included the extensive time and effort required to deal with cheating students. Fear reasons included concern about retaliation or a legal challenge. Denial reasons included beliefs that cheating students would fail anyway and that the worst offenders do not get caught. The reasons why instances of academic dishonesty should be proactively confronted are presented.
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