Cheating is contagious, and there's an epidemic among American kids

In May, I expressed horror after learning 25% of kids believe cheating isn’t cheating.

Well, this New York Times article provides even more shocking facts about American kids and cheating:

In surveys of 14,000 undergraduates over the last four years, an average of 61 percent admitted to cheating on assignments and exams.

The figure declined somewhat from 65 percent earlier in the decade, but the researcher who conducted the surveys, Donald L. McCabe, a business professor at Rutgers, doubts there is less of it. Instead, he suspects students no longer regard certain acts as cheating at all, for instance, cutting and pasting a few sentences at a time from the Internet….

At M.I.T., David E. Pritchard, a physics professor, was able to accurately measure homework copying with software he had developed for another purpose — to allow students to complete sets of physics problems online. Some answered the questions so fast, “at first I thought we had some geniuses here at M.I.T.,” Dr. Pritchard said. Then he realized they were completing problems in less time than it took to read them and were copying the answers — mostly, it turned out, from e-mail from friends who had already done the assignment.

About 20 percent copied one-third or more of their homework.

I’m heartbroken to learn that 20% of MIT students are cheating and two-thirds of students nationwide admit to cheating (even though 25% of students don’t consider cheating cheating!). Depressing symptoms of our diseased culture and a sad omen for America’s future. But adults deserve the blame too because I’m guessing kids are looking at adult society and absorbing the negative lessons they see all around them.

Posted by James on Wednesday, July 07, 2010