Survey finds majority of students don’t cheat


Photo by Brad Dress

In a 428-student poll, more than half of students say they have not cheated before.

Brad Dress and Elizabeth Spearman, Associate Editor & Campus Life Editor

More than half of AACC students have never cheated academically, according to a survey by Campus Current.

And more than half of those in the survey said they do not believe they could get away with cheating here.

In a poll of 428 AACC students in March and April, 44.4 percent admitted they cheated in school, while 55.6 percent said they have not.

Additionally, 54.7 percent of males in the survey said they have cheated on a school assignment at some point, compared with 45.3 percent of women who admitted they have. Sophomores who took the survey were more likely to admit to cheating than freshmen.

Although 55.8 percent of the students said it’s not easy to get away with cheating at AACC, more than half of those who admitted they have cheated on school work said they think they could get away with it here.

Some students said it is easy to get away with cheating at AACC because the professors aren’t on top of it.

“There are ways people can get around it,” a 21-year-old male transfer student who took the survey said. “Teachers aren’t very observant. People are crafty.”

In fact, 38.8 percent of students said they would cheat if they thought they could get away with it; 60 percent said they would not.

One 18-year-old male graphic design major said he cheated because he knew he could get away with it; his professor was on the phone.
“I wanted to prove a point to the professor,” the student said.

Some students said they think cheating is morally wrong and could affect them later in their career.

“If you have the balls to cheat on your test, you will cheat in life,” a 28-year-old female kinesiology major said.

The main reason students said they cheated: They couldn’t remember an answer. More than 90 percent also said they cheated because they didn’t study or have time to do the assignment.

Men were more likely than women to advocate strict punishments for cheating. Male students were 15.2 percent more likely to favor suspension or expulsion than women, for example, and 12.5 percent more likely to endorse an F in the class.

But students who confessed that they have cheated said lighter punishments are more appropriate. For example, the admitted cheaters said an official warning or an explanation from the professor would be punishment enough. Among those who did not cheat, on the other hand, 70.1 percent said the cheater should fail the course, compared with 29.9 percent who cheated.

“Intensive punishments should be used only for repeat offenders,” one student offered. Another said if it happens more than three times, “you should be suspended.”

Finally, cheaters and non-cheaters did not agree on what cheating is.

Of those who said they cheated, 51.2 percent said plagiarism is not cheating, while 56.4 percent of those who did not cheat said it is.
Fabrication, or making up information, is cheating, according to 60.9 percent of students who said they did not cheat. But just 39.1 percent of cheaters said they consider it cheating.