As you read, consider how educational goals and the American value placed on educational success could produce strain as detailed by sociologist Robert Merton.
Then write a 2 page paper APA format, that applies Merton’s Anomie Theory “modes of adaptation” to educational cheating.
For your paper, begin with a summary of your selected article. What form or forms of academic dishonesty were presented? What rationalization, motivations, neutralizations, excuses, or contextual considerations for cheating were detailed?
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Write a paper responding to these questions:Which of Merton’s adaptations (ritualists, rebelling, innovation, or retreatism) best apply to the article? Why?
Mertons 5 modes of adaptations
– Conformity Most common mode of adaptation, believe in culturally defined goals, believe in system optimistically believe you “can do”, differed gratification, Internalization = blames self if doesn’t succeed.
– Innovation Wants the same thing as the conformist (success, value of rewards) but uses illegitimate means to acquiring them, more likely to be criminal
– Ritualism Modifies goals and becomes a modified conformist. Accepts modified goals/rewards, goes through means but never reaches end, slow progress
– Retreatism Doesn’t care about goals and hwo you go about getting. Tends to join the cults, “dropping out”, quietly accepts defeatism
– Rebellion Seeks to organize rather than retreat, leaders of social movements, blames system if things go wrong, causes stress by recruiting others
As you read, consider how educational goals and the American value placed on educational success could produce strain as detailed by sociologist Robert Merton.Then write a 2 page paper APA format, th
To Cheat or Not to Cheat: Academic Dishonesty in the College Classroom By Emily Hendricks, Dr. Adena Young-Jones, and James Foutch Department of Psychology Abstract Within the academic domain, the pressure to excel in every course is paramount. Regardless of where the bar is set, educators teach students not to cheat. Yet academic dishonesty is pervasive in the higher educational setting due to several potential factors, including the pressure to excel, peer perception, and the lack of faculty enforcement. Current research shows the number of students who admit to academic dishonesty is increasing with time (Simkin, 2010; Chen, 2009). Other research points to a gap between moral beliefs and moral actions because what students believe is right may not affect what they do within the classroom (O’Rourke, Barnes, Deaton, Fulks, Ryan, & Rettinger, 2010). If professors knew why students cheat and how to prevent the “need” to be dishonest, students would benefit more from their classes and be less influenced by social factors. The purpose of the present study was to determine the impact of classroom environment and academic motivation on cheating and reporting the cheating of others. Additionally, we evaluated whether other students (i.e., social factors) or morality (i.e., personal factors) played a part in decisions to cheat. While this analysis suggested that several aspects of the students’ personal feelings about themselves and their classroom could predict their honesty and integrity, it also contradicted previous studies in that very few students were willing to admit to cheating or report incidents of cheating. Within the academic domain, the pressure to excel in every course is paramount. Professors set the bar high to make sure that students are benefiting from their education, not just going through the motions. Regardless of where the bar is set, educators teach students not to cheat. This starts at a young age and ranges in scope from plagiarizing, lying about missing class, or cheating on an exam. After constant reminders that cheating is not acceptable, delinquent behavior should decrease in the college years; unfortunately, it is actually quite prominent. The pervasiveness of academic dishonesty in higher educational settings could be due to several potential factors including the pressure to excel, peer perception, and the lack of faculty enforcement (Pino & Smith, Emily Hendricks, Dr. Adena Young-Jones, and James Foutch • Academic Dishonesty • 69 2003). Past research has identified differences within academic dishonesty in the educational setting, yet detail is lacking on how the student’s perception, motivation, and success within the classroom predicts dishonest behaviors. In a self-reported study by Staats, Hupp, Wallace, and Greseley (2009), more than 50% of college students admitted to cheating at least once in their academic career. According to Simkin (2010), the majority of both business and non-business college students admitted that they had cheated in college. A study by Chen (2009) showed that out of approximately 800 participants, only 3 claimed they had never academically cheated in college. The amount of students who admit to academic dishonesty is increasing with time. Those in Chen’s study who stated they had never cheated previously believed that cheating was not morally right. Though some students have this belief, unfortunately they are in the minority. With new technology and more creative ways to cheat, students have a greater opportunity to work the system for a better grade. Wowra (2002) found that students are less likely to cheat in school if they place a higher emphasis on their own moral identities than on their social evaluations by peers and faculty. Students are beginning to feel pressured and judged by their grades to such a degree that cheating becomes more of a social influence than a moral decision (Slobogin, 2002). Though most professors assume that a handful of students might cheat, it is important to assess why a student cheats in order to prevent academic dishonesty from growing into a common occurrence. The gap between moral beliefs and moral actions seems significant because what students believe is right may not affect their actions in the classroom. O’Rouke, Barnes, Deaton, Fulks, Ryan, and Rettinger (2010), concluded that cheating is a social decision where a student must choose between his or her moral values and group accepted behaviors in academic settings. A student’s attitude toward cheating can be influenced by simply witnessing a peer’s dishonest behavior. When students see cheating as predominately a social issue, they are more likely to be swayed by how their peers act; since others are doing it, the student may feel safe to imitate. Cheating occurs in the college classroom for various reasons and at differing rates, depending on the particular student and the particular classroom. The implications of this occurrence have expanded the scope of cheating to include lying to professors, plagiarizing papers, using nonverbal signals during tests, texting answers, and trading papers. There may be no limit to the types of academic dishonesty within a college setting. Roig and Caso (2002) found that 70% of students stated that they had falsified an excuse to their professors at least once during college. Students are beginning to utilize academic dishonesty for better faculty and peer perceptions rather than just for their grades. Due to hopes of attending graduate school or obtaining an ideal career after graduation, students are feeling added demands to receive higher grades 70 LOGOS: A Journal of Undergraduate Research • Missouri State University • Fall 2011 in college and added pressure to succeed within the classroom (Slobogin, 2002). A significant conflict exists between students’ motivation and academic demands; sadly, this issue may lead to the temporary solution of cheating. While other studies have indicated the use of deceptive excuses and the prevalence of cheating, more studies need to be conducted on the relationship between academic dishonesty and students’ motivation and success. Although educational institutions have strict academic dishonesty policies, the professors are the ones responsible for enforcement. If professors knew why students cheat and how they could improve a student’s motivation and success to not feel the “need” to be dishonest, students may benefit more from their classes and be less influenced by social factors. This current study examined these relationships using students’ environments, motivations, and success rates within the classroom compared to their rates of academic integrity. Thus, participants who are in their ideal environments, who are intrinsically motivated, and who have their basic needs met will have higher levels of academic integrity. Additionally, due to previous claims that cheating is more prevalent and is more a social choice than a personal one, we evaluated whether other students (i.e., social factors) or morality (i.e., personal factors) played parts in decisions to cheat. Method Participants Participants in the present study included 212 undergraduate students enrolled in an Introductory Psychology course at a mid-western university (94 male, 118 female). Participants were primarily between the ages of 18 to 21 (n = 193), fifteen were 22 to 25 years old, two were between the ages of 26 and 29 years old, and two were 30 years old or above. The majority of participants were freshmen (n = 145), but sophomores (n = 34), juniors (n = 4), and seniors (n = 4) were also included. Only 3.3% of the students were declared Psychology majors with 96.2% as other majors. Of these participants, 206 were full-time students while five students were part-time. A total of 180 were White/Non-Hispanic, 11 were African-American, and 19 were of other ethnic origin. Participants were informed of their right to not participate and that their information would be held in the strictest confidentiality. Instruments Participants completed an online questionnaire to assess the impact of the Introductory Psychology course, receiving extra credit for their participation. The questionnaire consisted of three scales: the Basic Needs Satisfaction (BNS) scale, which measured self-reported levels of autonomy, competence, and social relatedness; the Intrinsic Motivation Inventory (IMI), which measured personal and environmental variables like class usefulness and value, class importance Emily Hendricks, Dr. Adena Young-Jones, and James Foutch • Academic Dishonesty • 71 and effort invested in it, class interest and enjoyment, and whether students took the class because they had to or wanted to; and finally a Class Assessment and Retention Scale (CARS), which measured the students’ positive or negative perceptions of the classroom environment, their motivation to attend class, and academic honesty. Of the 114 questions throughout the CARS, IMI, and BNS, 93 of these items were Likert-style rated from 1 (no/strongly disagree) to 7 (yes/strongly agree), 15 were yes/no, and 6 were exploratory open-ended questions. Each subscale of the BNS (autonomy, competence, relatedness), IMI (effort, choice, value, interest), and CARS (integrity, environment, retention, motivation) were averaged separately to form 11 unique quotients. Higher scores denoted either more needs satisfaction (BNS), more intrinsic motivation (IMI), or more positive perceptions of the classroom environment (CARS). Results Students’ scores on the IMS, BNS, and CARS subscales were used to predict levels of academic integrity. The data were screened for missing data, outliers, and regression assumptions. One participant failed to answer any questions and eight multivariate outliers (using Mahalanobis, Cooks, and Leverage cutoff values) were found and eliminated from the analysis. Linearity, normality, multicollinearity, homogeneity, and homoscedasticity were all met. The overall regression model was significant, indicating that the combination of the three scales predicted students’ levels of integrity, F(10, 182) = 5.93, p < 0.001, R2 = 0.06. Of the 10 subscales, only motivation, competence, and class interest were significant predictors of academic integrity. The CARS motivation subscale showed the most positive change in academic integrity as students who were more motivated were more likely to be honest students, β = 0.34, t(182) = 2.53, p = 0.001, pr2 = 0.06. Those students who were more comfortable in their academic abilities as shown on the BNS subscale for competence showed a higher predilection for honesty, β = 0.26, t(182) = 2.92, p = 0.004, pr2 = 0.04. Finally, students whose attention was held by the class, as shown on the IMI subscale for class interest, were more likely to refrain from cheating, β = 0.28, t(182) = 2.41, p = 0.02, pr2 = 0.03. Some data also showed a marked departure from established research. For example, of the 212 respondents, 190 said they had not witnessed any cheating, 21 said they had, and one did not answer. Of the 21 people who had witnessed someone cheating, 71.4% (n = 15) would have difficulty telling the professor, and of those, 67% (n = 10) would absolutely refuse to tell. If that person was their friend, those numbers go up to 76.2% (n = 16) and 81.3% (n = 13) respectively (see Figure 1). Of the 190 who had not witnessed any cheating, 47.9% (n = 91) would have difficulty telling the professor, with 54.9% (n = 50) of those absolutely refusing to tell. Also, if that person was their friend, 72 LOGOS: A Journal of Undergraduate Research • Missouri State University • Fall 2011 58.9% (n = 112) would have problems telling the professor, with 58.9% (n = 66) of those absolutely refusing to tell (see Figure 2). Discussion We hypothesized that students’ environment, motivation, and needs (both social and personal) could be used to predict their levels of academic integrity. Only one quotient from each scale was a reliable predictor, so this hypothesis was partially confirmed. The analysis suggested that a professor could safely assume a high level of academic integrity from students who were motivated to go to class, were confident in their scholastic abilities, and were either interested in or enjoyed the class. These findings further suggest a roadmap for professors who wish to tailor their classrooms to produce these kinds of students. A classroom which engages its students and motivates them to attend while instilling confidence in their abilities to succeed should sufficiently deter cheating. If we are to believe the social environment models proposed by O’Rourke, et al. (2010) and Wowra (2002), this is to be expected. Two of the remaining subscales, the BNS for relatedness and the CARS for environment, are inseparably linked to social influences. With relatedness showing how interpersonally connected they feel to other students, and environment being a reflection of the external conditions affecting the student, they are measurements of how well the student feels he or she fits into the class group. Connections also exist between the remaining subscales and social influences. For example, a student’s capacity to make moral decisions (i.e., autonomy) will be influenced by the group’s moral compass; the more people a student sees doing something against his or her personal morals without punishment, the less likely the student could be to continue following that moral guide. Also, the group can expand or limit the choices available to a student, which can affect how much choice the student feels he or she has. Given the O’Rourke, et al. (2010) and Wowra (2002) models, which indicate that the social environment would influence academic integrity, this study should have seen higher rates of self-reported cheating in large-scale classrooms where the cheating environment is ideal. Whereas the analysis suggested that several aspects of the students’ personal feelings about themselves and their classroom could foretell their honesty and integrity, our findings did not match up with the social environment models. This could be due to how the questions of cheating and integrity were asked because this study asked the question outright. Previous research also suggests that incidents of cheating are becoming more prevalent, but if that were the case, we should have seen more than 10% of students claiming to have witnessed such an event. Contrarily, we found that a vast majority of students would not report such incidents even when they saw them occur. Emily Hendricks, Dr. Adena Young-Jones, and James Foutch • Academic Dishonesty • 73 The individualized aspect of higher education could be one of the culprits for this behavior. Students are in a constant competition with everyone else in their department, if not their entire school, for top honors, top accolades, the dean’s list, scholarships, and a seemingly endless list of other variables. It could be reasonably argued that this kind of environment should produce people who would prevent cheating. However, people may be more likely to recognize an incident of cheating as a one-time offense than to see those circumstances as part of a system of repeated incidents which could negatively impact them. If someone else’s cheating does not immediately affect the other student’s grade, the student may be less likely to report the incident. Or if reporting the cheater could negatively impact the student’s grade, such as in the case of a weighted test, the student could be less likely to report it as well. The professor could inhibit reporting too. If the student feels the professor is not approachable, or if the student feels he or she would be called to publicly identify someone later on, the student could be less likely to report. While professors are the ones responsible for enforcing the academic integrity policies, students are responsible for reporting cheating, and they simply are not doing so. Finally, there is the problem of defining cheating and integrity. A behavior that was considered cheating 30 years ago may not be considered so today. With the prevalence of online classes increasing, students are becoming more comfortable with the idea of looking up an answer online when they are taking an online test. Who would be able to police them, to tell them it is wrong, or even do anything about it? Does the teacher of an online class really know which student is taking which test online? As learning moves more and more to the digital frontier, professors will have to redefine what it is to cheat and will be required to come up with new and more innovative ways in which to prevent and detect it. In an effort to understand whether students cheat or not, this study simply asked the question outright as mentioned earlier. Future efforts may be more fruitful if researchers found ways to ambiguously ask the question of cheating. However, due to the vague and changing nature of what it means to cheat, this could be more difficult than it sounds. Further, for this study, each student’s name was recorded during the survey process. While it could be argued that this likely affected the accuracy of the results, if this were true, we should have seen a much larger percentage of the sample profess a willingness to report cheating. Our operational definition of academic integrity was purposefully broad to include as many aspects as possible in the research; however, we recognize this could have also affected the results by diluting the meaning of “academic integrity.” This study also interchanged the terms “academic integrity” with “cheating” rather casually, but the two are not always synonymous. Academic integrity as a whole includes reporting cheating as one of its aspects, but not reporting such behavior is not an act of cheating in itself. 74 LOGOS: A Journal of Undergraduate Research • Missouri State University • Fall 2011 Do students define cheating in the same way as their schools or their professors, and if not, what is their definition? In that same vein, are there levels of cheating? For example, is one type of cheating more offensive or harmful than another, or is it all the same? More research should be conducted on how the students perceive cheating and academic integrity. This study showed that students’ academic integrity was promoted by classrooms wherein the students were more engaged, more competent, and more motivated. However, it showed that those qualities were severely lacking in classrooms as so few were willing to report incidents of cheating. To universities, this study suggests that students must be treated differently and faculty must be given appropriate latitude if an environment of academic integrity is to be encouraged with any semblance of authority. References Chen, X. (2009). Relationship among achievement goal, academic self-efficacy and academic cheating of college students. Chinese Journal of Clinical Psychology, 17(2), 243–245. Pino, N. W., & Smith, W. L. (2003). College students and academic dishonesty. College Student Journal, 37(4), 490–500. Retrieved from EBSCOhost. O’Rourke, J., Barnes, J., Deaton, A., Fulks, K., Ryan, K., & Rettinger, D. A. (2010). Imitation is the sincerest form of cheating: The influence of direct knowledge and attitudes on academic dishonesty [Electronic version]. Ethics and Behavior, 20(1), 47–64. doi:10.01080/10508420903482616 Roig, M., & Caso, M. (2005). Lying and cheating: Fraudulent excuse making, cheating and plagiarism. The Journal of Psychology, 139(6), 485–496. Simkin, M., & McLeod, A. (2010). Why do college students cheat?. Journal of Business Ethics, 94(3), 441-453. doi:10.1007/s10551-009-0275-x Slobogin, K. (2002, April 5). Survey: Many students say cheating’s OK. CNN.com/Education. Retrieved from http://archives.cnn.com/2002/fyi/ teachers.ednews/04/05/highschool.cheating/ Staats, S., Hupp, J. M., Wallace, H., & Gresley, J. (2009). Heroes don’t cheat: An examination of academic dishonesty and students’ views on why professors don’t report cheating. Ethics and Behavior, 19(3), 171–183. Wowra, S. A. (2007). Moral identities, social anxiety, and academic dishonesty among american college students. Ethics and Behavior, 17(3), 303–321. Emily Hendricks, Dr. Adena Young-Jones, and James Foutch • Academic Dishonesty • 75 Figure 1. Frequency of students willing to inform the professor of cheating if they witnessed the behavior. Figure 2. Frequency of students willing to inform the professor of cheating if they did not witness the behavior. Emily Hendricks is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in School Psychology at the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio. She graduated summa cum laude at Missouri State University in Spring 2011 with a BS in Psychology and a minor in Child and Family Development. Her main areas of interest include motivation within the classroom and student success. Adena Young-Jones is an assistant professor of Psychology at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri. She holds a BA in Psychology and Political Science, an MS in Educational Psychology, and a PhD in Educational Psychology. Her primary areas of academic interest include academic motivation, achievement, and success of students. James Foutch holds a BS both in Sociology from Drury University and Psychology from Missouri State University. His research interests include social distance, privilege, political economy, and race relations. Copyright of LOGOS: A Journal of Undergraduate Research is the property of LOGOS: A Journal of Undergraduate Research and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder’s express written permission. However, users may print, dow