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Useful Approaches To Preventing Academic Dishonesty In The Classroom

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



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Page Numbers

6.1097.1 - 6.1097.7



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Trevor Harding

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3275

Useful Approaches to Preventing Academic Dishonesty in the Classroom

Trevor S. Harding Kettering University


Over the past three decades, academic dishonesty (a.k.a. cheating) has become an increasingly common occurrence among college-aged students, and engineering students are known to be among the most frequent culprits. At most universities, cheating is dealt with after the fact. Few institutions go beyond drafting an academic integrity policy to prevent cheating before it happens. The same situation exists in the classroom. The majority of college professors report doing little or nothing to reduce the frequency of cheating in their classes, usually because of a lack of awareness of its occurrence. And when cheating is observed, faculty overwhelmingly choose to deal with the situation on their own, without resorting to the institution’s policy. Given this scenario, it is the author’s goal to develop useful approaches that help faculty prevent cheating before it occurs. In addition, the author feels that students do not inherently want to cheat. One can therefore assume that there is a set of practical techniques that can be used by faculty to reduce the pressure on students to cheat. This paper focuses on several of these techniques which were developed as a result of research on self-reported student cheating at a private mid-western university. One technique that is highly effective is the use of learning objectives for test construction. Students reported cheating less often on tests since they appeared to be written more fairly. Other techniques include discussing learning theories and engineering ethics in class, allowing students to use reference sheets for closed-book tests and having students work in cooperative learning groups on homework. Discussion will include how to apply these techniques and why they may reduce cheating.

I. Introduction

If one reviews the literature on academic dishonesty, they will find a rather alarming set of statistics. Maramark and Maline, based on 30 years of research on cheating in higher education, have recently declared that cheating is a “chronic” problem1. A look at the numbers indicates why. The number of students who admitted to cheating in college has increased steadily, from 23% in the 1940’s2 to as many as 70% in the 1990s3. For engineering educators, the numbers are even more disturbing. In a study conducted by Mead in 1992, the number of engineering students who admitted to cheating was around 74%, second only to business students (87%)4.

“Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2001, American Society for Engineering Education”

Harding, T. (2001, June), Useful Approaches To Preventing Academic Dishonesty In The Classroom Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9957

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