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How To Stop Cheating

Cheating in college classes is widespread. (Mr_Stein/Flickr)

Cheating in college classes is widespread. (Mr_Stein/Flickr)

Cheating is a big problem. How big?

Consider this: Research shows that 75 percent of college students —  three out of four– admit to cheating.

And those are only the students who admit it.

But there things we can do to curb cheating, says my guest today. And it doesn’t involve making the penalties any harsher.


James Lang, director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at Assumption College, and the author of Cheating Lessons: Learning from Academic Dishonesty. You can find his recent op-ed on cheating here.


You can see Lang talking cheating here.

Other stories from this show:

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  • J__o__h__n

    I never cheated and prefer large lectures to smaller classes with lots of discussion. At intro level classes, listening to other uninformed students contributes little of value. And frequent testing in a subject you aren’t planning to master is a waste of time. I’d rather cram for or two tests than have to study all semester. Most law school classes only had one exam and I liked that. In high school there were weekly math tests and cheating was rampant there. Cheating needs to be solved by better policing and students realizing that morals are as important as results.

    There is only one Tour de France every year and myriad baseball games yet both are full of cheaters.

  • J__o__h__n

    Sharon, never say that again!

  • J__o__h__n

    Why not have all classes that aren’t in a student’s major given as pass fail? That would allow them to be proficient but not competitive in subjects that are of no interest to them.

  • Mort Sinclair

    Thank you!!! I’m a high school teacher, and everything you’ve said here makes perfect sense to me. I look forward to reading your book and trying to get my colleagues and administrators to pay attention.

  • ToyYoda

    Things that encourage cheating:
    “Test is difficult”
    “Low Efficacy”
    “External motivation”
    “Not capable of succeeding.”

    Several times in college, I’ve gone into exam rooms with all these things against me. And everytime I failed, and failed miserably. But I never cheated. I knew going in that I would fail.

    Whatever happened to students and people with integrity? Or, did most people cheat on life’s integrity test? What happened to failing as a method of feedback? What happened to perspective, is someone’s reality so contorted that they need to resort to cheating? My parents would belt me if I did badly in grade school. I still didn’t cheat.

    Seems to me in preventing environments where students are encouraged to cheat, we are coddling their egos, if so, that’s a massive failure.

  • J__o__h__n

    While both are wrong, I think that there is a difference between the student cheating to pass a class that is required but not relevant to their interests and someone cheating to get ahead of other motivated students. I think the latter are more morally culpable and didn’t hear any theories to reduce that sort of cheating.

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