05 Resources

Research into cheating at the college and university began in 1990 by Dr. Donald McCabe, one of the founders of ICAI. This research continues today, spearheaded by ICAI and its members.

McCabe’s original research and subsequent follow-up studies show that more than 60 percent of university students freely admit to cheating in some form.

In March 2020, ICAI researchers tested an updated version of the McCabe survey with 840 students across multiple college campuses. This work showed the following rates of key cheating behaviors:

  • Cheated in any way on an exam

facts and stats 1

  • Getting someone else to do your academic work (e.g. essay, exam, assignment) and submitting it as your own.

facts and stats 2

  • Using unauthorized electronic resources (e.g. articles, Wikipedia, YouTube) for a paper, project, homework or other assignments.

facts and stats 3

  • Working together on an assignment with other students when the instructor asked for individual work.

facts and stats 4

  • Paraphrasing or copying a few sentences or more from any source without citing it in a paper or assignment you submitted.

facts and stats 5

*This includes data from 5 institutions including a private university, two large public universities, a small public university, and a small private liberal arts college

Rettinger, et al. (2020) in prep

Cheating in High School

McCabe also conducted surveys of over 70,000 high school students at over 24 high schools in the United States. This work demonstrated that 64 percent of students admitted to cheating on a test, 58 percent admitted to plagiarism and 95 percent said they participated in some form of cheating, whether it was on a test, plagiarism or copying homework.


More about Don McCabe’s surveys and statistics, including sources for these statistics, is available in his excellent book Cheating in College .

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Academic honesty: cheating & plagiarism, academic honesty: cheating & plagiarism, what is academic misconduct.

You are guilty of cheating whenever you present as your own work something that you did not do. You are also guilty of cheating if you help someone else to cheat.

One of the most common forms of cheating is plagiarism, using another's words or ideas without proper citation. When students plagiarize, they usually do so in one of the following six ways:

  • Using another writer's words without proper citation. If you use another writer's words, you must place quotation marks around the quoted material and include a footnote or other indication of the source of the quotation.
  • Using another writer's ideas without proper citation. When you use another author's ideas, you must indicate with footnotes or other means where this information can be found. Your instructors want to know which ideas and judgments are yours and which you arrived at by consulting other sources. Even if you arrived at the same judgment on your own, you need to acknowledge that the writer you consulted also came up with the idea.
  • Citing your source but reproducing the exact words of a printed source without quotation marks. This makes it appear that you have paraphrased rather than borrowed the author's exact words.
  • Original: If the existence of a signing ape was unsettling for linguists, it was also startling news for animal behaviorists.
  • Unacceptable borrowing of words: An ape who knew sign language unsettled linguists and startled animal behaviorists.
  • Unacceptable borrowing of sentence structure: If the presence of a sign-language-using chimp was disturbing for scientists studying language, it was also surprising to scientists studying animal behavior.
  •  Acceptable paraphrase: When they learned of an ape's ability to use sign language, both linguists and animal behaviorists were taken by surprise.
  • Borrowing all or part of another student's paper or using someone else's outline to write your own paper.
  • Using a paper writing "service" or having a friend write the paper for you. Regardless of whether you pay a stranger or have a friend do it, it is a breach of academic honesty to hand in work that is not your own or to use parts of another student's paper.
  • In computer programming classes, borrowing computer code from another student and presenting it as your own. When original computer code is a requirement for a class, it is a violation of the University's policy if students submit work they themselves did not create.

Note: The guidelines that define plagiarism also apply to information secured on internet websites. Internet references must specify precisely where the information was obtained and where it can be found.

You may think that citing another author's work will lower your grade. In some unusual cases this may be true, if your instructor has indicated that you must write your paper without reading additional material. But in fact, as you progress in your studies, you will be expected to show that you are familiar with important work in your field and can use this work to further your own thinking. Your professors write this kind of paper all the time. The key to avoiding plagiarism is that you show clearly where your own thinking ends and someone else's begins.

Multiple submissions

Multiple submissions is the practice of submitting a single paper for credit in two different classes (in the same quarter or in different quarters). The UW does not have a general policy prohibiting this practice. However, because an individual professor may not permit the practice in their class, a student wishing to make a multiple submission must clear it with both professors involved. Non-compliance will result in a violation of the University's standard of conduct.

Another common form of cheating involves exams. Copying from someone else's paper, using notes (unless expressly allowed by the teacher), altering an exam for re-grading, getting an advance copy of the examination, or hiring a surrogate test-taker are all flagrant violations of University policy.


Educators recognize the value of collaborative learning; students are often encouraged to form study groups and assigned group projects. Group study often results in accelerated learning, but only when each student takes responsibility for mastering all the material before the group. For example, suppose a calculus study group is working on a set of homework problems. Little would be learned if each student worked only one or two problems and merely copied answers for the rest. A more beneficial approach would be for each member to work all problems and be assigned the task of explaining a few problems to the group. Illegal collaboration often occurs on homework in computer programming courses. A common case is when two students outline a program in detail together, and then type it into the computer separately, perhaps making minor modifications or corrections as they type. To a grader's trained eye, the structure of the programs is identical and the students are guilty of cheating because they haven't turned in separate, original work.

Illegal collaboration also occurs on writing assignments in liberal arts courses. Typically, students will create a detailed outline together, then write separate papers from the outline. The final papers may have different wording but share structure and important ideas. This is cheating because the students have failed to hand in something that is substantially their own work, and because they haven't cited the ideas that they've borrowed from each other.

Group projects require careful division of responsibility and careful coordination to control the quality of the final product. Collective work quickly degenerates when some students see it as a way to get through an assignment with the least amount of effort. Group work calls for a different kind of effort, not less of it. When group projects are assigned, the instructor is usually interested in your mastery of group process as well as the subject. Ask the instructor to clarify individual responsibilities and suggest a method of proceeding.

In summary, when a professor says, "Go ahead and work together," don't assume that anything goes. Professors often don't state the limits of collaboration explicitly. It is your responsibility to avoid crossing the line that turns collaboration into cheating. If you're not sure, ask.

  • Our Mission

Alex Green Illustration, Cheating

Why Students Cheat—and What to Do About It

A teacher seeks answers from researchers and psychologists. 

“Why did you cheat in high school?” I posed the question to a dozen former students.

“I wanted good grades and I didn’t want to work,” said Sonya, who graduates from college in June. [The students’ names in this article have been changed to protect their privacy.]

My current students were less candid than Sonya. To excuse her plagiarized Cannery Row essay, Erin, a ninth-grader with straight As, complained vaguely and unconvincingly of overwhelming stress. When he was caught copying a review of the documentary Hypernormalism , Jeremy, a senior, stood by his “hard work” and said my accusation hurt his feelings.

Cases like the much-publicized ( and enduring ) 2012 cheating scandal at high-achieving Stuyvesant High School in New York City confirm that academic dishonesty is rampant and touches even the most prestigious of schools. The data confirms this as well. A 2012 Josephson Institute’s Center for Youth Ethics report revealed that more than half of high school students admitted to cheating on a test, while 74 percent reported copying their friends’ homework. And a survey of 70,000 high school students across the United States between 2002 and 2015 found that 58 percent had plagiarized papers, while 95 percent admitted to cheating in some capacity.

So why do students cheat—and how do we stop them?

According to researchers and psychologists, the real reasons vary just as much as my students’ explanations. But educators can still learn to identify motivations for student cheating and think critically about solutions to keep even the most audacious cheaters in their classrooms from doing it again.

Rationalizing It

First, know that students realize cheating is wrong—they simply see themselves as moral in spite of it.

“They cheat just enough to maintain a self-concept as honest people. They make their behavior an exception to a general rule,” said Dr. David Rettinger , professor at the University of Mary Washington and executive director of the Center for Honor, Leadership, and Service, a campus organization dedicated to integrity.

According to Rettinger and other researchers, students who cheat can still see themselves as principled people by rationalizing cheating for reasons they see as legitimate.

Some do it when they don’t see the value of work they’re assigned, such as drill-and-kill homework assignments, or when they perceive an overemphasis on teaching content linked to high-stakes tests.

“There was no critical thinking, and teachers seemed pressured to squish it into their curriculum,” said Javier, a former student and recent liberal arts college graduate. “They questioned you on material that was never covered in class, and if you failed the test, it was progressively harder to pass the next time around.”

But students also rationalize cheating on assignments they see as having value.

High-achieving students who feel pressured to attain perfection (and Ivy League acceptances) may turn to cheating as a way to find an edge on the competition or to keep a single bad test score from sabotaging months of hard work. At Stuyvesant, for example, students and teachers identified the cutthroat environment as a factor in the rampant dishonesty that plagued the school.

And research has found that students who receive praise for being smart—as opposed to praise for effort and progress—are more inclined to exaggerate their performance and to cheat on assignments , likely because they are carrying the burden of lofty expectations.

A Developmental Stage

When it comes to risk management, adolescent students are bullish. Research has found that teenagers are biologically predisposed to be more tolerant of unknown outcomes and less bothered by stated risks than their older peers.

“In high school, they’re risk takers developmentally, and can’t see the consequences of immediate actions,” Rettinger says. “Even delayed consequences are remote to them.”

While cheating may not be a thrill ride, students already inclined to rebel against curfews and dabble in illicit substances have a certain comfort level with being reckless. They’re willing to gamble when they think they can keep up the ruse—and more inclined to believe they can get away with it.

Cheating also appears to be almost contagious among young people—and may even serve as a kind of social adhesive, at least in environments where it is widely accepted.  A study of military academy students from 1959 to 2002 revealed that students in communities where cheating is tolerated easily cave in to peer pressure, finding it harder not to cheat out of fear of losing social status if they don’t.

Michael, a former student, explained that while he didn’t need to help classmates cheat, he felt “unable to say no.” Once he started, he couldn’t stop.

A student cheats using answers on his hand.

Technology Facilitates and Normalizes It

With smartphones and Alexa at their fingertips, today’s students have easy access to quick answers and content they can reproduce for exams and papers.  Studies show that technology has made cheating in school easier, more convenient, and harder to catch than ever before.

To Liz Ruff, an English teacher at Garfield High School in Los Angeles, students’ use of social media can erode their understanding of authenticity and intellectual property. Because students are used to reposting images, repurposing memes, and watching parody videos, they “see ownership as nebulous,” she said.

As a result, while they may want to avoid penalties for plagiarism, they may not see it as wrong or even know that they’re doing it.

This confirms what Donald McCabe, a Rutgers University Business School professor,  reported in his 2012 book ; he found that more than 60 percent of surveyed students who had cheated considered digital plagiarism to be “trivial”—effectively, students believed it was not actually cheating at all.

Strategies for Reducing Cheating

Even moral students need help acting morally, said  Dr. Jason M. Stephens , who researches academic motivation and moral development in adolescents at the University of Auckland’s School of Learning, Development, and Professional Practice. According to Stephens, teachers are uniquely positioned to infuse students with a sense of responsibility and help them overcome the rationalizations that enable them to think cheating is OK.

1. Turn down the pressure cooker. Students are less likely to cheat on work in which they feel invested. A multiple-choice assessment tempts would-be cheaters, while a unique, multiphase writing project measuring competencies can make cheating much harder and less enticing. Repetitive homework assignments are also a culprit, according to research , so teachers should look at creating take-home assignments that encourage students to think critically and expand on class discussions. Teachers could also give students one free pass on a homework assignment each quarter, for example, or let them drop their lowest score on an assignment.

2. Be thoughtful about your language.   Research indicates that using the language of fixed mindsets , like praising children for being smart as opposed to praising them for effort and progress , is both demotivating and increases cheating. When delivering feedback, researchers suggest using phrases focused on effort like, “You made really great progress on this paper” or “This is excellent work, but there are still a few areas where you can grow.”

3. Create student honor councils. Give students the opportunity to enforce honor codes or write their own classroom/school bylaws through honor councils so they can develop a full understanding of how cheating affects themselves and others. At Fredericksburg Academy, high school students elect two Honor Council members per grade. These students teach the Honor Code to fifth graders, who, in turn, explain it to younger elementary school students to help establish a student-driven culture of integrity. Students also write a pledge of authenticity on every assignment. And if there is an honor code transgression, the council gathers to discuss possible consequences. 

4. Use metacognition. Research shows that metacognition, a process sometimes described as “ thinking about thinking ,” can help students process their motivations, goals, and actions. With my ninth graders, I use a centuries-old resource to discuss moral quandaries: the play Macbeth . Before they meet the infamous Thane of Glamis, they role-play as medical school applicants, soccer players, and politicians, deciding if they’d cheat, injure, or lie to achieve goals. I push students to consider the steps they take to get the outcomes they desire. Why do we tend to act in the ways we do? What will we do to get what we want? And how will doing those things change who we are? Every tragedy is about us, I say, not just, as in Macbeth’s case, about a man who succumbs to “vaulting ambition.”

5. Bring honesty right into the curriculum. Teachers can weave a discussion of ethical behavior into curriculum. Ruff and many other teachers have been inspired to teach media literacy to help students understand digital plagiarism and navigate the widespread availability of secondary sources online, using guidance from organizations like Common Sense Media .

There are complicated psychological dynamics at play when students cheat, according to experts and researchers. While enforcing rules and consequences is important, knowing what’s really motivating students to cheat can help you foster integrity in the classroom instead of just penalizing the cheating.

Academic Misconduct

This may involve questions of academic integrity which include honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility.

Some examples of academic misconduct include, plagiarism, cheating, copying homework, and stealing an exam or course materials. The University of Wisconsin-Madison takes academic misconduct allegations very seriously.

On this page

The student’s role The misconduct process Reporting academic misconduct Why academic integrity matters Academic misconduct interview Avoiding academic misconduct Policy

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Nonacademic misconduct Report nonacademic misconduct Sanctions Appeals Amnesty through responsible action

The student's role

As a UW-Madison student, it is your responsibility to be informed about what constitutes academic misconduct, how to avoid it and what happens if you decide to engage in it. Academic misconduct is established by the State of Wisconsin for all UW System schools as detailed in UWS Chapter 14 .

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Examples of academic misconduct

  • Claiming credit for the work or efforts of another without authorization or citation.
  • Copying another student’s homework.
  • Turning in work of another person and not giving them credit.
  • Having a friend answer your clicker questions when you are absent.
  • Using translation software when prohibited or limited by the instructor.
  • Stealing an exam, or course materials.
  • Uses unauthorized materials or fabricated data in any academic exercise, such as using notes for a closed-book online exam.
  • Copying from another student during an exam.
  • Working on an assignment with others when you are supposed to do so independently.
  • Forges or falsifies academic documents or records (having a friend sign you in for attendance when you’re absent).
  • Intentionally impedes or damages the academic work of others (tampering with another student’s experiment).
  • Engaging in conduct aimed at making false representation of a student’s academic performance (altering test answers and submitting the test for regrading).

Assisting other students in any of these acts.

The academic misconduct process

If academic misconduct is suspect, this represents an overview of the steps involved in the process, including links to specifics about each step.

1. Misconduct is suspected, a meeting follows

Instructor suspects student of academic misconduct and requests a meeting with student.

Things to consider first

2. The instructor meets with the student

Instructor meets with student to review allegation. The accused student is given an opportunity to respond to allegation.

Preparing, and having a meeting

3. A determination of misconduct is made

The instructor will need to make a decision on whether misconduct occurs. The instructor will also decide the consequences, known as sanctions.

Things to consider when deciding

4. The student is next contacted by the instructor via email

The student is emailed a summary that outlines what misconduct is suspected, the instructor’s decision if the student was responsible or not-responsible, and why. If the student is found responsible, the sanctions should be included. .

Emailing the student your findings

5. Submit a report to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards

This step includes reporting who was involved, what happened, the instructor’s decision, the violation and any sanctions/penalties that have already occurred to Student Conduct and Community Standards. The letter to the student, and any documentation collected should be included in the report.

Submitting a report

6. A formal hearing

If requested, the accused student has ten days to request a formal hearing with a hearing panel or examiner to potentially challenge the misconduct.

If the hearing is not requested, sanctions are imposed.

7. A decision is made from the hearing

The hearing body decides the case based on the information provided during the hearing. Both the instructor and accused student are informed of the decision.

8. Sanctions and appeals

If a sanction results from the instructor or the hearing body, the sanctions are applied. There is also an option to appeal the decision.

cheating homework plagiarism

Reporting academic misconduct


The process to report academic misconduct may involve some or all of the following steps:

  • Talking to the accused student
  • Documenting the suspected activity
  • Deciding what sanctions should be involved
  • Filing a misconduct report

Report academic misconduct

Students who suspect cheating

If you suspect a classmate is cheating or committing another type of academic dishonesty, notify your instructor, professor, or teaching assistant. It is the job of the instructor (not the student) to determine if misconduct occurred. All you need to do is report what you heard or saw.

Talking about suspected misconduct is difficult, especially if it involves someone you know. Your academic advisor can be a great resource to help you if you need to talk to someone about your situation. The Dean of Students Office also has staff available.

Why academic integrity matters

A professor meeting with a student

Academic Integrity is critical to the mission of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a research institution with high academic standards and rigor. All members of the University community play a role in fostering an environment in which student learning is achieved in a fair, just, and honest way.

Faculty and instructional staff set the tone in their classrooms by communicating clear expectations to their students and educating them on the consequences of engaging in academic misconduct while referring to campus resources.

Students are expected to uphold the core values of academic integrity which include honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility. These core values, combined with finding one’s purpose and passion and applying them in and out of classroom learning, produce students who become extraordinary citizens. This unique path of opportunities, created by each student, is commonly known as the Wisconsin Experience and impacts our campus community and beyond in significant and positive ways.

The value of a University of Wisconsin-Madison degree depends on the commitment of our academic community to promote high levels of personal honesty and respect for the intellectual property of others.

Academic Misconduct Interview

Listen to Lynn Prost (Assistant Dean for Graduate Student Academic Affairs) interview Tonya Schmidt (Director) and Jen Van Roy (Student Conduct Coordinator) about Academic Misconduct process and prevention.

How to avoid academic misconduct

Person typing on a computer

  • Use the  Writing Center  for help with citations. They are experts in APA, MLA and other citation styles.
  • Avoid copying and pasting directly into your paper from the internet.
  • Understand the expectations and limitations when working in groups (i.e., Is collaboration allowed on the project? Is collaboration allowed on homework?)
  • If you aren’t sure, always ask your instructor.

Review the policies, procedures, and resources, both on campus and online, that can help you avoid plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic misconduct.

Explore student resources

Where to learn more

Student and professor having a conversation

Student Resources

Assistance whole on campus and online that can help students avoid plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic misconduct.

Assistant dean talking at his desk with a female graduate student.

Faculty and Staff resources

Guides, resources, and information to help support students experiencing issues including academic and non-academic misconduct.

  • Chapter UWS 14: Academic Procedures More
  • Chapter UWS 17: Student Disciplinary Procedures More
  • Chapter UWS 18: Conduct on University Lands More
  • Amnesty Through Responsible Action More
  • Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence More
  • Residence Hall Student/Community Expectations More
  • Protest Guildelines More

Student Conduct and Community Standards Contacts

How can we help?

Email us at: [email protected]

Phone: 608-263-5701

Fax: 608-265-4656

Line art image of Bascom Hall at the University of Wisconsin–Madison

Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards 724 W. Johnson Street Madison, WI 53715

Office Hours Monday-Friday: 8:00am - 4:30pm

After Hours Contacts

Crisis response: Call Mental Health Services 608-265-5600 (option 9) Emergencies: Dial 911 for immediate help from the UW Police Department UWPD Non-emergency line: 608-264-2677


Plagiarism & Academic Integrity

  • Academic Integrity

Types of Academic Dishonesty

  • How to Avoid Plagiarism: Citing
  • Citing Direct Quotes
  • Paraphrasing
  • Summarizing
  • Try It! Identifying Plagiarism
  • Understanding a Turnitin Report

There are many types of academic dishonesty - some are obvious, while some are less obvious.

  • Misrepresentation ;
  • Conspiracy ;
  • Fabrication ;
  • Collusion ;
  • Duplicate Submission ;
  • Academic Misconduct ;
  • Improper Computer/Calculator Use ;
  • Improper Online, TeleWeb, and Blended Course Use ;
  • Disruptive Behavior ;
  • and last, but certainly not least, PLAGIARISM .

We will discuss each of these types of academic dishonesty in more detail below. Plagiarism is the most common type of academic dishonesty, and also the easiest type to commit on accident! See the plagiarism page for more info about what plagiarism is and how to avoid it in your work.

Cheating is taking or giving any information or material which will be used to determine academic credit.

  Examples of cheating include:

  • Copying from another student's test or homework.
  • Allowing another student to copy from your test or homework.
  • Using materials such as textbooks, notes, or formula lists during a test without the professor's permission.
  • Collaborating on an in-class or take-home test without the professor's permission.
  • Having someone else write or plan a paper for you.

  Bribery takes on two forms:

  • Bribing someone for an academic advantage, or accepting such a bribe (i.e. a student offers a professor money, goods, or services in exchange for a passing grade, or a professor accepts this bribe).
  • Using an academic advantage as a bribe (i.e. a professor offers a student a passing grade in exchange for money, goods, or services, or a student accepts this bribe).


Misrepresentation is any act or omission that is intented to deceive an instructor for academic advantage. Misrepresentation includes lying to an instructor in an attempt to increase your grade, or lying to an instructor when confronted with allegations of academic dishonesty.

Conspiracy means working together with one or more persons to commit or attempt to commit academic dishonesty.


Fabrication is the use of invented or misrepresentative information. Fabrication most often occurs in the sciences, when students create or alter experimental data. Listing a source in your works cited that you did not actually use in your research is also fabrication.

Collusion is the act of two or more students working together on an individual assignment.

Duplicate Submission

A duplicate submission means a student submits the same paper for two different classes. If a student submits the same paper for two different classes within the same semester, the student must have the permission of both instructors. If a student submits the same paper for two different classes in different semesters, the student must have the permission of their current instructor.

Academic Misconduct

Academic misconduct is the violation of college policies by tampering with grades or by obtaining and/or distributing any part of a test or assignment. For example:

  • Obtaining a copy of a test before the test is admisistered.
  • Distributing, either for money or for free, a test before it is administered.
  • Encouraging others to obtain a copy of a test before the test is administered.
  • Changing grades in a gradebook, on a computer, or on an assignment.
  • Continuing to work on a test after time is called.

Improper Computer/Calculator Use

Improper computer/calculator use includes:

  • Unauthorized use of computer or calculator programs.
  • Selling or giving away information stored on a computer or calculator which will be submitted for a grade.
  • Sharing test or assignment answers on a calculator or computer.

Improper Online, TeleWeb, and Blended Course Use

Improper online, teleweb, and blended course use includes:

  • Accepting or providing outside help on online assignments or tests.
  • Obtaining test materials or questions before the test is administered.

Disruptive Behavior

Disruptive behavior is any behavior that interfers with the teaching/learning process. Disruptive bahavior includes:

  • Disrespecting a professor or another student, in class or online.
  • Talking, texting, or viewing material unrelated to the course during a lecture.
  • Failing to silence your cell phone during class.
  • Posting inappropriate material or material unrealted to the course on discussion boards.
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Academic Dishonesty: 5 Methods of Identifying Cheating and Plagiarism

cheating homework plagiarism

One aspect of teaching that can make an instructor feel pessimistic and disheartening is when a student attempts to gain an unfair advantage.  Most of the time, this is labeled simply as cheating , defined as intentionally using or attempting to use unauthorized materials on any academic exercise , or plagiarism , the appropriation or use of another person's ideas, results, or words without giving appropriate credit , but we see instances of fabrication and other acts of dishonesty.  What can you do to combat acts of academic dishonesty?  This article is meant to help faculty members at any level, even teaching assistants, identify possible occurrences of academic dishonesty.

Know Your School’s Policies & Be Transparent with Your Students

When you become a faculty member at a new institution, take a more extensive teaching role at your current institution, or even a long-time teacher implementing new curriculum changes, you must identify and know the school’s policy and rules regarding academic honesty and creating a fair classroom environment.  Each faculty member may enforce the rules differently, but it’s critical that the students know your classroom rules and expectations upfront. A few key items to consider:

  • Do you want them to work with other students on their homework?
  • What rules and procedures do you have for assignments, reports, and exams?
  • Put this information in your syllabus and discuss this with them on Day 1 of your course with transparency. 

If one of your students performs an act of academic dishonesty in your course, this will allow you to enforce the sanctions professionally.  If you don’t know where to find this information, ask your faculty mentor or your university’s appropriate administrative office.  These offices are usually the academic honor office, the department or college office, or the Dean of Faculties office, depending on the institution.

2. Watch for the Methods Students Use to Cheat and Plagiarize

The reasons why students cheat have not changed, but how students cheat has changed dramatically.  Typically, there is an assumption that most cheaters are bad or failing students, but students cheat for a multitude of reasons: poor time management skills, a tough class schedule, stress, and anxiety, or poor communication of the rules by their faculty members.  The use of social media and other electronic resources has changed academia over the last 20 years. A few examples of some cheating methods to watch out for include:

  • Social Media Communication: Students discuss test questions and individual assignments via social media and other chat apps to give their friends and colleagues academic advantages. 
  • Smartphones: Many students take pictures of their answers with their smartphones and send them to others using text messages.
  • Smartwatches: Recently, smartwatches have become more prevalent and allow communication and internet browsing without the use of a cell phone.  They allow students to access study files and answers that were not authorized by the faculty member. 
  • Groups that Share Tests: Many student organizations have tests and assignments from previous semesters that allow students to look up questions from a faculty member or specific class. 
  • Unauthorized Help: Tutoring services will discuss how to “beat a test” or “write the perfect paper” by giving students unauthorized aid. This can also include groups or individuals who may offer to write a paper or take a test for a fee on behalf of the student.

Being smart as a faculty member is knowing that these outside resources are available and to identify when they are being used improperly.

3. Be Proactive, Not Just Reactive

For some instances of academic dishonesty, the origin of the problem comes back to the faculty member not taking a proactive role in combating the acts.

  • Full Established Boundaries: The first place for immediate improvement is the discussion of unacceptable acts on the first day of class and syllabus.  Many faculty members will only include the minimum required statement in their syllabus.  This does not properly set student academic honesty boundaries.  Establishing such boundaries might be informing students of the use of plagiarism detection software, describing acceptable behavior and communication about assignments on social media, or acceptable help on homework, essays, and reports.
  • Variety in Assessment: Another place where faculty can improve is writing different assignments or multiple forms for exams.  Changing up how you ask questions, what essay question prompts you to use, and creating different forms for exams can be time-consuming. However, this effort will reward students with a fair and objective assessment.  If you are concerned with academic dishonesty in your course, putting in some work early will benefit your course in the long run.

4. Grade Assignments, Reports, and Essays Attentively

Most of the time, trust your own feelings when looking for possible occurrences of academic dishonesty.  When grading assignments, if the work seems more advanced than the student’s level or that they do not seem to follow the question prompt, this can be a strong indication of plagiarism. A few ways to validate these concerns and provide either “proof” or deterrents of this behavior include:

  • Show Your Work: Require multiple drafts of a paper and give feedback regarding citation standards throughout the writing process. 
  • Side-by-Side Grading: If you have research papers or lab reports in which students worked with a partner or in a group, grade the assignments side-by-side.  While the data or general content may be the same, direct copying will be more apparent. 
  • Online Plagiarism Checkers: Technology has been developed to help identify plagiarism.  Websites such as Turnitin.com , Unicheck , PlagarismSearch , and others have students upload their essays/reports then compare all submissions to other online resources and papers turned in for other courses or at other institutions.  Many schools have licenses for this technology and you should utilize it on any type of critical thinking or writing assignment.

5. Manage Exam Administration and Proctoring

Most attention is focused on deterring cheating is during exams.  A few methods that can specifically help discourage academic dishonesty during these high-stake assessments include:

Assigned Seats: A good first step is to assign seats for each exam. While this might be challenging for a large lecture hall, it minimizes the chance of friends and study partners sitting next to each other; thereby limiting the student interaction.  It also allows faculty or proctors to know who is present to take the exam.

  • Variety & Alterations by Section: As mentioned before, having multiple forms of an exam can be a great preventive for cheating.  Having different exam forms with the same questions mixed in a different order, or similar questions about the same are all small, minor changes that can promote an honest testing environment.

One topic of test administration that does not get enough attention is proctoring.  In a small classroom, there may be only one adult in a 20-40 student class.  For larger lectures containing 200-400 students, teaching assistants help faculty make sure students are taking their exams honestly.  How can proctors create an honest environment? 

  • They must proctor actively:  Many proctors distribute exams and then ignore the students to grade other assignments, work on their computers, look at their cell phone or possibly leave the room.  After you pass out the exams, you should walk around, checking for anything suspicious, and watching for students looking at other exams.  If you spot any of these behaviors, make an immediate change. 
  • Reminders About the Rules: Announcements about looking at their own paper can only help so much, so moving students to correct behavior might be necessary.  Having another set of eyes and having another presence in the room, even for a brief time, can correct behavior. 
  • Instructor Collaboration: Faculty members that do have test proctors should meet with them before the exam, explain to them the correct protocols, and describe past experiences or issues that occur during exams.  This five-minute discussion will help a test proctor during a situation they have never faced and keep them actively involved during the exam session.

While cheating and plagiarism can cause many faculty members to become frustrated, being able to give your students a fair testing environments and objective assignment is the goal of all successful educators. 

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Center for Teaching

Academic integrity: grappling with cheating and plagiarism.

Print Version

Policies and Information

Preventing, detecting, and responding to plagiarism, resources to share with students, other resources.

  • Vanderbilt’s Honor System – The Student Handbook provides a useful overview of the Honor System at Vanderbilt. All Vanderbilt students (undergraduate, graduate, and professional) are governed by the system. The honor system is administered by the  Undergraduate Honor Council , the  Graduate Honor Council , and honor councils at each of the Vanderbilt professional schools, including the  Law School Honor Council and the  Owen Graduate School Honor Council .
  • Faculty Guide to the Honor System – This page from the Undergraduate Honor Council provides information on the history and operation of the Vanderbilt Honor System as well as information on faculty responsibilities and sample syllabus statements.
  • In April 2009, Vanderbilt Student Media put together this news article, Vandy Taboos: Cheating Truths . The story features interviews with faculty members John Lachs (Philosophy), Andy Van Schaack (HOD) about how they deal with cheating and plagiarism.
  • T urnitin – Vanderbilt subscribes to a plagiarism detection service called Turnitin . Faculty can access it through Brightspace, our  course management system. See the Vanderbilt Brightspace on-demand resources page for more information, or contact Brightspace support for help. See also the POD Network Essay on Teaching Excellence “ Student Plagiarism: How to Maintain Academic Integrity ” by Ludy Goodson of Georgia State University for more on the use of plagiarism detection tools.
  • “ Rational Ignorance in Education: A Field Experiment in Student Plagiarism ” – In this working paper Thomas Dee (Swarthmore College) and Brian Jacob (University of Michigan) report on a study indicating that explicit instruction on plagiarism can reduce the incidence of student plagiarism.
  • Ethical or Not? and Plagiarism or Not? Clicker Questions – CFT assistant director Derek Bruff used a series of classroom response system (“clicker”) questions in his fall 2010 first-year writing seminar to help his student learn about plagiarism and academic integrity. Derek asked his students to weigh in on a series of activities, asking whether each should be considered ethical (for some activities) or plagiarism (for others). Using clickers allowed each student to weigh in independently on each question and also to view and react to the group’s opinions. Follow these links to see the questions Derek used and how they played out in the classroom.
  • Suggested Anti-Plagiarism Activities – At a March 2011 CFT conversation on preventing plagiarism, Roger Moore (director of the College of Arts & Science’s Undergraduate Writing Program), shared a few suggested activities designed to teach students about academic writing. See this CFT blog post for a list of those activities.
  • Anti-Plagiarism Strategies for Research Papers – In this essay written for teachers, Robert Harris provides anti-plagiarism strategies of awareness, prevention, and detection as well as links to a few other useful resources. See Harris’ book, The Plagiarism Handbook , for further strategies. This book is available at the Vanderbilt Library; see its  ACORN entry for details.
  • Student Plagiarism: Are Teachers Part of the Solution or Part of the Problem? – In this POD Network Essay on Teaching Excellence, Chris M. Anson of North Carolina State University writes about teachers’ responsibilities in preventing plagiarism.
  • “ Why Do Students Cheat? ” – In this CFT blog post, assistant director Derek Bruff identifies four possible reasons students cheat, drawing on recent news articles on cheating in higher education.
  • Student Handbook: The Honor System – The online version of the student handbook provides information about the Vanderbilt Honor System from the student’s perspective, including definitions and examples of plagiarism. Students are expected to be familiar with this information.
  • Library Research Guides – This Vanderbilt Library web site provides advice and tips for undergraduates doing library research with resources categorized by topic. Particularly relevant to cheating and plagiarism are their pages on citing sources and  avoiding plagiarism .
  • Vanderbilt Writing Studio – The Vanderbilt Writing Studio provides a writing consultation service to Vanderbilt undergraduates, and their consultants are trained to address questions of plagiarism. Online resources from the Writing Studio include style and citation guides , handouts , and tips for avoiding plagiarism .
  • Indiana University Plagiarism Tutorial – Andy Van Schaack (HOD), a faculty panelist at the CFT’s March 2011 conversation on preventing plagiarism, mentioned that he requires his students to visit this tutorial and earn a certificate of completion by passing a test about plagiarism available on the site. Passing that test requires students to answer the questions 100% correctly, and Andy has his students turn in the certificates they receive. This not only educates his students about plagiarism, but also provides him with documentation that they are clear on what constitutes plagiarism.
  • Cheating Lessons: Learning from Academic Dishonesty  by James Lang (Harvard University Press, 2013) considers the research on academic dishonesty, particularly why students cheat, as well as the research on interventions intended to foster academic integrity. Based on this research, Lang proposes a set of teaching strategies that not only reduce students’ motivations to cheat, but also lead to greater student learning. For a shorter version of his argument, see his “On Teaching” essays in the Chronicle of Higher Education: Part 1 , Part 2 , and Part 3 .
  • “ In Focus: Generation Cheat? ” – This January 2011 article from the student newspaper at Northwestern University explores the landscape and history of cheating at Northwestern from multiple perspectives, including the use of SafeAssign. Students, faculty, and staff at Northwestern are quoted in the article (some under the condition of anonymity), and opinions from outside experts are included, as well.
  • “ Plagiarizing Yourself ” – In his October 2010 Chronicle of Higher Education column, English professor James M. Lang of Assumption College, questions the “rule” that students shouldn’t be able to reuse a paper from one course in a subsequent course, a practice some call “self-plagiarism.” See the 50+ comments on the article for additional perspectives on this issue.
  • “ Line on Plagiarism Blur for Students in Digital Age ” – In this August 2010 New York Times article, reporter Trip Gabriel explores the notion that students’ notions of plagiarism, intellectual property, authorship, and originality are changing as students consume and create digital media in new ways. See Inside Higher Ed ‘s November 2010 article, “ Cheating and the Generational Divide ,” for more on this theme.
  • “ High-Tech Cheating Abounds and Professors Bear Some Blame ” – In this March 2010 article, Chronicle of Higher Education reporter Jeff Young reports on recent research by David E. Pritchard, a physics professor at MIT, indicating that students frequently copy answers to online homework problems in science courses. Instead of looking for matches between student answers and homework solutions posted on the Web, Pritchard measured how long it took students to submit answers to online homework problems.  Anything under a minute for a sufficiently difficult problem was considered cheating.

“[Pritchard] and his research team found about 50 percent more cheating than students reported in anonymous surveys over a period of four semesters. In the first year he did his hunting, about 11 percent of homework problems appeared to be copied.”

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Articles & Advice > Majors and Academics > Blog

Hand of White person covered in math notes, other hand writing answers on test

Academic Ethics: How to Avoid Plagiarism and Cheating

Academic dishonesty doesn't just hurt you now—it can affect you long into the future. Let's explore the ethics of academics and how to avoid cheating.

by Carolina Jacobs Managing Editor, Classrooms.com

Last Updated: Feb 5, 2024

Originally Posted: Feb 5, 2024

The ethics of how students complete their work have absorbed the spotlight of academic discourse lately. Of course, learners have searched for ways to take the easy route on assignments ever since they first started receiving them. However, every essay and worksheet a student completes serves a great purpose, like teaching analytical thinking, problem-solving, and many other critical life skills. You shouldn’t rob yourself of academic value by plagiarizing or cheating to get your work done. But how do you define plagiarism and cheating? For instance, is there a responsible way to use artificial intelligence (AI) in your schoolwork to make it easier but not unoriginal work? Here’s everything you should know about the ethics of academia.

Why academic integrity is crucial

Teachers assign homework and tests to measure your comprehension levels and ensure you learn what you need not only to pass the class but also for the life ahead of you. A higher grade may mean you absorbed the material well, while lower ones often indicate what you may need to spend more time working on. That’s not to say the workload can’t be excessive—high schoolers  average almost seven hours of homework weekly!

Assignments and exams benefit both the educator and the student. You learn collaboration and critical-thinking skills, and your teachers discover your unique strengths and challenges and are better able to adapt to your learning needs. Academic integrity also ensures you gain the knowledge required for whatever career interests you; getting by as a doctoral medical student is much easier when you have strong foundations in biology from grade school, for instance.

Related: How to Lose Your College Acceptance

Know what’s considered plagiarism and cheating

The basic definition of plagiarism is when you try to pretend someone else’s thoughts are yours. For example, imagine your professor asks for an essay about your life and you turn in Walden by Henry David Thoreau. Or perhaps you get a few interesting details from the life story of whoever’s sitting next to you and mix them in with some of your own so you don’t have to work as hard. In either case, you’ve plagiarized by passing off someone’s ideas as your own while also ensuring that you’ve gained no educational benefit from the task.

While plagiarism is a form of cheating, there are plenty of other ways you can get in trouble for academic dishonesty. If you swipe the answer sheet from your teacher or keep your notes out during a closed-book test, you’re cheating. Another obvious option everyone knows is glancing at your neighbor’s paper for the answers. People often do these things if they feel like they don’t have enough time to review, are having trouble with the subject, or simply want to get a good grade without putting in the effort. While the first two concerns are understandable, the best option is to speak with your teacher for help in better comprehending the material and maybe even an extension to prepare.

Related: Plagiarism: What It Is and How to Avoid It on Assignments

Is using AI in academics considered cheating?

AI is currently driving the conversation on academic integrity. Adults have assumed students will use it to cheat, but 71% of learners who’ve used generative AI said they have not and never plan to use it for such reasons. Most understand that tools like ChatGPT merely cobbles other people’s ideas together from the internet, which is a form of plagiarism. However, there’s no consensus on whether using it for help with assignments is cheating.

Students who use AI for their homework assignments mainly use it to explain information—much like how they would ask their teacher for help in school. As long as you’re not using artificial intelligence to complete your work for you, it’s okay to ask it a few questions for clarity. However, if your school prohibits AI use, it’s better to do things the old-fashioned way and save your queries for your classmates, professors, or Google Search.

How students can uphold ethical academic standards

It’s easy to uphold your academic integrity in many ways. Perhaps most important of all is to ask your teachers questions when you’re confused or require more time. You’re far more likely to find an answer and learn a concept by speaking up when you need help or an extension. Asking friends is also fine, but make sure you’re getting their guidance—not just copying their answers. Other ways you can uphold ethical academic standards include:

  • Ensuring you give yourself enough time to study and complete assignments by planning ahead if you know when they’re due
  • Staying after school with a teacher or going to a professor’s office hours when you need more thorough help
  • Communicating with your educators if you have time constraints, like working after school or caring for siblings
  • Discussing study tips with your teachers to find  what learning style works best for you
  • Learning the proper way to cite information to avoid accidental plagiarism
  • Using AI for clarification rather than to generate answers

Related:   7 Savvy Habits to Help You Become a Highly Effective Student

Avoiding plagiarism and cheating is vital for success later in life. While some parts of what you’re learning might seem unnecessary, they could be significant to your career because you never know where it will take you. Additionally, academic work teaches soft skills that benefit you personally and professionally. Ask questions and learn to plan well to avoid a time-crunch scenario that tempts you to be academically dishonest.

Don’t let the fear of a bad grade get you down! Take advantage of all Our Best Advice for Homework, Studying, and Tests to make sure you get that A with integrity.

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About Carolina Jacobs

Carolina Jacobs is a Managing Editor at Classrooms.com .

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cheating homework plagiarism

Trending Post : 12 Powerful Discussion Strategies to Engage Students

Reading and Writing Haven; English Teaching Ideas

Why Students Cheat on Homework and How to Prevent It

One of the most frustrating aspects of teaching in today’s world is the cheating epidemic. There’s nothing more irritating than getting halfway through grading a large stack of papers only to realize some students cheated on the assignment. There’s really not much point in teachers grading work that has a high likelihood of having been copied or otherwise unethically completed. So. What is a teacher to do? We need to be able to assess students. Why do students cheat on homework, and how can we address it?

Like most new teachers, I learned the hard way over the course of many years of teaching that it is possible to reduce cheating on homework, if not completely prevent it. Here are six suggestions to keep your students honest and to keep yourself sane.


One of the reasons students cheat on homework is because they are overwhelmed. I remember vividly what it felt like to be a high school student in honors classes with multiple extracurricular activities on my plate. Other teens have after school jobs to help support their families, and some don’t have a home environment that is conducive to studying.

While cheating is  never excusable under any circumstances, it does help to walk a mile in our students’ shoes. If they are consistently making the decision to cheat, it might be time to reduce the amount of homework we are assigning.

I used to give homework every night – especially to my advanced students. I wanted to push them. Instead, I stressed them out. They wanted so badly to be in the Top 10 at graduation that they would do whatever they needed to do in order to complete their assignments on time – even if that meant cheating.

When assigning homework, consider the at-home support, maturity, and outside-of-school commitments involved. Think about the kind of school and home balance you would want for your own children. Go with that.


Allowing students time in class to get started on their assignments seems to curb cheating to some extent. When students have class time, they are able to knock out part of the assignment, which leaves less to fret over later. Additionally, it gives them an opportunity to ask questions.

When students are confused while completing assignments at home, they often seek “help” from a friend instead of going in early the next morning to request guidance from the teacher. Often, completing a portion of a homework assignment in class gives students the confidence that they can do it successfully on their own. Plus, it provides the social aspect of learning that many students crave. Instead of fighting cheating outside of class , we can allow students to work in pairs or small groups  in class to learn from each other.

Plus, to prevent students from wanting to cheat on homework, we can extend the time we allow them to complete it. Maybe students would work better if they have multiple nights to choose among options on a choice board. Home schedules can be busy, so building in some flexibility to the timeline can help reduce pressure to finish work in a hurry.


If you find students cheat on homework, they probably lack the vision for how the work is beneficial. It’s important to consider the meaningfulness and valuable of the assignment from students’ perspectives. They need to see how it is relevant to them.

In my class, I’ve learned to assign work that cannot be copied. I’ve never had luck assigning worksheets as homework because even though worksheets have value, it’s generally not obvious to teenagers. It’s nearly impossible to catch cheating on worksheets that have “right or wrong” answers. That’s not to say I don’t use worksheets. I do! But. I use them as in-class station, competition, and practice activities, not homework.

So what are examples of more effective and meaningful types of homework to assign?

  • Ask students to complete a reading assignment and respond in writing .
  • Have students watch a video clip and answer an oral entrance question.
  • Require that students contribute to an online discussion post.
  • Assign them a reflection on the day’s lesson in the form of a short project, like a one-pager or a mind map.

As you can see, these options require unique, valuable responses, thereby reducing the opportunity for students to cheat on them. The more open-ended an assignment is, the more invested students need to be to complete it well.


Part of giving meaningful work involves accounting for readiness levels. Whenever we can tier assignments or build in choice, the better. A huge cause of cheating is when work is either too easy (and students are bored) or too hard (and they are frustrated). Getting to know our students as learners can help us to provide meaningful differentiation options. Plus, we can ask them!

This is what you need to be able to demonstrate the ability to do. How would you like to show me you can do it?

Wondering why students cheat on homework and how to prevent it? This post is full of tips that can help. #MiddleSchoolTeacher #HighSchoolTeacher #ClassroomManagement


If you’re sincerely concerned about students cheating on assignments, consider reducing the point value. Reflect on your grading system.

Are homework grades carrying so much weight that students feel the need to cheat in order to maintain an A? In a standards-based system, will the assignment be a key determining factor in whether or not students are proficient with a skill?

Each teacher has to do what works for him or her. In my classroom, homework is worth the least amount out of any category. If I assign something for which I plan on giving completion credit, the point value is even less than it typically would be. Projects, essays, and formal assessments count for much more.


To some extent, this part is out of educators’ hands. Much of the ethical and moral training a student receives comes from home. Still, we can do our best to create a classroom culture in which we continually talk about integrity, responsibility, honor, and the benefits of working hard. What are some specific ways can we do this?

Building Community and Honestly

  • Talk to students about what it means to cheat on homework. Explain to them that there are different kinds. Many students are unaware, for instance, that the “divide and conquer (you do the first half, I’ll do the second half, and then we will trade answers)” is cheating.
  • As a class, develop expectations and consequences for students who decide to take short cuts.
  • Decorate your room with motivational quotes that relate to honesty and doing the right thing.
  • Discuss how making a poor decision doesn’t make you a bad person. It is an opportunity to grow.
  • Share with students that you care about them and their futures. The assignments you give them are intended to prepare them for success.
  • Offer them many different ways to seek help from you if and when they are confused.
  • Provide revision opportunities for homework assignments.
  • Explain that you partner with their parents and that guardians will be notified if cheating occurs.
  • Explore hypothetical situations.  What if you have a late night? Let’s pretend you don’t get home until after orchestra and Lego practices. You have three hours of homework to do. You know you can call your friend, Bob, who always has his homework done. How do you handle this situation?


Many students don’t realize that plagiarism applies to more than just essays. At the beginning of the school year, teachers have an energized group of students, fresh off of summer break. I’ve always found it’s easiest to motivate my students at this time. I capitalize on this opportunity by beginning with a plagiarism mini unit .

While much of the information we discuss is about writing, I always make sure my students know that homework can be plagiarized. Speeches can be plagiarized. Videos can be plagiarized. Anything can be plagiarized, and the repercussions for stealing someone else’s ideas (even in the form of a simple worksheet) are never worth the time saved by doing so.

In an ideal world, no one would cheat. However, teaching and learning in the 21st century is much different than it was fifty years ago. Cheating? It’s increased. Maybe because of the digital age… the differences in morals and values of our culture…  people are busier. Maybe because students don’t see how the school work they are completing relates to their lives.

No matter what the root cause, teachers need to be proactive. We need to know why students feel compelled to cheat on homework and what we can do to help them make learning for beneficial. Personally, I don’t advocate for completely eliminating homework with older students. To me, it has the potential to teach students many lessons both related to school and life. Still, the “right” answer to this issue will be different for each teacher, depending on her community, students, and culture.


You are so right about communicating the purpose of the assignment and giving students time in class to do homework. I also use an article of the week on plagiarism. I give students points for the learning – not the doing. It makes all the difference. I tell my students why they need to learn how to do “—” for high school or college or even in life experiences. Since, they get an A or F for the effort, my students are more motivated to give it a try. No effort and they sit in my class to work with me on the assignment. Showing me the effort to learn it — asking me questions about the assignment, getting help from a peer or me, helping a peer are all ways to get full credit for the homework- even if it’s not complete. I also choose one thing from each assignment for the test which is a motivator for learning the material – not just “doing it.” Also, no one is permitted to earn a D or F on a test. Any student earning an F or D on a test is then required to do a project over the weekend or at lunch or after school with me. All of this reinforces the idea – learning is what is the goal. Giving students options to show their learning is also important. Cheating is greatly reduced when the goal is to learn and not simply earn the grade.

Thanks for sharing your unique approaches, Sandra! Learning is definitely the goal, and getting students to own their learning is key.

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Common Reasons Students Cheat

Students working in a lab wearing scrubs and gloves.

Poor Time Management

The most common reason students cite for committing academic dishonesty is that they ran out of time. The good news is that this is almost always avoidable. Good time management skills are a must for success in college (as well as in life). Visit the Undergraduate Academic Advisement website  for tips on how to manage your time in college.


Another common reason students engage in dishonest behavior has to do with overload: too many homework assignments, work issues, relationship problems, COVID-19. Before you resort to behaving in an academically dishonest way, we encourage you to reach out to your professor, your TA, your academic advisor or even  UB’s counseling services .

Wanting to Help Friends

While this sounds like a good reason to do something, it in no way helps a person to be assisted in academic dishonesty. Your friends are responsible for learning what is expected of them and providing evidence of that learning to their instructor. Your unauthorized assistance falls under the “ aiding in academic dishonesty ” violation and makes both you and your friend guilty.

Fear of Failure

Students report that they resort to academic dishonesty when they feel that they won’t be able to successfully perform the task (e.g., write the computer code, compose the paper, do well on the test). Fear of failure prompts students to get unauthorized help, but the repercussions of cheating far outweigh the repercussions of failing. First, when you are caught cheating, you may fail anyway. Second, you tarnish your reputation as a trustworthy student. And third, you are establishing habits that will hurt you in the long run. When your employer or graduate program expects you to have certain knowledge based on your coursework and you don’t have that knowledge, you diminish the value of a UB education for you and your fellow alumni.

"Everyone Does it" Phenomenon

Sometimes it can feel like everyone around us is dishonest or taking shortcuts. We hear about integrity scandals on the news and in our social media feeds. Plus, sometimes we witness students cheating and seeming to get away with it. This feeling that “everyone does it” is often reported by students as a reason that they decided to be academically dishonest. The important thing to remember is that you have one reputation and you need to protect it. Once identified as someone who lacks integrity, you are no longer given the benefit of the doubt in any situation. Additionally, research shows that once you cheat, it’s easier to do it the next time and the next, paving the path for you to become genuinely dishonest in your academic pursuits.

Temptation Due to Unmonitored Environments or Weak Assignment Design

When students take assessments without anyone monitoring them, they may be tempted to access unauthorized resources because they feel like no one will know. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, students have been tempted to peek at online answer sites, Google a test question, or even converse with friends during a test. Because our environments may have changed does not mean that our expectations have. If you wouldn’t cheat in a classroom, don’t be tempted to cheat at home. Your personal integrity is also at stake.

Different Understanding of Academic Integrity Policies

Standards and norms for academically acceptable behavior can vary. No matter where you’re from, whether the West Coast or the far East, the standards for academic integrity at UB must be followed to further the goals of a premier research institution. Become familiar with our policies that govern academically honest behavior.

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Plagiarism and Cheating

Student dialog - what is cheating, student dialog - what is plagiarism, why plagiarism and cheating are wrong, unintentional plagiarism - how to properly cite a reference, citation guidelines.

Lori : Hey guys, haven't seen you since the semester started.

Brian, Sage, Deena, Jose : Hi Lori!

Brian : How's your second semester going?

Lori : It's going OK.  Just trying to keep up with all my assignments. How about yours?

Brian : It's OK.  I'm having some trouble keeping up in math class, but I've got a friend who is going to help me out, so I think I'll pass.

Jose : How is this friend going to help you?

Brian : Well, he already had the class, so I'm just going to use his homework and change the answers some.  It's not like I'm not going to study, because I'm studying his notes!

Sage : Whoa there, Brian. Isn't that a violation of the academic integrity policy?

Deena : Yeah Brian. I'd be careful if I were you.  I think that's called cheating.

Brian : You serious?  I'm studying, so why is it cheating?

Jose : Way serious man.  It's cheating because you plan to turn in homework someone else did and pretend you did it.

Brian : But I studied and I made some changes.

Lori : Get real, Brian.  You know that's cheating.  Why don't you let us help you study instead of using your friend's homework?

Jose : Yeah, I've already had that math class. I can help you understand the problems better.

Deena : You could also go to Penn State Learning Center for help. They have math tutors there who can help you. That's where I went for help with my math course.

Brian : I guess I could do that. I never really thought about what I was doing as cheating.  I certainly don't want to be considered a cheat, nor do I want to get caught cheating!  Thanks for setting me straight guys!

Jose : Even if you get a lower grade, it's better than knowing that you only got a good grade because you cheated.

Cartoon of Lori, Jose, Sage, Deena, and Brian talking. Read the dialog above the cartoon.

Academic cheating is anything you do to make it appear that someone else's work is your own or allowing someone else to copy your work and submit it as their own. It can include sharing another's work, copying answers on an exam or homework assignment, buying a research or creative paper, paying someone else to do your work for you, obtaining copies of exams, homework assignments, and notes and using them in place of doing your own work, etc. When grades, rather than education, become the focus, students become more willing to do whatever it takes to get an "A." Although some acts of cheating are unintentional - the student doesn't realize what he/she is doing is considered cheating - most of the time students know when they are doing something wrong.

 [ top of page ]

Jose : Did you hear what happened to that guy in our composition class?

Brian : No, what guy?

Jose : Phil.  The guy that always leaves class early.

Brian : Oh yeah, him.  What happened to him?

Jose : He got caught plagiarizing and is in big trouble!

Sage : Hi guys, what's up?

Jose : Hey Sage.  I was just telling Brian about Phil getting caught plagiarizing.

Sage : Yeah.  That was tough man.  But he should have known better.  Google and Turnitin.com make it easy for faculty to catch students who steal the work of others -- especially if they just copy and paste it from the Web.

Brian : Yeah, I know. But this worries me some.  What if Phil didn't mean to plagiarize?

Sage : Well, if he didn't mean to, then he can discuss that with his professor. 

Deena : Hi, guys.  I heard you talking about plagiarism. I've always been confused about the difference between plagiarism and cheating. 

Jose : Well, first, plagiarism is a form of cheating.

Sage : That's right. The way I understand it, plagiarism is when someone copies or uses somebody else's work and acts like it is theirs.

Brian : OK.  That's pretty clear. So if you copy something, you should give the author credit for it.  But I still don't see how professors would know when someone has plagiarized the work of others.

Sage : Well, most professors can tell when you've used the work of some author in their particular field. Plus, they can use resources on the Web like Google and Turnitin.com to see if the text in your paper came from a Web site.

Brian : Turnitin.com?  What's that?

Sage : Well, it's a computer database that professors can use to check student papers for plagiarism.  What they do is, they submit the paper and the database checks it against millions of documents and sends the professor back a report listing any text that is not original. Then the professor can go through each of the instances that Turnitin has found and verify whether or not they are properly cited.

Brian : Wow, that's pretty high-tech! Guess we all better be careful not to copy and paste when we write our papers!

Jose : Instructors also keep papers from previous semesters and previous assignments. Even if you copy something that can't be checked by Google or Turnitin because it isn't on the Web, instructors tend to remember what other students have written and can check through their inventory of student papers to see if the paper you are handing in has been copied.

Deena : It's also important to make sure you cite the work correctly if you do copy and paste. In addition to giving the author credit, you also need to format the text correctly by indenting it and putting it in quotes.

Brian : My instructor told us to use the Chicago Manual of Style when citing sources in our papers. The style guide covers how to format and cite the text when you are copying and pasting exact text.

Deena : At any rate, learning how to write a paper and correctly cite sources are important skills to have. Isn't that why we're here in the first place? To learn?

Cartoon of Lori, Jose, Sage, Deena, and Brian talking. Read the dialog above the cartoon.

* Turnitin.com is a plagiarism detection tool to which Penn State has a license. All instructors within the Penn State community who are currently teaching a bona fide Penn State course may have an account at Turnitin.com and may submit student work for verification. As a student at Penn State, it is your responsibility to know what constitutes plagiarism and what the penalties are for getting caught. More information about Turnitin.com is available at the Penn State Turnitin Web site as well as at the Turnitin.com Web site .

Like cheating, plagiarism is also implying that another person's work is your own . Plagiarism is a form of cheating. You commit plagiarism if you:

  • Submit a paper you have not written to be graded or reviewed as your original work.
  • Copy answers or text from another classmate and submit them as your own.
  • Quote or paraphrase from another paper, book, journal article, or Web page without using quotation marks, indenting the block of text, and crediting the original author.
  • Use long pieces of text or unique phrasings without using quotation marks, indenting the block of text, and acknowledging the original source.
  • Cite data without crediting the original source.
  • Propose another author's idea as if it were your own.
  • Present another author's structure or sequence of ideas as your own without giving the original author credit.
  • Fabricate references or use incorrect references.
  • Submit someone else's computer program or spreadsheet with minor alterations as your own work.
  • Use the same paper, project, or something you created in high school for a current undergraduate course without permission from the faculty member.

This is not a definitive list - any action which implies that someone else's work is your own can be considered plagiarism. However, things like studying in groups and copying a classmate's notes from classes you may have missed are not necessarily acts of plagiarism or cheating. These are things your instructor should address when giving an assignment. If you have any questions about whether working together and sharing notes is OK or not, ask your instructor. It is better to ask for clarification before you start than to have to defend your actions later.

The following Web sites provide examples of the different types of plagiarism. Pay attention to the fact that avoiding plagiarism is not as simple as not "cutting and pasting" from other documents:

  • Avoiding Plagiarism (PDF) (UC-Davis)
  • Unacceptable Paraphrases (Indiana University Writing Tutorial Services)
  • Avoiding Plagiarism (Northwest Missouri State University Owens Library)
  • Academic Integrity (Penn State Library Learning Services)

Sometimes the boundaries between research and plagiarism can be ambiguous. The OWL Avoiding Plagiarism Web site has a good discussion on the boundary between using other people's research and plagiarism (see reference 1 ).

 [ top of page ] 

Penn State is an institution of both learning and research. When you cheat and commit plagiarism, you hurt yourself and the community in the following ways (see reference 1 ) :

  • You deny yourself the opportunity to learn and practice skills that may be needed in your future careers . You also deny yourself the opportunity to receive honest feedback on how to improve your skills and performance.
  • You invite future employers and faculty to question your integrity and performance in general.
  • You damage Penn State's reputation and invite others to question the integrity of Penn State and the value and validity of degrees issued by Penn State.
  • You commit fraud on faculty who are evaluating your work.
  • You deprive another author due credit for his or her work.
  • You show disrespect for your peers who have done their own work.

Like cheating, some acts of plagiarism are unintentional - the student simply doesn't realize that what he/she is doing is wrong. One of the most common errors is not citing sources used for an assignment.

When do you need to cite your sources? The short answer is that you should cite a source any time you incorporate into a project, report, or paper an idea, quote (written or spoken), data, image, or other content that is not yours no matter where it came from, unless it is common knowledge.

The term common knowledge refers to any knowledge that you can reasonably expect other people to know. For instance, the fact that there are bilingual speakers in the United State is common knowledge . You would not have to cite any sources.

The specific percentages or numbers of bilingual speakers would not be common knowledge. If you were using any graphs or numbers about how many bilingual speakers are in the United States, you would need to cite where you obtained the information. If someone, like a professor, told you the information in person or via e-mail, you can cite it as a "personal communication."

There are several citation standards such as MLA, APA, Chicago Manual of Style, and more. Links to several common style guides are available from the Penn State library "Citation and Writing Guides" http://www.libraries.psu.edu/psul/researchguides/citationstyles.html .

However, you should always follow whichever citation or bibliography format your instructor gives you .

(see reference 2 )

  • University of Iowa's Guide to Citation Style Guides (esp. Web))
  • Rutger's Library - Writing and Citation Formatting

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How Teens Use Technology to Cheat in School

Why teens cheat, text messaging during tests, storing notes, copying and pasting, social media, homework apps and websites, talk to your teen.

  • Expectations and Consequences

When you were in school, teens who were cheating were likely looking at a neighbor’s paper or copying a friend’s homework. The most high-tech attempts to cheat may have involved a student who wrote the answers to a test on the cover of their notebook.

Cheating in today’s world has evolved, and unfortunately, become pervasive. Technology makes cheating all too tempting, common, and easy to pull off. Not only can kids use their phones to covertly communicate with each other, but they can also easily look up answers or get their work done on the Internet.

In one study, a whopping 35% of teens admit to using their smartphones to cheat on homework or tests. 65% of the same surveyed students also stated they have seen others use their phones to cheat in school. Other research has also pointed to widespread academic indiscretions among teens.

Sadly, academic dishonesty often is easily normalized among teens. Many of them may not even recognize that sharing answers, looking up facts online, consulting a friend, or using a homework app could constitute cheating. It may be a slippery slope as well, with kids fudging the honesty line a tiny bit here or there before beginning full-fledged cheating.

For those who are well aware that their behavior constitutes cheating, the academic pressure to succeed may outweigh the risk of getting caught. They may want to get into top colleges or earn scholarships for their grades. Some teens may feel that the best way to gain a competitive edge is by cheating.

Other students may just be looking for shortcuts. It may seem easier to cheat rather than look up the answers, figure things out in their heads, or study for a test. Plus, it can be rationalized that they are "studying" on their phone rather than actually cheating.

Teens with busy schedules may be especially tempted to cheat. The demands of sports, a part-time job , family commitments, or other after-school responsibilities can make academic dishonesty seem like a time-saving option.

Sometimes, there’s also a fairly low risk of getting caught. Some teachers rely on an honor system, and in some cases, technology has evolved faster than school policies. Many teachers lack the resources to detect academic dishonesty in the classroom. However, increasingly, there are programs and methods that let teachers scan student work for plagiarism.

Finally, some teens get confused about their family's values and may forget that learning is the goal of schooling rather than just the grades they get. They may assume that their parent would rather they cheat than get a bad grade—or they fear disappointing them. Plus, they see so many other kids cheating that it may start to feel expected.

It’s important to educate yourself about the various ways that today’s teens are cheating so you can be aware of the temptations your teen may face. Let's look at how teens are using phones and technology to cheat.

Texting is one of the fastest ways for students to get answers to test questions from other students in the room—it's become the modern equivalent of note passing. Teens hide their smartphones on their seats and text one another, looking down to view responses while the teacher isn't paying attention.

Teens often admit the practice is easy to get away with even when phones aren't allowed (provided the teacher isn't walking around the room to check for cellphones).

Some teens store notes for test time on their cell phones and access these notes during class. As with texting, this is done on the sly, hiding the phone from view.  The internet offers other unusual tips for cheating with notes, too.

For example, several sites guide teens to print their notes out in the nutrition information portion of a water bottle label, providing a downloadable template to do so. Teens replace the water or beverage bottle labels with their own for a nearly undetectable setup, especially in a large class. This, of course, only works if the teacher allows beverages during class.

Rather than conduct research to find sources, some students are copying and pasting material. They may plagiarize a report by trying to pass off a Wikipedia article as their own paper, for example.

Teachers may get wise to this type of plagiarism by doing a simple internet search of their own. Pasting a few sentences of a paper into a search engine can help teachers identify if the content was taken from a website.

A few websites offer complete research papers for free based on popular subjects or common books. Others allow students to purchase a paper. Then, a professional writer, or perhaps even another student, will complete the report for them.

Teachers may be able to detect this type of cheating when a student’s paper seems to be written in a different voice. A perfectly polished paper may indicate a ninth-grade student’s work isn’t their own. Teachers may also just be able to tell that the paper just doesn't sound like the student who turned it in.

Crowdsourced sites such as Homework Helper also provide their share of homework answers. Students simply ask a question and others chime in to give them the answers.

Teenagers use social media to help one another on tests, too. It only takes a second to capture a picture of an exam when the teacher isn’t looking.

That picture may then be shared with friends who want a sneak peek of the test before they take it. The photo may be uploaded to a special Facebook group or simply shared via text message. Then, other teens can look up the answers to the exam once they know the questions ahead of time.

While many tech-savvy cheating methods aren’t all that surprising, some methods require very little effort on the student’s part. Numerous free math apps such as Photomath allow a student to take a picture of the math problem. The app scans the problem and spits out the answers, even for complex algebra problems. That means students can quickly complete the homework without actually understanding the material.

Other apps, such as HWPic , send a picture of the problem to an actual tutor, who offers a step-by-step solution to the problem. While some students may use this to better understand their homework, others just copy down the answers, complete with the steps that justify the answer.

Websites such as Cymayth and Wolfram Alpha solve math problems on the fly—Wolfram can even handle college-level math problems. While the sites and apps state they are designed to help students figure out how to do the math, they are also used by students who would rather have the answers without the effort required to think them through on their own.

Other apps quickly translate foreign languages. Rather than have to decipher what a recording says or translate written words, apps can easily translate the information for the student.

The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages parents to talk to teens about cheating and their expectations for honesty, school, and communication. Many parents may have never had a serious talk with their child about cheating. It may not even come up unless their child gets caught cheating. Some parents may not think it’s necessary to discuss because they assume their child would never cheat. 

However, clearly, the statistics show that many kids do engage in academic discretions. So, don’t assume your child wouldn’t cheat. Often, "good kids" and "honest kids" make bad decisions. Make it clear to your teen that you value hard work and honesty.

Talk to your teen regularly about the dangers of cheating. Make it clear that cheaters tend not to get ahead in life.

Discuss the academic and social consequences of cheating, too. For example, your teen might get a zero or get kicked out of a class for cheating. Even worse, other people may not believe them when they tell the truth if they become known as dishonest or a cheater. It could also go on their transcripts, which could impair their academic future.

It’s important for your teen to understand that cheating—and heavy cell phone use—can take a toll on their mental health , as well. Additionally, studies make clear that poor mental health, particularly relating to self-image, stress levels, and academic engagement, makes kids more likely to indulge in academic dishonestly. So, be sure to consider the whole picture of why your child may be cheating or feel tempted to cheat.

A 2016 study found that cheaters actually cheat themselves out of happiness. Although they may think the advantage they gain by cheating will make them happier, research shows cheating causes people to feel worse.

Establish Clear Expectations and Consequences

Deciphering what constitutes cheating in today's world can be a little tricky. If your teen uses a homework app to get help, is that cheating? What if they use a website that translates Spanish into English? Also, note that different teachers have different expectations and will allow different levels of outside academic support.


So, you may need to take it on a case-by-case basis to determine whether your teen's use of technology enhances or hinders their learning and/or is approved by their teacher. When in doubt, you can always ask the teacher directly if using technology for homework or other projects is acceptable.

To help prevent cheating, take a firm, clear stance so that your child understands your values and expectations. Also, make sure they have any needed supports in place so that they aren't tempted to cheat due to academic frustrations or challenges.

Tell your teen, ideally before an incident of academic dishonesty occurs, that you don’t condone cheating of any kind and you’d prefer a bad grade over dishonesty.

Stay involved in your teen’s education. Know what type of homework your teen is doing and be aware of the various ways your teen may be tempted to use their laptop or smartphone to cheat.

To encourage honesty in your child, help them develop a healthy moral compass by being an honest role model. If you cheat on your taxes or lie about your teen’s age to get into the movies for a cheaper price, you may send them the message that cheating is acceptable.


If you do catch your teen cheating, take action . Just because your teen insists, “Everyone uses an app to get homework done,” don’t blindly believe it or let that give them a free pass. Instead, reiterate your expectations and provide substantive consequences. These may include removing phone privileges for a specified period of time. Sometimes the loss of privileges —such as your teen’s electronics—for 24 hours is enough to send a clear message.

Allow your teen to face consequences at school as well. If they get a zero on a test for cheating, don’t argue with the teacher. Instead, let your teen know that cheating has serious ramifications—and that they will not get away with this behavior.

However, do find out why your teen is cheating. Consider if they're over-scheduled or afraid they can’t keep up with their peers. Are they struggling to understand the material? Do they feel unhealthy pressure to excel? Ask questions to gain an understanding so you can help prevent cheating in the future and ensure they can succeed on their own.

It’s better for your teen to learn lessons about cheating now, rather than later in life. Dishonesty can have serious consequences. Cheating in college could get your teen expelled and cheating at a future job could get them fired or it could even lead to legal action. Cheating on a future partner could lead to the end of the relationship.

A Word From Verywell

Make sure your teen knows that honesty and focusing on learning rather than only on getting "good grades," at all costs, really is the best policy. Talk about honesty often and validate your teen’s feelings when they're frustrated with schoolwork—and the fact that some students who cheat seem to get ahead without getting caught. Assure them that ultimately, people who cheat truly are cheating themselves.

Common Sense Media. It's ridiculously easy for kids to cheat now .

Common Sense Media. 35% of kids admit to using cell phones to cheat .

Isakov M, Tripathy A. Behavioral correlates of cheating: environmental specificity and reward expectation .  PLoS One . 2017;12(10):e0186054. Published 2017 Oct 26. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0186054

Marksteiner T, Nishen AK, Dickhäuser O. Students' perception of teachers' reference norm orientation and cheating in the classroom .  Front Psychol . 2021;12:614199. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2021.614199

Khan ZR, Sivasubramaniam S, Anand P, Hysaj A. ‘ e’-thinking teaching and assessment to uphold academic integrity: lessons learned from emergency distance learning .  International Journal for Educational Integrity . 2021;17(1):17. doi:10.1007/s40979-021-00079-5

Farnese ML, Tramontano C, Fida R, Paciello M. Cheating behaviors in academic context: does academic moral disengagement matter?   Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences . 2011;29:356-365. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2011.11.250

Pew Research Center. How parents and schools regulate teens' mobile phones .

Mohammad Abu Taleb BR, Coughlin C, Romanowski MH, Semmar Y, Hosny KH. Students, mobile devices and classrooms: a comparison of US and Arab undergraduate students in a middle eastern university .  HES . 2017;7(3):181. doi:10.5539/hes.v7n3p181

Gasparyan AY, Nurmashev B, Seksenbayev B, Trukhachev VI, Kostyukova EI, Kitas GD. Plagiarism in the context of education and evolving detection strategies .  J Korean Med Sci . 2017;32(8):1220-1227. doi:10.3346/jkms.2017.32.8.1220

Bretag T. Challenges in addressing plagiarism in education .  PLoS Med . 2013;10(12):e1001574. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001574

American Academy of Pediatrics. Competition and cheating .

Korn L, Davidovitch N. The Profile of academic offenders: features of students who admit to academic dishonesty .  Med Sci Monit . 2016;22:3043-3055. doi:10.12659/msm.898810

Abi-Jaoude E, Naylor KT, Pignatiello A. Smartphones, social media use and youth mental health .  CMAJ . 2020;192(6):E136-E141. doi:10.1503/cmaj.190434

Stets JE, Trettevik R. Happiness and Identities . Soc Sci Res. 2016;58:1-13. doi:10.1016/j.ssresearch.2016.04.011

Lenhart A. Teens, Social Media & Technology Overview 2015 . Pew Research Center.

By Amy Morin, LCSW Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She's also a psychotherapist, an international bestselling author of books on mental strength and host of The Verywell Mind Podcast. She delivered one of the most popular TEDx talks of all time.

Should universities be worried about the increasing capabilities of AI?

Person coding with MacBook Pro

If a piece of writing was 49 per cent written by AI, with the remaining 51 per cent written by a human, is this considered original work? Image:  Unsplash/ Danial Igdery

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Michael mindzak.

cheating homework plagiarism

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Stay up to date:, artificial intelligence.

  • The use of technology in academic writing is already widespread, with teachers and students using AI-based tools to support the work they are doing.
  • However, as AI becomes increasingly advanced, institutions need to properly define what can be defined as AI-assistance and what is plagiarism or cheating, writes an academic.
  • For example, if a piece of writing was 49% written by AI, with the remaining 51% written by a human, is this considered original work?

The dramatic rise of online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic has spotlit concerns about the role of technology in exam surveillance — and also in student cheating .

Some universities have reported more cheating during the pandemic, and such concerns are unfolding in a climate where technologies that allow for the automation of writing continue to improve.

Over the past two years, the ability of artificial intelligence to generate writing has leapt forward significantly , particularly with the development of what’s known as the language generator GPT-3. With this, companies such as Google , Microsoft and NVIDIA can now produce “human-like” text .

AI-generated writing has raised the stakes of how universities and schools will gauge what constitutes academic misconduct, such as plagiarism . As scholars with an interest in academic integrity and the intersections of work, society and educators’ labour, we believe that educators and parents should be, at the very least, paying close attention to these significant developments .

AI & academic writing

The use of technology in academic writing is already widespread. For example, many universities already use text-based plagiarism detectors like Turnitin , while students might use Grammarly , a cloud-based writing assistant. Examples of writing support include automatic text generation, extraction, prediction, mining, form-filling, paraphrasing , translation and transcription.

Advancements in AI technology have led to new tools, products and services being offered to writers to improve content and efficiency . As these improve, soon entire articles or essays might be generated and written entirely by artificial intelligence . In schools, the implications of such developments will undoubtedly shape the future of learning, writing and teaching.

Misconduct concerns already widespread

Research has revealed that concerns over academic misconduct are already widespread across institutions higher education in Canada and internationally.

In Canada, there is little data regarding the rates of misconduct. Research published in 2006 based on data from mostly undergraduate students at 11 higher education institutions found 53 per cent reported having engaged in one or more instances of serious cheating on written work, which was defined as copying material without footnoting, copying material almost word for word, submitting work done by someone else, fabricating or falsifying a bibliography, submitting a paper they either bought or got from someone else for free.

Academic misconduct is in all likelihood under-reported across Canadian higher education institutions .

There are different types of violations of academic integrity, including plagiarism , contract cheating (where students hire other people to write their papers) and exam cheating, among others .

Unfortunately, with technology, students can use their ingenuity and entrepreneurialism to cheat. These concerns are also applicable to faculty members, academics and writers in other fields, bringing new concerns surrounding academic integrity and AI such as:

  • If a piece of writing was 49 per cent written by AI, with the remaining 51 per cent written by a human, is this considered original work?
  • What if an essay was 100 per cent written by AI, but a student did some of the coding themselves?
  • What qualifies as “AI assistance” as opposed to “academic cheating”?
  • Do the same rules apply to students as they would to academics and researchers?

We are asking these questions in our own research , and we know that in the face of all this, educators will be required to consider how writing can be effectively assessed or evaluated as these technologies improve.

a chart showing the growth forecasts of AI

Augmenting or diminishing integrity?

At the moment, little guidance, policy or oversight is available regarding technology, AI and academic integrity for teachers and educational leaders.

Over the past year, COVID-19 has pushed more students towards online learning — a sphere where teachers may become less familiar with their own students and thus, potentially, their writing.

While it remains impossible to predict the future of these technologies and their implications in education, we can attempt to discern some of the larger trends and trajectories that will impact teaching, learning and research.

Have you read?

Professor robot – why ai could soon be teaching in university classrooms, how digital technology is changing the university lecture, this is how university students can emerge from the pandemic stronger, technology & automation in education.

A key concern moving forward is the apparent movement towards the increased automation of education where educational technology companies offer commodities such as writing tools as proposed solutions for the various “problems” within education.

An example of this is automated assessment of student work, such as automated grading of student writing . Numerous commercial products already exist for automated grading, though the ethics of these technologies are yet to be fully explored by scholars and educators.

Overall, the traditional landscape surrounding academic integrity and authorship is being rapidly reshaped by technological developments. Such technological developments also spark concerns about a shift of professional control away from educators and ever-increasing new expectations of digital literacy in precarious working environments .

These complexities, concerns and questions will require further thought and discussion. Educational stakeholders at all levels will be required to respond and rethink definitions as well as values surrounding plagiarism, originality, academic ethics and academic labour in the very near future.

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Plagiarism, Cheating, and Misuse of Academic Records

Procedural information regarding cases of plagiarism, cheating, and falsification and misuse of academic records is available on the University Ombud's website .

Falsification and Misuse of Academic Records

Plagiarism : Per University policy, students shall not plagiarize, cheat, or falsify or misuse academic records. Students are expected to adhere to University policy on cheating and plagiarism in all courses. The minimum penalty for a first offense is a zero on the assignment on which the offense occurred. If the offense is considered severe or the student has other academic offenses on their record, more serious penalties, up to suspension from the University may be imposed.

Plagiarism and cheating are serious breaches of academic conduct. Each student is advised to become familiar with the various forms of academic dishonesty as explained in the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities . Complete information can be found on the Academic Ombud website . A plea of ignorance is not acceptable as a defense against the charge of academic dishonesty. It is important that you review this information as all ideas borrowed from others need to be properly credited.

Senate Rule 6.3.1 (see current Senate Rules ) states that all academic work, written or otherwise, submitted by students to their instructors or other academic supervisors, is expected to be the result of their own thought, research, or self-expression. In cases where students feel unsure about a question of plagiarism involving their work, they are obliged to consult their instructors on the matter before submission.

When students submit work purporting to be their own, but which in any way borrows ideas, organization, wording, or content from another source without appropriate acknowledgment of the fact, the students are guilty of plagiarism.

Plagiarism includes reproducing someone else's work (including, but not limited to a published article, a book, a website, computer code, or a paper from a friend) without clear attribution. Plagiarism also includes the practice of employing or allowing another person to alter or revise the work which a student submits as his/her own, whoever that other person may be, except under specific circumstances (e.g. Writing Center review, peer review) allowed by the Instructor of Record or that person’s designee. Plagiarism may also include double submission, self-plagiarism, or unauthorized resubmission of one’s own work, as defined by the instructor.

Students may discuss assignments among themselves or with an instructor or tutor, except where prohibited by the Instructor of Record (e.g. individual take-home exams). However, the actual work must be done by the student, and the student alone, unless collaboration is allowed by the Instructor of Record (e.g. group projects).

When a student's assignment involves research in outside sources or information, the student must carefully acknowledge exactly what, where and how he/she has employed them. If the words of someone else are used, the student must put quotation marks around the passage in question and add an appropriate indication of its origin. Making simple changes while leaving the organization, content and phraseology intact is plagiaristic. However, nothing in these Rules shall apply to those ideas which are so generally and freely circulated as to be a part of the public domain.

Please note: Any assignment you turn in may be submitted to an electronic database to check for plagiarism.

Cheating : Cheating is defined by its general usage. It includes, but is not limited to, the wrongfully giving, taking, or presenting any information or material by a student with the intent of aiding himself/herself or another on any academic work which is considered in any way in the determination of the final grade. The fact that a student could not have benefited from an action is not by itself proof that the action does not constitute cheating. Any question of definition shall be referred to the University Appeals Board.

Falsification and Misuse of Academic Records : Maintaining the integrity, accuracy, and appropriate privacy of student academic records is an essential administrative function of the University and a basic protection of all students. Accordingly, the actual or attempted falsification, theft, misrepresentation or other alteration or misuse of any official academic record of the University, specifically including knowingly having unauthorized access to such records or the unauthorized disclosure of information contained in such records, is a serious academic offense. As used in this context, "academic record" includes all paper and electronic versions of the partial or complete permanent academic record, all official and unofficial academic transcripts, application documents and admission credentials, and all academic record transaction documents. The minimum sanction for falsification, including the omission of information, or attempted falsification or other misuse of academic records as described in this section is suspension for one semester.

University Senate

  • Plagiarism: What Counts as Cheating?

Cheating has become that much more ubiquitous with the explosive popularity of the internet across the past couple decades.  Countless students have been caught plagiarizing papers. However, there is a question as to what, exactly, qualifies as cheating.  Plagiarizing has the potential to result in a lengthy suspension or even permanent expulsion. Every single student should clearly understand what constitutes cheating.

Because of this, c ountless students have been caught plagiarizing papers. However, there is a question as to what, exactly, qualifies as cheating .  Plagiarizing has the potential to result in a lengthy suspension or even permanent expulsion. Every single student should clearly understand what constitutes cheating, and know that DC Student Defense is here to help if they are accused of cheating or plagiarizing.

Defining Plagiarism 

Plagiarism is the use of another person’s ideas or words in one’s work while attempting to pass them off as original work.  In fact, the definition of plagiarism even extends to self-plagiarism . If you re-use your marked work in an unauthorized manner, it is possible you will be accused of self-plagiarism.  However, the most common occurrence of plagiarism is related to the use of texts, words and ideas published by others on the web, in books and other materials, without proper citation .  Even using another student’s work or translating a text from another source without citing that source appropriately constitutes plagiarism. 

Understand Your Academic Institution’s Plagiarism Rules 

The rules pertaining to the type of content that can and cannot be used for guidance/inspiration differ by each unique academic institution as well as the course and course module in question.  Do not assume the rules from your middle school or high school education will prove applicable to your post-secondary institution. Pinpoint the exact rules that apply to the assignment or course you are currently working on.  Information pertaining to such rules should be made readily available through the student handbook, the individual class professor or the teaching assistant.  Read through the entirety of these rules before commencing work on any particular project. The bottom line is it is your responsibility as a student to understand your academic institution’s nuanced plagiarism rules .

How to Avoid Plagiarism 

Aside from learning about your academic institution’s idiosyncratic plagiarism rules, you should also get into the habit of stating sources used.  When in doubt, list more sources than you assume are necessary. Always put quotation marks around portions of text taken from a source. Even if you are quoting an essay or another work you created, you should still use quotation marks and cite your own work as your source.

You can avoid accusations of plagiarism by refusing to use another student’s work or anyone else’s work as a model for your own work.  In fact, it is even risky to use another’s work as inspiration when completing your own essays, summaries and other work. Something as subtle as simply re-wording parts of text used from the original when creating your own work dramatically hikes the chances of a plagiarism accusation. 

Plagiarism Can Be Stolen Words or Ideas

United States law states it is possible for ideas and words to be stolen.  The expression of an original idea constitutes intellectual property and therefore, is protected by copyright laws.  This means one’s original ideas are similar to original inventions. Nearly every form of expression falls under the umbrella of copyright protection.  However, the form of expression in question must be recorded in some manner, be it in the form of a book, website, computer file, etc.

Specific Examples of Plagiarism

If you turn in another person’s work and claim it is your own, you have plagiarized.  Furthermore, copying ideas or words from another source without citing those sources constitutes plagiarism.  The failure to put quotes in quotation marks also constitutes plagiarism. Even altering the order of words constitutes plagiarism if the source’s sentence structure is copied without providing the proper credit.  In fact, it is possible to be found guilty of plagiarism when providing false information about the source of a string of words or source of a quotation used in one’s work.  

Accused of Plagiarism?  You Deserve a Strategic Legal Defense

If you are accused of plagiarism, do not assume you will be suspended or expelled. 

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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  1. How To Cheat Homework

    cheating homework plagiarism

  2. How to Cheat on Homework Using 5 Ways { 2nd is my Favorite }

    cheating homework plagiarism

  3. How to Cheat on Homework: Traditional and Technological Approaches

    cheating homework plagiarism

  4. Why Students Cheat on Homework and How to Prevent It

    cheating homework plagiarism

  5. 6 Ways to Prevent Cheating on Homework

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  6. PPT

    cheating homework plagiarism


  1. Busted! I Got Caught Plagiarizing My Homework

  2. Real Stories of Plagiarism

  3. What is Plagiarism and Why is it Bad?

  4. How do students respond when they are caught cheating?

  5. Moss Plagiarism Checker with Windows GUI

  6. How To Get Around ChatGPT Detectors


  1. Facts and Statistics

    McCabe also conducted surveys of over 70,000 high school students at over 24 high schools in the United States. This work demonstrated that 64 percent of students admitted to cheating on a test, 58 percent admitted to plagiarism and 95 percent said they participated in some form of cheating, whether it was on a test, plagiarism or copying homework.

  2. PDF #604 Ethics: Cheating and Plagiarism

    Define cheating and identify the various reasons why students cheat. Examine the effect cheating has on a student's education—both for the student who cheats and the student who doesn't cheat but knows others that do. 2. Clarifying school policy. Review the school policy on plagiarism and check to see if it is applicable and clear.

  3. Academic Honesty: Cheating & Plagiarism

    Plagiarism. One of the most common forms of cheating is plagiarism, using another's words or ideas without proper citation. When students plagiarize, they usually do so in one of the following six ways: Using another writer's words without proper citation. If you use another writer's words, you must place quotation marks around the quoted ...

  4. Why Students Cheat—and What to Do About It

    But students also rationalize cheating on assignments they see as having value. High-achieving students who feel pressured to attain perfection (and Ivy League acceptances) may turn to cheating as a way to find an edge on the competition or to keep a single bad test score from sabotaging months of hard work. At Stuyvesant, for example, students ...

  5. Academic Misconduct

    Academic Misconduct. This may involve questions of academic integrity which include honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility. Some examples of academic misconduct include, plagiarism, cheating, copying homework, and stealing an exam or course materials. The University of Wisconsin-Madison takes academic misconduct allegations very ...

  6. Types of Academic Dishonesty

    Plagiarism is the most common type of academic dishonesty, ... Cheating is taking or giving any information or material which will be used to determine academic credit. Examples of cheating include: Copying from another student's test or homework. Allowing another student to copy from your test or homework. Using materials such as textbooks ...

  7. What Are the Consequences of Cheating and Plagiarism at School?

    In general, those consequences may include: being sent to the principal or detention (in K-12 schools) a written reprimand on your record (in college) a failing grade or zero on the assignment or test. a failing grade in the entire course. loss of privileges like participation in school sports, and. suspension.

  8. What To Do If You're Accused of Plagiarism/Cheating

    Lying about plagiarism is a sure-fire way for people to lose any feelings of leniency towards you. You'll just tick them off. 3. Talk to Your Professor. Your professor is the first point of contact when being accused of plagiarism. Ask them to explain what they're accusing you of and why they believe you plagiarized.

  9. Academic Dishonesty: 5 Methods of Identifying Cheating and Plagiarism

    5. Manage Exam Administration and Proctoring. Most attention is focused on deterring cheating is during exams. A few methods that can specifically help discourage academic dishonesty during these high-stake assessments include: Assigned Seats: A good first step is to assign seats for each exam.

  10. Academic dishonesty when doing homework: How digital ...

    Academic dishonesty is a widespread and perpetual issue for teachers made even more easier to perpetrate with the rise of digital technologies (Blau & Eshet-Alkalai, 2017; Ma et al., 2008).Definitions vary but overall an academically dishonest practices correspond to learners engaging in unauthorized practice such as cheating and plagiarism.

  11. Educators Battle Plagiarism As 89% Of Students Admit To Using ...

    A large majority of students are already using ChatGPT for homework assignments, creating challenges around plagiarism, cheating, and learning. According to Wharton MBA Professor Christian ...

  12. Academic Integrity: Grappling with Cheating and Plagiarism

    Anything under a minute for a sufficiently difficult problem was considered cheating. "[Pritchard] and his research team found about 50 percent more cheating than students reported in anonymous surveys over a period of four semesters. In the first year he did his hunting, about 11 percent of homework problems appeared to be copied."

  13. PDF Academic dishonesty when doing homework: How digital ...

    out editing it, while cheating is more about sharing practices (Krou et al., 2021). As a result, most students do report cheating in an exam or for homework (Ma et al., 2008). To note, other research follow a dierent distinction for those prac-tices and consider that plagiarism is a specic - and common - type of cheating (Waltzer & Dahl, 2022).

  14. Academic Ethics: Avoid Plagiarism and Cheating

    Academic Ethics: How to Avoid Plagiarism and Cheating. Academic dishonesty doesn't just hurt you now—it can affect you long into the future. Let's explore the ethics of academics and how to avoid cheating. ... Students who use AI for their homework assignments mainly use it to explain information—much like how they would ask their teacher ...

  15. Academic dishonesty and its relations to peer cheating and culture: A

    It is defined as intentionally carrying out forbidden behaviors to gain an unfair advantage in an academic context (Zhao et al., 2021), and it includes behaviors such as cheating on examinations, copying others' homework or assignments, and plagiarism (Anderman & Murdock, 2011; Cizek, 1999; Rettinger, 2017; Waltzer & Dahl, 2020; Waltzer et al ...

  16. Why Students Cheat on Homework and How to Prevent It

    If you find students cheat on homework, they probably lack the vision for how the work is beneficial. It's important to consider the meaningfulness and valuable of the assignment from students' perspectives. They need to see how it is relevant to them. In my class, I've learned to assign work that cannot be copied.

  17. Common Reasons Students Cheat

    Another common reason students engage in dishonest behavior has to do with overload: too many homework assignments, work issues, relationship problems, COVID-19. ... the paper, do well on the test). Fear of failure prompts students to get unauthorized help, but the repercussions of cheating far outweigh the repercussions of failing. First, when ...

  18. Plagiarism and Cheating

    It's cheating because you plan to turn in homework someone else did and pretend you did it. Brian: But I studied and I made some changes. Lori: Get real, Brian. You know that's cheating. ... Like cheating, plagiarism is also implying that another person's work is your own. Plagiarism is a form of cheating. You commit plagiarism if you:

  19. How Teens Use Technology to Cheat in School

    Copying and Pasting. Social Media. When you were in school, teens who were cheating were likely looking at a neighbor's paper or copying a friend's homework. The most high-tech attempts to cheat may have involved a student who wrote the answers to a test on the cover of their notebook.

  20. Is it cheating if students use AI to help with coursework?

    The use of technology in academic writing is already widespread, with teachers and students using AI-based tools to support the work they are doing. However, as AI becomes increasingly advanced, institutions need to properly define what can be defined as AI-assistance and what is plagiarism or cheating, writes an academic.

  21. The Best AI Detection Tools to Catch Cheating and Plagiarism

    Detects ChatGPT, GPT-4, and Bard. ZeroGPT's AI detector supports all languages and highlights each sentence written by AI with a percentage of how much AI is in the text. The tool generates a PDF report for each submission for plagiarism-free proof. The tool also allows multiple file uploads at once.

  22. Plagiarism, Cheating, and Misuse of Academic Records

    Plagiarism: Per University policy, students shall not plagiarize, cheat, or falsify or misuse academic records. Students are expected to adhere to University policy on cheating and plagiarism in all courses. The minimum penalty for a first offense is a zero on the assignment on which the offense occurred. If the offense is considered severe or ...

  23. Plagiarism: What Counts as Cheating?

    Plagiarism is the use of another person's ideas or words in one's work while attempting to pass them off as original work. In fact, the definition of plagiarism even extends to self-plagiarism ...

  24. Is using ChatGPT cheating, plagiarism, both, neither, or forward

    Plagiarism, defined as the use of another person's ideas, words, or concepts without proper attribution, is strictly forbidden. This includes the paraphrasing of words or concepts of another person without proper citation. Given this currently typical university policy, I fully believe that our contemplated student could make a good argument ...

  25. How teachers started using ChatGPT to grade assignments

    A new tool called Writable, which uses ChatGPT to help grade student writing assignments, is being offered widely to teachers in grades 3-12.. Why it matters: Teachers have quietly used ChatGPT to grade papers since it first came out — but now schools are sanctioning and encouraging its use. Driving the news: Writable, which is billed as a time-saving tool for teachers, was purchased last ...