Published in Proceedings of the 2002 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition: Montreal, Quebec, Canada, June 16, 2002. 16 pages. Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education. Publisher website: http://www.asee.org.
NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Trevor Harding was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly.
Student academic dishonesty, commonly referred to as cheating, has become a serious problem at institutions of higher education. This is particularly true of engineering students who, according to previous research, are among the most likely to cheat in college. To investigate this concern, the authors have undertaken a research project on the Perceptions and Attitudes toward Cheating among Engineering Students (P.A.C.E.S.). The premise of this research is that a combination of pressures, rather than malicious motivations, account for most student cheating. The P.A.C.E.S study consists of a seven page, self-reported survey that investigates: (1) student definitions of academic dishonesty; (2) the magnitude of academic dishonesty among engineering undergraduates; (3) the correlations of academic dishonesty with theories of psychological, demographic and situational factors; and (4) student opinions on different approaches used to discourage academic dishonesty. The survey was administered to approximately 350 engineering and pre engineering undergraduates at 5 institutions, ranging from community colleges to a large research university. This paper will discuss some of the current results from the study as well as future goals, which include the refinement and further distribution of the survey instrument and the development of practical pedagogical methods to help students avoid the pressure of cheating and a better understanding of what students and faculty perceive as cheating.
Materials Science and Engineering