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College Freshmen Attitudes Toward Cheating

Centra, John A.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Cheating, College Students, Institutional Characteristics, Socioeconomic Background, Student Attitudes, Student Characteristics, Testing Problems


The purpose of this study was to study characteristic of students with lenient attitudes toward cheating and to identify the types of colleges that tend to enroll these students. The student sample consisted of 1500 entering freshmen at 37 colleges, while the analysis by type of institution was conducted with 119 colleges and universities. Students with lenient attitudes toward academic cheating shared similar attitudes about cheating in government and industry. Furthermore, these students, compared to other students, tend to be less academically motivated, have fewer artistic-literary interests, and come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Institutions that enrolled students with strong attitudes against cheating, and thus provided less of a climate for cheating, were generally more selective, all-female, and small in size. These same types of institutions, according to previous research, also have lower cheating rates.

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