Year of Graduation
Cheating Attitudes among Engineering Students: What is the Role of Faculty Behavior?
Comparative Social Research
The purpose of this study is to explore how educational environment at class and university level contributes to engineering students’ attitudes towards cheating. The study exploits the data on two representative samples of first- and third-year students of 34 Russian universities and the data on their instructors. The research reveals that both faculty and students tend to tolerate cheating on exams. Comparison of first- and third-year students suggests that students are becoming more tolerant during their studies at university. Regression modelling was used to assess the impact of faculty strict response to cheating, manifested in the preference for severe penalties, on student intolerance of cheating. The results show that this effect is sufficiently high and remains significant when controlling for student individual characteristics and the characteristics of the instructors. The study, therefore, provides convincing empirical evidence that in an environment where faculty impose strict punishments for cheating, students become less tolerant of cheating. Thus, it is necessary to encourage instructors to take student cheating more seriously and to punish it more severely. Moreover, the findings indicate that the university level educational environment does not have any influence on student attitudes towards cheating. This implies that at the moment, educational policies in regard to academic dishonesty in Russian universities are either absent or inefficient. Universities need to recognise the magnitude and the negative consequences of student cheating and encourage faculty to be strict at the institutional level.