Academic Dishonesty in Athletes and Non-athletes, Male and Female
Sponsored by Missouri Western State University Sponsored by a grant from the National Science Foundation DUE-97-51113
Home |
The proper APA Style reference for this manuscript is:
COPELAND, A.G. (1998). Academic Dishonesty in Athletes and Non-athletes, Male and Female. National Undergraduate Research Clearinghouse, 1. Available online at Retrieved April 25, 2017 .

Academic Dishonesty in Athletes and Non-athletes, Male and Female

Sponsored by: Brian Cronk (
Cheating has been a problem within our learning institutions since they were implemented. There can be no dispute that cheating occurs everyday within our high school, and college classrooms. It is thought that male athlete`s, and non-athletes are more likely to cheat on exams than are the females. In this study, cheating will be investigated among male and female, athletes, and non-athletes. Non athletes will be taken from a Psychology 101 class, while the athletes will be from all athletic teams at Missouri Western State College. These participants will be asked to fill out a survey that consists of questions dealing with the frequency of cheating that they have been involved with. I am hoping to find that whether or not female or male athletes are more apt to cheat than non-athletic students. I hope the results show that there is an even number of females cheating, athlete or non-athletic, compared to the male athletes, and non-athletes.

Cheating has been prominent among high schools, and college classrooms across the world since the time they were developed. There can be no argument that cheating takes place everyday on tests, homework, and papers. Who`s responsibility is it to make sure that students are not cheating? Should we rely on the teachers to find out who is cheating or not? It is found that most educational units in a college do not pay adequate attention to cheating and moreover do not have techniques to deal with cheating if it is detected. In general, the problem of cheating is relatively ignored (Singhal, 1982). What kind of students do you find cheating. Is it the male or female students, or maybe it is the athletes, or non-athletes. Cheating among student-athletes seems to be a major concern of colleges across the United States. Why is it that student-athletes are labeled as cheaters more often than non-athletic students? People tend to generalize student-athletes as people who are in school only for the sport at which they are participating in. Another scenario is that males are often pointed out as cheaters more often than females. Women are usually labeled more unlikely to cheat than males. There are a number of studies like the one done by Haines et al; (1986) and Houston(1983) that show no difference in cheating among males and females, while other studies such as one done by Jacobson, Berger, and Millham(1970) that show females cheating more often than males. Why is it that you find students cheating? There are many reasons why students cheat. As stated in the article, "Why College Students Cheat," by Barnett and Dalton(1981), there are at least six factors that influence cheating behaviors. One of the more common factors of cheating is due to the stress that the students feel that they are dealing with. A study done by Keller(1978) revealed that pressure from parents, the school, and relatives for getting good grades was the foremost reason for students to cheat. In previous studies, it shows that students cannot keep up with the homework assigned, like the teachers think they can. This could be a major factor in why students are going to cheat. If they cannot get the work done adequately, they might feel the need to cheat. This will be done, so the student keeps a passing grade in the course. Students often feel test anxiety. They feel anxious about the exam, and feel they forgot everything, so they are going to cheat. It was reported that subjects with high levels of test anxiety cheated more than did those with low levels. This shows that cheating can occur, because of the stress the student`s are being put under. The less stress a student feels, it is more likely the less they are going to cheat, because they are going to be comfortable with what they are doing. The environment can play a role in students cheating, or not cheating. There are certain influences in the environment that could make a student want to cheat. Such factors could include large classes with only one supervisor. The same test can be given to all students, so this opens the way for cheating to take place. If all the students are thinking that everyone is cheating, this makes them think, that they can cheat with them. If a test is given to a class and it`s the same for all students, this allows for cheating to be accessible. If a student knows the person sitting next to them has the same test that they have, this allows them to be able to cheat off their paper. When a student is thinking that everyone around them is cheating, it puts them at ease on cheating. One of the most frequent times you will find a student cheating is when the instructor leaves the room. When the instructor is absent from the room, the students feel they are not going to be caught cheating. This is the instructors mishap. The teachers should know that if they are absent from the classroom, this is going to allow the students to be able to copy someone else`s work. A study done by Crowne and Marlow (1964) found college students with a high need for approval (as measured by a social desirability scale) cheated more often. Students needing approval are going to cheat, because they want to be accepted by their peers. These students do not want to feel as if they are of low intelligence, or slow at class work. Those students with high motivation are going to cheat more often then low motivated students. Type A behavior, which involves high striving for achievement, has been found to correlate positively with both observed and reported cheating as stated in the article,"Individual Differences in Student Cheating," by Newstead, Franklyn Stokes, and Armstead. Is it the cheating that makes these highly motivated students cheat more often? Is being accepted by others, enough pressure, and of importance to make a student cheat? Students are as smart as they will let themselves be. Intelligence is something that can be learned, but by cheating, intelligence will never increase. These are factors that can influence why a student may cheat to achieve higher scores. These are situations that a student may be put in that can lead to a student cheating. It is these different situations that a student is put in, and can affect their thought on looking off someone else`s paper. The competition for good grades among students can lead them to cheat. A student may think their not cheating, but they actually are. Differences in sex play an important role in cheating. Everyone tends to put out toward the males when it comes to the topic of cheating. The assumption is not a very accurate one to make. Data has suggested that there is inconsistent evidence to support that males cheat more than females. A study done by Jacobson, Berger, and Millham(1970), found female students cheated more than male college students on a modified WAIS symbol test. This assumption can be that females are more unlikely to admit to cheating than males. They may feel that people would look at them differently, or they may be more embarrassed then males would be. The reason for females not cheating as much as males can also be linked to females wanting to learn and be satisfied by doing well on test by themselves. Who`s responsibility is it to keep students from cheating? Should other students take on the duty of telling teachers that someone is cheating, or should it be the faculty` s responsibility? When asked the question, "Should an instructor care whether or not students cheat on an exam," was asked, 90% answered yes. Since it is the teacher giving the exam, shouldn`t they be the one to look for cheating and take appropriate actions? Singhal(1982) suggested "…that most educational units in a college do not pay adequate attention to cheating and moreover do not have techniques to deal with cheating if it is detected"(p.775). In the article, "Faculty Reactions to Academic Dishonesty," by Jendrek(1989), several different ways to prevent cheating was discussed. The first objective is to know and understand that the faculty members have the opportunity to structure situations to either increase or decrease the likelihood of academic dishonesty. Faculty members have the authority to give what type of exam they want to be giving to the students. When a teacher uses multiple choice tests, it is more likely that students are going to cheat. If an all essay test is given, the opportunity to cheat is decreased dramatically. The teacher can also have different forms of test to give, or arrange them in an order where cheating is held to a minimum. Another reason discussed by Jendrek was faculty members` attitudes and responses to academic dishonesty may create a climate that either fosters or inhibits academic dishonesty. If faculty member do nothing to those who cheat, they will feel that it is acceptable to cheat. This will also open the door for other students to start cheating. Faculty needs to let the students know what can happen if they get caught cheating. They need to enforce the rules, and follow through with whatever is necessary. By ensuring strict rules, this will deteriorate the amount of cheating done in the classroom. The penalties are there for a reason, and they need to be used accordingly. Most instructors are afraid of lengthy litigation` s. The instructors have the right to give the students who are caught cheating a 0 for that exam. In previous studies, it shows that more male teachers are more likely to say they witnessed cheating, but males are supposed to be the one`s doing all the cheating. Through this research, I am going to investigate whether or not female or male athletes at Missouri Western State College are more apt to cheat than regular non-athletic students. I hope to find that there is an even number of females cheating, along with non-athletes cheating , compared to the males and student athletes.


I collected data from the non-athletes, male and female from Dr. James Huntermark`s Psychology 101 Class. To collect data from the athletic participants, I used the men`s and women`s sports teams at Missouri Western State College. These participants were volunteers, and will range from freshman to senior status. I used approximately 80subjects who were at minimal risk.

The material used for this experiment was a cheating survey made by Stephen F. Davis of Emporia State University. The survey consisted of questions relating to cheating, and was completed in the classroom setting, or library by either a pen or pencil. The survey consisted of four questions in the form of a Likert Scale(see appendix).

In this study, there was one survey given to each participant in the study. These surveys were given to the subjects in the classroom, or in the Missouri Western State College Library during a study session. The students were asked to fill these surveys out honestly, with confidentiality being kept on all participants. The students were informed of what it is they are filling out, and any questions afterward, I was willing to answer. The students were told that they would have the opportunity to see the final results of the study when it is presented at Independent Research Day, on December 1, 1998.

A 2X2 between subjects factorial ANOVA was calculated to find if gender and athletic status had any effect on the amount of cheating done. A significant main effect for college athletes cheating more than non-athletes was found(F(1,73)=.004,p<.05). In college, athletes were more likely to cheat(M=.268, sd=.243). The main effect for males and females was not significant(F(1,73)=.121, p=.729). This shows that there was no difference in females and males cheating in college. The gender and athletic status interaction involved with cheating was not significant(F(1,73)=.697, p=.406). The test done here showed that there was no difference in cheating between males and females, athlete or not, compared to the non-athletic participating students. A paired samples t test was also calculated in this experiment comparing overall college cheating and high school cheating. A significant difference was found(t(78)=7.751, p<.05). College students averaged .8228(sd=1.4567). In high school students averaged 2.2152(sd=2.0486). This test showed that in high school, the students cheated more than they do in college.

I conducted a study that looked at cheating in college. I was hoping to find that females, and non-athletes cheat the same amount, or just as much as the male athletes, and non-athletes. I predicted that I would find that an even number of females cheating, along with non-athletes cheating compared to the male and female student athletes. I thought there would be an even number of females cheating, taking the stereotype off of the male athletes, and non-athletes. My results indicated that there is no significant difference in cheating among males and females cheating. The only significant value was college athletes cheat more than non-athletes in college. One of the main factors that contributed to my non significant results was the honesty factor. I feel that everyone who filled out a survey, might not have filled it out honestly. I think that everyone was scared or intimidated of being caught filling it out honestly. They knew this study was going to be kept confidential, because none of the subjects names were used. This is probably the main reason why the significant results did not show up. You could generalize that college athletes cheat more than anyone else, but you can not say female or males cheat more than each other. I really thought that it would come out that male athletes cheated more than any body, but it did not come out that way. This might have been due to the football coach being in the library while they was administered this survey. They might have been discouraged about answering honestly, do to the fact that their coach was in the same building, and the fear of being caught was on their minds. As you can tell by the graph, "Cheating in College," all athletes cheated more frequently than did the non-athletes(see graph). The graph, "Cheating in High School," shows that male and female athletes still cheat more than the other non-athletes, both male and female(see graph).. This study should be externally valid. If I were to do this project again, I would try to gather all of the athletes and non-athletes on my own. I would not use a class time to do this, or the athletes study hall time. I would try to gather them up by myself to make it easier for the participants to fill it out correctly. I think if the coaches and teacher would not have been in the classroom or library, the results would be much different.

Barnett, D.C., & Dalton, S.C.(1981). Why College Students Cheat. Journal of College Student Personnel, 22,545-551. Barnett, D.C., & Dalton, J.C.(1981). Why College Students Cheat. Journal of College Student Personnel,11, 545-550. Davis, S.F., Grover, C.A., Becker, A.H., & McGregor, L.N.(1992). Academic Dishonesty: Prevelance, Determinents, Techniques, and Punishments. Teaching of Psychology, 19, 16-20 Davis, S.F., & Ludvigson, H.W.(1995). Faculty Forum. Teaching of Psychology, 22, 119-121. Jacobson, L.I., Berger, S.E., & Millham, J.(1970). Individual differences in cheating when confronting failure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 15, 48-56. Jendrek, M.P.(1989). Faculty Reactions to Academic Dishonesty. Journal of College Student Development, 30, 401-406. Newstead, S.E., Franklin-Stokes, A., & Armstead, P.(1996). Individual Differences in Student Cheating. Journal of Educational Psychology, 88, 229-241. Singhal, A.C.(1982). Factors in Student` Dishonesty. Psychological Reports, 51, 775-780.

Figure 1

Figure 2

Submitted 11/30/98 3:59:10 PM
Last Edited 12/3/98 12:15:02 PM
Converted to New Site 03/09/2009

Rated by 5 users. Average Rating:
Users who logon can rate manuscripts and write reviews.

© 2017 National Undergraduate Research Clearinghouse. All rights reserved. The National Undergraduate Research Clearinghouse is not responsible for the content posted on this site. If you discover material that violates copyright law, please notify the administrator. This site receives money through the Google AdSense program when users are directed to useful commercial sites. We do not encourage or condone clicking on the displayed ads unless you have a legitimate interest in the advertisement.