Cheating: A Gray Area

20100820 grayareaA new study from the University of Nebraska—Lincoln examines the prevalence and perceptions of cheating among high school students.

Key findings of the study show:

  • 89 percent said glancing at someone else's answers during a test was cheating, but 87 percent said they had done that at least once.
  • 62 percent said doing individual take-home tests with a partner was cheating, but 51 percent said they'd done so.
  • 23 percent said doing individual homework with a partner was dishonest, but 91 percent had done so.

"Students generally understand what constitutes cheating, but they do it anyway," said Kenneth Kiewra, professor of educational psychology at UNL and one of the authors of the study. "They cheat on tests, homework assignments and when writing reports. In some cases, though, students simply don't grasp that some dishonest acts are cheating."

The results suggest that out-of-class misdeeds are viewed less harshly than in-class cheating, Kiewra said—a dynamic that is likely caused by teacher monitoring in class, and, therefore, a greater risk of getting caught. Read the press release here.


The presence of Turnitin OriginalityCheck is a frontline deterrent from cheating for many students. It reinforces the instructor's and institution's position on academic integrity, and at the very least, makes them try a little harder.

Kiewra, Kenneth. (May 11, 2010). Most High Schoolers Cheat -- But Don't Always See It As Cheating. Retrieved May 12, 2010, from