Thursday, September 5, 2013

The growing cheating epidemic at Harvard

After going public a year ago with their investigation into Harvard’s largest cheating scandal in recent memory, administrators went to great lengths to promote a culture of academic integrity in the Harvard community.

But the results of a Crimson survey of the Class of 2017 conducted last month suggest that some of the newest members of that community are already guilty of academic dishonesty.

Ten percent of respondents admitted to having cheated on an exam, and 17 percent said they had cheated on a paper or a take-home assignment. An even greater percentage—42 percent—admitted to cheating on a homework assignment or problem set.

Recruited athletes were even more likely to admit to cheating—20 percent admitted to cheating on an exam, compared to 9 percent of students who were not recruited to play a varsity sport at Harvard. Twenty-six percent of recruited athletes said they had cheated on a paper or take-home assignment, compared to 16 percent of non-recruits.

Across the board, the incoming freshman class reported higher rates of cheating than did Harvard’s Class of 2013 in a Crimson senior survey conducted last spring. In that survey, 7 percent of graduating seniors said they had cheated on an exam, and 7 percent said they had cheated on a paper or take-home test. Thirty-two percent of graduating seniors said they cheated on a problem set or homework assignment during their undergraduate careers.

The Crimson’s survey of the Class of 2017 generated responses from more 1,300 incoming freshmen—nearly 80 percent of the class.
--Madeline Conway and Cordelia Mendez, Crimson, on using any means necessary