Harvard Cheating Prevalence Revealed Through Online Survey

At Harvard, cheating is already a touchy subject, given last year’s scandal involving about 125 students. But it appears that, if the Ivy League school’s incoming freshmen are telling the truth, more scandals could be on their way.

Harvard’s school paper, The Crimson, recently did a survey of their Class of 2017 and found something disturbing. More than 40 percent of the class admitted to cheating on a school assignment in the past. Seventeen percent admitted to cheating on a test

The paper noted that recruited athletes were more likely to admit to cheating. Among them, 20 percent admitted to cheating on a test, compared to nine percent for those not recruited for a varsity sport.

The incoming freshman class reported a higher rate of cheating than Harvard’s Class of 2013. In a survey from last spring, seven percent of graduating seniors copped to cheating on a test. Seven percent also said they cheated on a school assignment as an undergraduate.

The Los Angeles Times notes that a Harvard spokesman reached out to them about the cheating story. Jeff Neal stated in an email that the school is addressing its cheating problems.

Neal added that cheating is a national problem. However, “the numbers reported from the student newspaper’s informal survey align with the decision Harvard College made last year to take action.”

Harvard’s policy on academic dishonesty specifically says that “all work submitted for credit is expected to be the student’s own work.” That means no copying from friends, trying to find the answers for tests ahead of time or purchasing term papers on the internet (or from your friendly neighborhood English major).

The Ivy League school also has grave consequences for cheating. The policy warns students: “Plagiarism or falsification of research results will ordinarily result in a requirement to withdraw or expulsion.” Such was the case for more than half of those involved in last year’s scandal.

Despite the dire consequences for not following the rules, it is likely that cheating will remain an issue at Harvard and other schools around the nation.

[Image via Jannis Tobias Werner / Shutterstock.com]

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