What a Rise in Cheating Might Mean for You

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Jun 09, 2022 | 0 Comments

The incidence of cheating at colleges and universities has been rising at an alarming rate over the last few years. Conventional wisdom has attributed most of this rise to the pandemic, with campuses closed and students doing all of their work from home. And to be sure, the pandemic does seem to represent a watershed moment. Studies suggest that cheating on online exams is now some fourteen times higher than pre-pandemic levels. However, as the health crisis has waned somewhat and students have returned to school, cheating rates only seem to have accelerated.

Making Sense of the Numbers

A recent story in Times Higher Education reports on a study of over three million online exams administered by the site ProctorU in 2021. That study found “clear evidence of misconduct” in 6.6 percent of all those exams. Ultimately, that works out to one in fourteen students. 6.6 also represents a significant rise from the .5 mark recorded in the months prior to the pandemic. However, it is almost a sixty percent rise over the 2020 mark of 3.9. And again, that rise occurred as students returned to classrooms.

Experts seem divided on the root cause of these high numbers. Some argue that changes in technology have made cheating too easy. That is, perhaps more students are cheating simply because the means are more readily available. However, this argument ignores the fact that the study compares numbers across the same online testing platform, ProctorU. In other words, the students in question didn't have access to new technology. They were using the same online software students before had used.

In fact, the most troubling information in the THE article is that students taking these exams knew they were being watched and chose to cheat anyway and that the exam process itself has been described as “more invasive than face-to-face tests.” This has led some educators to suggest that educational standards have become too high, forcing students to turn to dishonest methods to keep pace, even when there may be a high probability they will be caught.

The Bottom Line

In the end, the cause of the rise in cheating may be less important than the effect it is likely to have. As more stories like the one in THE come out, instructors are bound to become less trusting and more trigger-happy when it comes to leveling accusations against their students. They are also more likely to assign sanctions far out of proportion to the nature of the offense. The fact is, instructors can and do make mistakes, and when they're paranoid, they make more of them.

If you should find yourself accused of cheating, don't just accept the allegation and the penalty that comes with it. Instead, get help to fight back. Protect your reputation and your academic future.

Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm can help. Joseph D. Lento is a nationally-recognized defense attorney who built his career helping students and others in academia defend themselves against campus charges. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-555-3686 or use our automated online form.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients nationwide. Attorney Lento and his team represent students and others in disciplinary cases and various other proceedings at colleges and universities across the United States. Attorney Lento has helped countless students, professors, and others in academia at more than a thousand colleges and universities across the United States, and when necessary, he and his team have sought justice on behalf of clients in courts across the nation. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide, and he can help you or your student address any school-related issue or concern anywhere in the United States.


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