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Study: UA men cheat more in class

JACOB KONST/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Business and public administration junior John Majok gives his views on cheating within the Eller business college during a forum on cheating earlier this month in the Gallagher Theater.
By Zach Colick
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
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Male students at the UA cheat more than twice as often as female students, according to statistics compiled by the Dean of Students Office.

Of the more than 300 cases involving academic dishonesty at the UA, nearly 70 percent involved males and 30 percent involved females.

UA officials said they aren't sure why men cheat more often than women.

"I can't say whether male students are cheating more than female students," said Alexis Hernandez, associate dean of students. "These numbers showing that males are more likely to cheat have been fairly consistent over the years and in the same ballpark as they are now."

Mike Burk, a media arts junior, said he sees more males cheating than females in general education classes.

But Adam Turner, a physics sophomore, said he was surprised to find out males cheated more than their female counterparts.

"I wouldn't think males would want to cheat more (than females)," he said. "This is a big surprise to me."

Ashley Gerze, a pre-business sophomore, said she hasn't noticed many females cheating in the classes she's been in, and figured the numbers would be equal for both sexes.

"I'm sure it's equal between males and females, but I hear more about it from males who have or are talking about doing it," she said.

According to the UA Code of Academic Integrity Summary Report, from July 1, 2002, to June 30, 2003, cases of academic dishonesty totaled 311, with 225 infractions from plagiarism and 29 infractions from copying on a test.

National figures compiled by Donald McCabe, a Rutgers University professor of organization management and founder of the Center for Academic Integrity, show that more than 84 percent of surveyed students nationwide reported some cheating as undergraduates and about half admitted to cheating on tests and/or exams.

Freshmen and sophomores were also more likely to cheat or plagiarize because they thought they wouldn't get caught in large classroom settings like a gen ed class where the professor doesn't know who they are, said Kathleen Gabriel, a specialist for faculty and teaching assistant development at the University Teaching Center. Gabriel also said cheating was more likely with multiple-choice formats than essay.

UA statistics also show that cheating is high among freshmen and sophomores, Gabriel said. Out of the 311 cases of cheating reported, 93 involved freshmen and 87 involved sophomores.

"It's definitely easier to cheat in bigger classes like a gen ed," Burk said.

Turner agreed, adding that the multiple-choice test formats provide easier convenience for someone to cheat.

"I see (cheating) in lecture halls because it's easier to do," Turner said. "Anything non-multiple choice is harder to cheat on and you get multiple choice tests in big lecture halls. So it's definitely easier."

Gabriel said she thinks teachers need to report cheating more often.

The 311 reports of cheating is too small a number, she said, and professors need to report the incidents rather than handle them personally.

Today, UA officials will continue the conversation on cheating that began with a Dean of Students Office panel last week.

The lecture series "How is it Cheating? I Found it on the Internet! Part Two," by the Dean of Students Office panel, continues at noon today in the Gallagher Theater. The panel will discuss problems with academic dishonesty and ways to help students make ethical decisions.

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