Date of Award

1997

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Richard W. Fossey

Abstract

Academic misconduct is a problem that all institutions of higher education experience. Because few incidents are worthy of national attention, the media create the impression that cheating is rare. The truth is that, depending on the source, up to 75% of college students admit having cheated on exams, papers, and other academic activities. One approach to promoting ethical behavior on campus is a framework based on student development theories. William Kibler of Texas A&M University has created a comprehensive program which includes intervention strategies designed to promote an ethos that nurtures academic integrity. Two components in this plan are a written honor code and the communication of behavioral expectations. This study focused on those two components and their potential to influence undergraduates' perceptions of the seriousness and frequency of cheating at Louisiana State University (LSU). The experiment consisted of a single-factor multiple treatment design with four treatments. The treatments, or independent variables, are (1) presentation by the classroom instructor, (2) distribution of the written code of student conduct, (3) showing a video using student actors, and (4) no-treatment control. The dependent variables were the perception of the seriousness of cheating and of the frequency of cheating at LSU. A self-report survey was administered to four sample groups. The data collected from 674 subjects were analyzed by an ANOVA, the Tukey's (HSD) Test, a simple frequency count/percent, and an ANOVA item analysis. On the analysis of items relating to seriousness of cheating, two patterns emerged. One illustrates the influence of the instructor and the other, the lack of influence of having students read the code of conduct. The item analysis relating to frequency of cheating revealed a significant statistical difference between the instructor's group and the group which saw the video. These data indicate that the communication of expectations by the instructor is the most effective means of influencing student perceptions. That is good news for institutions unable, due to personnel or fiscal constraints, to create the comprehensive program Kibler outlines. It is both effective and inexpensive to utilize the power of faculty to promote an atmosphere of academic integrity.

ISBN

9780591591613

Pages

164

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