In the article, “College Cheating Thirty Years Later: The Role of Academic Entitlement,” the purpose of the study conducted was to help increase the understanding of what the predictors of academic dishonesty are in today’s college students. Using four decades’ worth of date collected through the same questionnaire each time the author’s set out to find the role of academic dishonesty in millennial students who “possess generational characteristics likely to promote college cheating” (Stiles, Wong, and LaBeff 2018: 823). The authors want to determine what role academic entitlement plays in cheating in college because previous studies have tended to focus more on the factor of neutralization. Academic entitlement is “the perception that one is entitled to higher grades than earned, regardless of one’s ability or how much one studies or prepared for an exam or course requirement” (Stiles et al. 2018: 825). While controlling other variables, the authors intend to test the role that academic entitlement plays in college cheating. The thesis of this article is that a sense of academic entitlement in college students is what leads to cheating in college. The thesis in this paper was clearly stated. The information in the article is important for sociology students and professionals alike because cheating in college affects every university nationwide.
The sample consisted of roughly ten percent of the students at a public university. The majority of individuals who participated were traditional-aged college students. The sample had mainly first / second year students with the majority of participants being Caucasian females (Stiles et al. 2018: 825). There were other races and college levels represented in this sample, but the percentages for these other groups were significantly low compared to Caucasian freshmen. While this is a good sample size, the problem lies within the distribution of the sample. The sample was rather diverse, but the high rates of Caucasian freshmen will make the sample more generalizable to Caucasian freshmen rather than the campus as a whole. A sample with regards to all categories would have helped in the data analysis.
The method to collect data on cheating behavior and attitudes were collected through an online survey on academic dishonesty (modified) that was developed by Haines et al. (1986 as cited by Stiles et al. 2018: 826). This particular survey has been used in many investigations on college cheating. Introductory history, psychology, and sociology classes that were in the university’s core curriculum were sampled, including some online classes. The author’s said that this would mean that participants were expected to be “fairly representative of the campus” (Stiles et al. 2018: 826). Although some could argue that interviews would have been a better method for obtaining information about cheating in college. Whereas lying online is extremely easy, lying to somebody’s face is more challenging and more accurate results could have been obtained. A survey was the correct choice for the study to have such a large sample size and to obtain the information that they did obtain, but to try and alleviate the ability to lie so easily an interview may have been more beneficial if the sample size would have permitted for that possibility.
The authors provide evidence that supports the hypothesis that a sense of academic entitlement in students is what leads to cheating in college. The article provides a table (Table 1) of the results of the OLS Regression in which college cheating is predicted based on Academic Entitlement and the Control variables (Stiles et al. 2018: 828). The control variables are neutralization and the fact that college students tend to say what they think will make them look the most-favorable in a situation which was tested by the Marlow-Crowne Social Desirability Scale (Stiles et al. 2018: 827). This table shows that academic entitlement in significant in predicting college cheating. This table’s a strong support of the hypothesis because it shows the relationship. Even though academic entitlement is a significant predictor of college cheating, the authors’ results show that neutralization is also significant as well. The author’s show some evidence of how a sense of academic entitlement in students is what leads to cheating in college, but there were also numerous mentions of other variables and how they played a role in college cheating as well. (Stiles et al. 2018: 828). For example, the other variables that play a role in college cheating are neutralization, gender, participation in sororities / varsity sports, etc.
There are many individuals who will benefit from reading this article. Professors and teachers would be some of the top individuals who would benefit from reading this article. Knowing why students cheat is important to help prevent it in their own classrooms so teachers would benefit from learning some of the predictors of academic dishonesty (college cheating). The benefit to these teachers and professors is important because it can help in the understanding of why students act in the way they do when it comes to completing assigned coursework of any kind. College students may benefit from this as well. This was an eye opening article for me personally and I believe that many college students would benefit from reading this article. Actually seeing how real college students view cheating helps you understand your peers all the better.
This is an informative piece that reflects on four decades’ worth of students at a single university and their cheating habits. It helps show the significance that academic entitlement plays in college cheating, while previous research has focused mainly on the aspect of neutralization. If this study were to be repeated I feel like interviews would be beneficial to the overall results of the study. I also think that the sample should be more diverse and a majority of the sample should not be Caucasian freshmen. There should be a larger amount of participants who are sophomore, junior, or seniors. Having more individuals who are African American, Hispanic, Caribbean, Native American and Asian would provide a more diverse sample. This study has shown to have beneficial information about academic entitlement and the role that it plays in college cheating.