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A COMPARISON OF ATTITUDES TOWARDS CHEATING

BETWEEN U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

Wendy C. Bailey, Troy University, Troy, Alabama, USA


S. Scott Bailey, Troy University, Troy, Alabama, USA

ABSTRACT

This study uses chi-squared analysis of survey data to determine how students would react if they
became aware of a classmate using prohibited notes on an examination. The study included international
(Vietnamese) and US students, as well as those studying at the graduate and undergraduate levels. The
goal was to ascertain whether differences existed in how students would behave based on gender,
domestic status, and level of study. Results show differences between genders as well as between US
and international students. Domestic females were more willing to report cheating to the instructor than
males, while domestic students in general were less willing to ignore the behavior compared to
international students.

Keywords: Academic Dishonesty; Cheating; Business Students; International Students; Gender


Differences

1. INTRODUCTION

As long as exams have been given, some of the people taking them have been tempted to cheat. Some
of the first cheating reported occurred in Chinese civil service exams given over 2000 years ago (Latova
and Latov, 2008; Lupton and Chapman, 2002). Exam-takers brought in prohibited materials ("crib" notes
or sheets) in a variety of ingenious ways in order to give themselves an advantage. In that exam, the
penalty for cheating was death for both the cheaters as well as for the examiners who did not detect the
prohibited materials in advance. Though today our penalties are less severe, cheating on tests has not
gone away.

A variety of studies have been done in recent years to estimate the extent of the cheating problem in
higher education. In a meta-analysis of 107 cheating studies done between 1970 and 1996 in the U.S.,
Whitley (1998) found that 70% of students on average had engaged in various cheating behaviors,
including 43% who admitted to cheating on exams and 47% who admitted to plagiarism. McCabe and
Trevino (1996) noted that "although the number of students who cheat has increased only modestly,
the students who do cheat are engaging in a wider variety of test cheating behaviors today and are also
cheating more often." Comparing parallel studies done in 1963 and 1993, McCabe and Bowers (1994)
found that copying from other students on tests doubled from 26% to 52%, while the use of crib notes
increased from 16% to 27% over the same period. Reported academic dishonesty in written work did not
change much or even fell slightly, though there was a sharp increase in collaboration on assignments
requiring individual work from 11% to 49%.

These changes are particularly important for those who teach business students, as a number of studies
have shown that business majors cheat more than other majors and have lower scores on ethical values
(McCabe and Bowers, 1994; McCabe and Trevino, 1995; Roberts, Anderson, and Yanish, 1997; Smyth
and Davis, 2003). In a more recent study, Smyth, Davis, and Kroncke (2009) set up parallel academic
and business situations and asked students to rate how ethical they perceived the items to be.
Nonbusiness majors consistently found the situations more unethical than business majors in all nine
areas compared. Among business students, management majors were found to be significantly more
likely to cheat by using crib notes or copying on tests, while accounting majors were less likely to cheat
(Rakovski and Levy, 2007). One study (Iyer and Eastman, 2006) found business majors were less
dishonest than nonbusiness majors, but this result was contrary to what other studies have shown.

An additional problem is that perceptions of what constitutes cheating differ. Some behaviors are clearly
seen as unethical, while others may be viewed as less serious offenses depending on the context or the
prevailing culture. Regardless of context or culture, however, most people agree that the most serious

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cheating behaviors include using forbidden materials on exams ("crib sheets") or copying from others
(Franklyn-Stokes and Newstead,1995; Passow, Mayhew, Finelli, Harding, and Carpenter, 2006). In the
Passow et al (2006) study, 91.6% of the engineering majors they surveyed said that using crib sheets
was cheating, Students also favor the strongest penalties be given for cheating on exams using such
methods as well, compared to other dishonest acts which are seen as more passive (Rakovski and Levy,
2007).

This study examines student responses to how they would react what is generally seen as a serious
cheating behavior, namely using prohibited crib sheets on an examination. A total of 394 students were
surveyed, including 177 graduate and 56 international students. By gender, 228 of the students were
female and 166 were male. The goal was to see whether there were differences in response depending
on nationality, gender, or level of study (undergraduate vs. graduate school). Note that on some of the
tables in the results section, the totals may differ due to missing data on some questions.

2. LITERATURE REVIEW

Many studies have been done in recent decades to determine who cheats and why they cheat in higher
education. As already noted, various studies have determined that business students engage in more
academic dishonesty than students in other majors such as engineering, law, education, or medicine.
Various studies have been done to determine whether variables such as gender, level of study, and
nationality influence the amount of cheating done as well as ethical values in general.

Gender differences have been widely studied, but results are mixed as to whether there truly are
differences in the level of cheating done. At least theoretically, there should be differences between men
and women due to sex socialization. Women are socialized to exhibit high moral character and be rule-
abiding due to their concern about their behavior on others, while men are socialized to take more risks
and have a more individual focus (Whitley, 1998; Whitley, Nelson, Jones, 1999; Tibbetts, 1999). While
studies have shown men to be more likely to self-report cheating, others have shown no significant
difference between genders, particularly over time.

In terms of attitudes towards academic dishonesty, Buckley, Wiese, and Harvey (1998) found that men
had a higher propensity to engage in unethical behavior compared females. Similarly, Rawwas and
Isakson's (2000) study of marketing and finance majors found that men were also more likely find
cheating acceptable, while women held the opposite view. Tibbetts (1999) found that predictors of test
cheating did vary by gender, with men's intentions being influenced positively by "past general cheating
behavior and anticipated pleasure" from the activity, while "women were more inhibited by higher moral
beliefs." (p. 334) In a 2003 study of two-year college students, Smyth and Davis found that males
reported cheating at a higher rate than females and also were also more willing to assist others in
cheating. In a study of attitudes towards various cheating scenarios, Smyth, Davis, and Kroncke (2009)
reported that women assessed every scenario as more unethical than men. Furthermore, the differences
between genders were found to be highly statistically significant.

In looking for reasons why people cheat as well as for possible differences between genders, Ward and
Beck (1990) did an interesting experiment where students were given their multiple choice tests back for
self-grading. The tests were collected again and teaching assistants rescored the tests against
photocopied versions taken before the tests were returned to evaluate differences in scores. The students
who cheated were then compared against a survey done earlier in the term to determine their level of
neutralization, or justifying behavior. Among those with low neutralization, 39% of the men cheated while
only 10% of the women did. Among those with high neutralization, 37.5% of the men cheated and 41% of
the women cheated. They therefore found the decision to cheat was independent for men of
neutralization, while for women it was highly correlated to neutralization.

In terms of behavior, Davis and Ludvigson (1995) found no difference in the percent of men and women
who cheat in high school, they found a "consistent and reliable trend for a higher percentage of men in
each sample to report cheating in college." (p. 119-120) Furthermore, they found men were more likely to
be repeat offenders, both in high school as well as in college. Roberts, Anderson, and Yanish (1997)

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found that males reported the most academic misconduct, particularly if they were younger. In their study,
21% of males reported using crib sheets in an exam, but the breakout by gender was highly significant,
with 32% of men reporting doing so on one or more occasions, while only 14% of females did.
Furthermore, more than 40% of the men felt that an announcement of penalties for strict cheating at the
start of the semester would not deter cheating; however most of these men were classified as "cheaters"
in their study. Rakovski and Levy (2007) also found that males engaged in more cheating behaviors than
women, though differences only became highly significant if cheating was defined more broadly than
narrowly.

Other studies, however, have found no difference between genders in terms of behavior. Franklyn-Stokes
and Newstead (1995) found that males reported more cheating than females, but the difference was not
statistically significant. In the a meta-analysis of past studies, Whitley, Nelson, and Jones (1999) found a
moderate difference in gender for attitudes towards cheating, but only a small effect size for behavior.
Though males did admit to having a more positive attitude towards cheating than women, reported
cheating more often, and feeling less guilty about it than did women, overall these differences in behavior
could be the result of large sample sizes. Similarly, in a meta-analysis of 21 previously-published studies,
Athanasou and Olasehinde (2002) found no statistically significant difference between men and women.

Other studies have focused on gender differences over time. In their survey of studies done to date,
McCabe and Trevino (1996) noted that gender differences over the past 30 years have narrowed:
"The increases in test cheating observed at the nine state universities studied by McCabe
and Bowers in 1993 were driven by increased levels of test cheating among women.
While 59 percent of the women at these schools in Bowers' 1963 sample reported at
least one incidence of test cheating, this had grown to 70 percent in 1993. For men, test
cheating was essentially unchanged, increasing from 69 percent to 70 percent. Many
factors probably underlie this difference but one that appears to be of particular
importance is the increasing number of women who have entered traditionally male-
dominated academic majors. Thirty years ago, fewer women were competing with men in
majors such as business, science, or engineering -- majors that have generally exhibited
the highest rates of student cheating. Feedback from women participating in an earlier
study suggests that some have resorted to cheating to remain academically competitive
with men. Unfortunately, as these majors have become more gender-balanced, the
cheating behavior of men has become the model to follow."

Most of the studies above have focused on US students exclusively. When considering international
studies, gender differences may be more pronounced due to culture though only a handful of studies
have examined this. In a 1996 study of UK students, Newstead, Franklyn-Stokes, and Armstead showed
a statistically significant difference between genders, with men reporting far more cheating and being
more willing to cheat to increase their grades. In a study of higher education institutions in Taiwan, Lin
and Wen (2006) showed a small but highly significant difference between men and women in terms of
both attitude and behavior. Men had a more favorable attitude towards cheating on tests and they also
admitted to cheating more than women on tests. These differences were felt to be cultural, since Chinese
women were raised to have a strong orientation to honesty in order to avoid shame.

In contrast, a study by Diekhoff, LaBeff, Shinohara, and Yasukawa (1999) found no relationship between
gender and cheating for either the US or Japanese students compared in the study. In a study of New
Zealand tertiary institutions, de Lambert, Ellen, and Taylor (2006) did find evidence of gender differences,
with males reporting more cheating in each of the 20 behaviors they examined, though the differences
were small. They noted, however, that the largest differences between men and women occurred in the
most serious categories of cheating behavior, such as taking unallowed crib sheets into tests or copying
from others. Whitley, Nelson, and Jones (1999) also examined some non-US studies in their meta-
analysis and did find larger mean effects sizes for gender differences compared to studies done in the
US.

One caution noted in several of the studies that examined gender differences is the possibility that
selection bias skews the results. In their 2008 study, Miller, Shoptaugh, and Parkerson noted that the

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motives for filling our surveys or participating in research may play a role, since females tend to be more
represented in volunteer surveys possibly due to altruism. Furthermore, volunteer participants who do not
cheat may be motivated to participate in such studies given strong feelings on the subject, while cheaters
may be motivated to avoid participation. The authors comment that given this, the percent of cheating in
total may be underestimated and gender differences may be less reliable if samples are drawn from
volunteers alone. In their study, they administered two sets of surveys, one with participation on a strictly
volunteer basis and another that offered course credit. They found no evidence of gender differences in
the course credit surveys. Furthermore, survey respondents who received course credit were more likely
to report cheating than the respondents in the volunteer surveys.

Differences among international and US students with regard to cheating have been examined in a few
studies, though much research remains to be done given the dearth of studies available relative to the
number of countries in the world. Most studies have found a somewhat higher rate of reported cheating
among international students, though a complicating factor in doing comparative studies in that attitudes
towards what constitutes cheating may differ between cultures. Other studies have found no significant
difference between US and international students, though international students were found to be more
willing to participate in more serious types of cheating such as using crib notes compared to US students
(Rakovski and Levy, 2007; de Lambert, Ellen, and Taylor, 2006).

In the study of Taiwanese students by Lin and Wen (2006). 57.5% of Taiwanese students reported
cheating, compared to 43.1% of US students in Whitley's 1998 study. A total of 85% reported copying
from other students during tests more than once, and around 15% of students admitted to using crib
notes on tests often or almost every time. The study authors felt the differences may be cultural, since
Asian students focus on group rather than individual work, so they may not view some things as cheating
compared to other cultures or may feel more social pressure to cheat in general.

Diekhoff, LaBeff, Shinohara, and Yasukawa's 1999 study comparing US and Japanese students found
that Japanese students reported significantly more cheating (55%) than US students (26%) on exams.
They also found some interesting differences in attitudes toward cheating or likely behavior if confronted
with a cheating situation. In their study, a "cheater" was defined as someone who admitted to cheating on
exams to account for differences in their US and Japanese educational systems, so noncheaters could
have engaged in other forms of cheating. US students who did not cheat were more likely to report
cheating to the instructor (8%) compared to Japanese students (0%), but these differences were small for
those who admitted to engaging in cheating behavior themselves (2% for US cheaters, 1% for Japanese
cheaters). US students were significantly more likely to confront cheaters compared to Japanese
students, regardless of whether they were cheaters themselves (7% for US and 1% for Japanese
noncheaters, 6% for US and zero for Japanese cheaters). Finally, a large number of both US and
Japanese students would be more likely to ignore cheating with the differences between two groups not
statistically significant (70% for US noncheaters and 80% for US cheaters, 73% for Japanese
noncheaters and 80% for Japanese cheaters).

In de Lambert, Ellen, and Taylor's 2006 study of New Zealand students, nearly 50% of students reported
taking unauthorized material into tests, 58% reported copying from others, and 44% admitted to allowing
others to copy from them. Though the ethnic groups included in the sample were mostly New Zealanders
(79%), some were Pacific Islanders or Maori, and 14% were Asian. They found no significant difference
between the ethnic groups included, though Asians saw some of the scenarios included as not being
cheating compared to other ethnic groups so perceptions did vary.

A parallel study to the one above was done by Brimble and Stevenson-Clarke in 2005 for Australian
universities in Queensland. Students viewed academic dishonesty as less serious than academic staff
did, with 40% deeming falsifying one's own research or doing an assignment for someone else as "minor"
cheating. Students also felt that penalties for cheating should be less than the penalties that academic
staff would assign for even serious cheating such as impersonating another in a test or paying someone
else to do an assignment. A total of 11% of students admitted to using crib notes one or more times on
tests.

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A comparison of Russian and US business students (Lupton and Chapman, 2002) found significant
differences in behaviors and beliefs about academic dishonesty. Only 2.9% of the US students included
in the survey admitted to cheating in the class they were currently taking compared to 38.1% of the
Russian students, while 68.5% of US students admitted to talking about exams they took to subsequent
sections compared to 92% of Russians. More markedly, 24% of the US students believed that others
cheat on exams, compared with 70% of Russian students in their sample. An interesting study of crib
sheet use in Russia was published by Latova and Latov in 2008. They argued that cheating in Russian
schools was part of the "everyday shadow economy" and that students were taught in school to cheat so
they could do so after they got into the workplace. Though 90% of those surveyed disapproved of
cheating, half of those surveyed felt it was "mean or dishonorable" to betray a classmate by reporting
cheating, while others felt the teacher would be upset at the person reporting the cheating. In an open
question, half of those surveyed denied that reporting cheating would be useful.

Turning to the former Soviet republics, Teodorescu and Andrei (2009) looked at cheating in Romania.
They found that cheating was rampant, with 85% of students admitting helping others to cheat on exams
but other more corrupt practices were reported such as getting private tuition from instructors or paying
bribes to examining professors to get a passing grade. Only 4% of the students in the sample would
report someone who tried to copy during a test. Students were more inclined to report faculty corruption,
though the vast majority would not. Students indicated they would not report cheating as it wasn't their
responsibility, they didn't think the behavior would be punished, or they were afraid to do so.

The situation in Central Eurasia appeared to be much similar to Romania, based on a study by Osipian
presented in 2007. He argued by low salaries by faculty made corruption likely, but that the "ruling
regimes" also used educational corruption as a means of "direct and indirect administrative control"
through blackmail. Among the behaviors he reports were students paying for high grades through bribes
or purchasing goods or services for faculty. He cited one example in Kazakhstan where proctors for the
internal Ministry of Education exam allowed cheat sheets and cell phones into the exam hall "for a price".
He also indicated that a similar set of practices of bribes to pass exams existed in Azerbaijan, along with
other corrupt practices.

Though some studies have included graduate students, they are few in number. Rakovski and Levy
(2007) found that graduate students were less likely than undergraduates to participate in cheating. Iyer
and Eastman (2006) also reported lower self-reported cheating among graduate students compared to
undergraduate students. The New Zealand study by de Lambert, Kelly, and Taylor included doctoral as
well as master's students, but unfortunately results were not separated out by level of study.

One additional concern when doing any type of research involving surveys is that there can be a large
difference between what people say they will do in a given situation and what they will actually do. In a
rare natural experiment in this area, Firmin, Burger, and Blosser (2009) had general psychology students
take an extra credit test, during which they had several students deliberately cheat by looking up answers
in a book while the teaching assistant left the room. They then interviewed students about their feelings. A
common reaction was hostility towards the cheater, seeing their behavior as unfair and creating anger
that the cheater would get a good grade they didn't earn. More importantly, however, students were also
uncertain how to respond to the situation and anxious about how to react, feeling responsible to do
something "they didn't want to do" or being afraid of the cheater's reaction if they did report it. Others
didn't want the student to get into trouble so didn't intend on reporting it as a result. Unfortunately the
study did not indicate the percentage of students who actually reported that cheating occurred or the
methods that were used if they did.

3. METHODOLOGY

We distributed an anonymous survey to 394 students. Five Likert scales were of interest in this study.
These statements presented a scenario in which another student was cheating on an exam using
prohibited notes and asked for the student observing the cheating to state a level of agreement on
responding in a certain manner. We examined how different groups of people would respond to the

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situation, to ascertain whether there are differences based on gender, nationality, or graduate student
status in these responses.

The five specific statements were:

1. If I became aware of a classmate cheating on an exam by using notes that were not allowed I
would ignore it
2. If I became aware of a classmate cheating on an exam by using notes that were not allowed I
would talk to the person and ask the person to stop
3. If I became aware of a classmate cheating on an exam by using notes that were not allowed I
would notify the instructor anonymously
4. If I became aware of a classmate cheating on an exam by using notes that were not allowed I
would personally tell the instructor
5. If I became aware of a classmate cheating on an exam by using notes that were not allowed I
would tell someone in authority other than the instructor

We employed chi-squared goodness of fit analysis in contingency tables of 1) gender versus response to
each statement, 2) nationality versus response to each statement, and 3) graduate status versus
response to each statement. We went further to examine specific groups: among females, nationality
versus response to each statement, and graduate status versus response to each statement - and among
males, nationality versus response to each statement, and graduate status versus response to each
statement. In addition, among domestic students, we examined gender versus response to each
statement, and graduate status versus response to each statement - and similarly for international
students. Finally, among graduate students, nationality versus response to each statement, and gender
versus response to each statement - and similarly for undergraduate students.

The following table illustrates the structure of the tests for each of the survey statements:

TABLE 1. STRUCTURE OF THE TESTS FOR EACH SURVEY STATEMENT

Group Variable 1 Variable 2


All Gender Survey Statement
All Nationality Survey Statement
All Graduate Status Survey Statement
Males Nationality Survey Statement
Males Graduate Status Survey Statement
Females Nationality Survey Statement
Females Graduate Status Survey Statement
Domestic Students Gender Survey Statement
Domestic Students Graduate Status Survey Statement
International Students* Gender Survey Statement
International Students* Graduate Status Survey Statement
Undergraduate Students Gender Survey Statement
Undergraduate Students Nationality Survey Statement
Graduate Students Gender Survey Statement
Graduate Students Nationality Survey Statement
*All international students were Vietnamese in our sample.

The categories of each variable were as follows:

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TABLE 2. VARIABLE CATEGORIES

Variable Categories
Gender Male Female
Nationality Domestic International*
Graduate Status Undergraduate Graduate
Strongly Neither Agree nor Strongly
Statement 1 Disagree Agree
Disagree Disagree Agree
Strongly Neither Agree nor Strongly
Statement 2 Disagree Agree
Disagree Disagree Agree
Strongly Neither Agree nor Strongly
Statement 3 Disagree Agree
Disagree Disagree Agree
Strongly Neither Agree nor Strongly
Statement 4 Disagree Agree
Disagree Disagree Agree
Strongly Neither Agree nor Strongly
Statement 5 Disagree Agree
Disagree Disagree Agree
*All international students were Vietnamese in our sample.

For some groups, expected values were quite low in certain cells. In those cases, we rescaled the
statement responses to Agree, Neither Agree nor Disagree, and Disagree to satisfy the large sample
assumption.

4. RESULTS

Based on our analysis, there do appear to be differences among the groups in several areas. In response
to the first question about whether they would ignore a classmate that was cheating using unallowed
notes on an exam, the great majority of students (73%) tended to disagree that they would ignore the
situation, but there did not appear to be a statistically significant difference (defined as a p-value of
approximately 0.05 or less) based on gender. However, there does appear to be a statistically significant
difference among both male and female domestic (US) and international (Vietnamese) students, as well
as between female undergraduate and graduate students

Among males, both domestic and international students tended to disagree that they would ignore the
situation, but the male international students were much more ambivalent in their responses and
disagreed at a lower rate than male domestic students.

TABLE 3. STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT CHI-SQUARED RESULTS FOR QUESTION 1

If I became aware of a classmate cheating on an exam by using notes that were not allowed I would
ignore it.
Neither Agree Nor
Males Agree Disagree Disagree Grand Total
Domestic 8 102 27 137
International 6 6 17 29
Grand Total 14 108 44 166
p-value = 2.31E-07

Likewise, there does appear to be a significant difference among females between domestic and
international students to the same question. Domestic females tend to disagree with the statement to a
greater extent and have less ambivalence than do the international female students.

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TABLE 4. STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT CHI-SQUARED RESULTS FOR QUESTION 1

If I became aware of a classmate cheating on an exam by using notes that were not allowed I would
ignore it.
Neither Agree Nor
Females Agree Disagree Disagree Grand Total
Domestic 11 153 37 201
International 3 14 10 27
Grand Total 14 167 47 228
p-value = 0.027967

In addition, there appears to be a significant difference among undergraduate and graduate females. The
graduate females tend to be less ambivalent when it comes to answering Question 1.

TABLE 5. STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT CHI-SQUARED RESULTS FOR QUESTION 1

If I became aware of a classmate cheating on an exam by using notes that were not allowed I would
ignore it.
Neither Agree Nor
Females Agree Disagree Disagree Grand Total
Undergraduate 4 84 31 119
Graduate 10 80 16 106
Grand Total 14 164 47 225
p-value = 0.03460

In response to the second question about whether they would talk to a classmate that was cheating using
unallowed notes on an exam and ask them to stop, the majority of students (56%) tended to agree,
versus 19% who disagreed. Similar to question 1, there did not appear to be a significantly different view
on the matter based on gender. Likewise, among males there did not appear to be a difference between
domestic or international students, nor between undergraduate and graduate students. The same was
true for females in these categories. Given the lack of statistical significance, it appears that confronting
the student directly was not a choice that any one group would make more readily than another.

The third question asked whether students would notify an instructor anonymously if they became aware
of a classmate cheating on an exam using unallowed notes. Among all students, 44% agreed and 25%
disagreed with this statement. There did not appear to be a significantly different view on the matter
based upon nationality or graduate status. However, among females, domestic students were more likely
to agree while international students were more likely to disagree with the statement.

TABLE 6. STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT CHI-SQUARED RESULTS FOR QUESTION 3

If I became aware of a classmate cheating on an exam by using notes that were not allowed I would
notify the instructor anonymously.
Neither Agree Nor
Females Agree Disagree Disagree Grand Total
Domestic 94 46 61 201
International 5 13 9 27
Grand Total 99 59 70 228
p-value = 0.00576

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The fourth question examined the willingness of a student to personally tell the instructor if they became
aware of a classmate cheating on an exam using unallowed notes. Among all students, 47% agreed and
17% disagreed with this statement. There did not appear to be a significantly different view on the matter
based upon gender, nationality, or graduate status. Among domestic students, males tended to disagree
more than expected, while females tended to be more ambivalent toward personally telling the instructor.

TABLE 7. STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT CHI-SQUARED RESULTS FOR QUESTION 4

If I became aware of a classmate cheating on an exam by using notes that were not allowed I would
personally tell the instructor.
Neither Agree Nor
Domestic Agree Disagree Disagree Grand Total
Female 98 26 77 201
Male 67 28 37 132
Grand Total 165 54 114 333
p-value = 0.05263

Among all male students, graduate students tended to be more willing to tell the instructor personally. The
results, however, were only statistically significant at an alpha of 0.1 rather than 0.05.

TABLE 8. STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT CHI-SQUARED RESULTS FOR QUESTION 4

If I became aware of a classmate cheating on an exam by using notes that were not allowed I would
personally tell the instructor.
Neither Agree Nor
Males Agree Disagree Disagree Grand Total
Undergraduate 33 22 27 82
Graduate 39 11 17 67
Grand Total 72 44 44 149
p-value = 0.082918

Among all female students, however, domestic students tended to be more willing to tell the instructor
personally. This difference was highly statistically significant as well. Female domestic students appeared
to be far less ambivalent than males regarding this issue.

TABLE 9. STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT CHI-SQUARED RESULTS FOR QUESTION 4

If I became aware of a classmate cheating on an exam by using notes that were not allowed I would
personally tell the instructor.
Neither Agree Nor
Females Agree Disagree Disagree Grand Total
Domestic 98 26 77 201
International 4 9 14 27
Grand Total 102 35 91 228
p-value = 0.001073

For the final question, we asked whether students would tell someone in authority other than the
instructor if they became aware of a classmate cheating on an exam using unallowed notes. Among all
students, 17% agreed and 50% disagreed with this statement. There did not appear to be a significantly
different view on the matter based upon gender, nationality, or graduate status. Among females, graduate
students tended to be more willing to tell someone in authority other than the instructor.

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TABLE 10. STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT CHI-SQUARED RESULTS FOR QUESTION 5

If I became aware of a classmate cheating on an exam by using notes that were not allowed I would tell
someone in authority other than the instructor.
Neither Agree Nor
Females Agree Disagree Disagree Grand Total
Undergraduate 13 61 45 119
Graduate 27 45 34 106
Grand Total 40 106 79 225
p-value = 0.017225

Looking at the results overall, there did appear to be a difference between how domestic and international
students would handle a situation where explicit cheating on a test occurred. Domestic male and female
students were less likely to ignore the situation than international students, as were graduate female
students. In terms of saying what they would do explicitly, the majority of students were willing to confront
the student directly, but there was no statistically significant preference for this course of action based on
gender, nationality, or graduate student status.

With regard to how the incident might be reported, less than half of the students would either report it
anonymously or personally to the instructor. The strongest differences were found between female
domestic students, who were more willing to favor anonymously or personally reporting the cheating to
the instructor. The majority of students tended not to prefer reporting to someone else in authority, though
female graduate students were more willing than their undergraduate counterparts to do so.

Our results seem to agree with studies that show that females seem less willing to tolerate unethical
behavior than males do. Though both genders agreed they would not ignore the behavior, males did not
register significant differences on any of the options given for how they would handle the situation, either
confronting the student directly or reporting it in some other manner.

5. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH

Although our study included international students, all international students were Vietnamese. Since that
group represents one specific Asian culture, it would be interesting to include other groups of international
students to see if differences exist.

Furthermore, males did indicate quite strongly that they would not ignore the situation, but it was not
obvious what they would do given the options presented. It is possible that the options given did not
capture their preferred alternative course of action. In the future, changing the survey to include an open-
ended response might help determine what male preferences would be.

Finally, our study looked at one specific cheating behavior. In the future, we would like to expand our
study to include other behaviors that may be seen more ambiguously as cheating by various groups, such
as plagiarism, turning in solutions done by others on graded assignments, or using purchased test banks
or instructors manuals to prepare for examinations.

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AUTHOR PROFILES:

Dr. Wendy C. Bailey earned her Ph.D. at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, CO in 1989. Currently
she is an assistant professor of quantitative methods and economics at Troy University - Troy Campus in
Troy, Alabama.

Dr. S. Scott Bailey earned his Ph.D. at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, CO in 1989. Currently
he is Associate Dean, Global Campus for the Sorrell College of Business at Troy University, Troy,
Alabama.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF BUSINESS RESEARCH, Volume 11, Number 5, 2011 37


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