Thursday, August 30, 2007

Survey: Six of 11 Accounting Students Cheat

A survey by David Morris of North Georgia College and Claire Killian of Wisconsin--River Falls found that 54% of 294 accounting students surveyed acknowledged cheating. The survey was given to business students at seven colleges and universities in three Southern states; it found that 52% of 569 business students (including the accounting students) had cheated. Equally instructive were the definitions of cheating: some believed that it was not cheating for a student who was given the exam a day later to receive test questions from students who had already received the exam and others believed that it was okay for a third student to be credited as participating on a paper actually written by two other students.

Students have been given a number of legal rights in recent years to receive protection from the abuses of a small number of faculty. These rights, nevertheless, are a compounding factor in deterring cheating. Additionally, from my faculty experience, students can be quite creative. As a teacher, I attempt to use some safeguards, such as double versions of tests and rarely using prior exams, but honesty requires me to say that at least a few students probably still successfully cheat in my classes--and the problem is likely to become worse as more courses are taught online. This is a BIG problem for CPA firms and other employers--it is almost impossible to be certain that a given job applicant really earned that 3.2 (or whatever) GPA.


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