Academic Dishonesty and Its Detrimental Effects

Words: 1122
Topic: Education


Academic dishonesty is one of the contemporary challenges in the education sector. It is a multifaceted vice that occurs at individual and institution levels. Research findings indicate that cheating in academics has been increasing gradually over the past few years (Carrell, 2007). At present, lack of academic integrity is widespread in all echelons of education. For example, current studies in the US reveal that 70 percent of high school students engage in various forms of cheating (Carrell, 2007).

In Germany, about 74 percent of college students cheat in academics. Some of the common types of academic cheating include the following (Carrell, 2007). Plagiarism is an academic vice among many students. It refers to using academic publications without giving credit to authors. Cheating during examinations is another widespread type of academic dishonesty.

Other forms of cheating in academics include sabotaging students from completing their assignments, providing false references and data in research papers, and giving false excuses for not completing assignments on time. This paper argues that academic cheating causes social and moral problems at individual and society levels.

History of Academic Dishonesty

The notion of academic property was absent in the ancient period. In the past, there were no standard guidelines for publishing academic manuscripts. Thus, ancient scholars wrote books without ethical restrictions. Academics dishonesty is believed to have begun in the 19th century when tests and evaluation programs were introduced in learning institutions (Colnerud & Rosander, 2009).

In the 20th century, academic cheating became prevalent in many learning institutions in the US and Europe due to the clustering of students according to academic performance. The emphasis of meritocracy in academics compelled students to seek superior grades.

At present, academic misconduct is rampant in schools due to the following factors. The merit-based approach in education compels students to seek high academic grades to access high levels of education. This often leads to cheating because some students try to achieve academic excellence through unethical strategies. The social learning environment can motivate students to cheat. For instance, students that pass examinations through cheating can motivate others to do the same.

Prevalence of corruption in society influences students to be dishonest in academics. Teachers can unintentionally facilitate cheating in schools. For instance, unkind teachers often take punitive measures against students that fail to do assignments.

Hence, students can cheat to avoid punishment. Some students are oblivious of ethical measures in education. For example, some students can unconsciously commit plagiarism due to lack of proper guidance. Also, some students believe that academic cheating is not amoral behavior. Hence, they cheat regularly.

Detriments of Academic Dishonesty

Effects on students

Academic cheating may limit a student’s ability to achieve his or her desired education goals because some universities have strict admission requirements and often refuse to admit students with cases of academic dishonesty. Also, academic records can be demanded when students apply for internships in competitive organizations such as the United Nations and banks.

Generally, students found guilty of cheating often face serious disciplinary measures such as suspension from school. Extreme cases of academic cheating can lead to the expulsion of students from the school. Moreover, once a student has been found guilty of cheating in academics, people lose trust in him (Carrell, 2007).

In some cases, dishonest students may directly or indirectly encourage their colleagues to cheat in academics (Hall, 2011). For example, students who excel in academics through unethical means may discourage honest students from working hard in academics. Therefore, the outcomes of cheating are detrimental to students.

Effects on Learning Institutions and Educators

Integrity is one of the most significant assets of any learning institution. However, academic misbehavior can damage the reputation of a learning institution. For instance, an academic institution plagued by academic dishonesty may not attract students and donors. Furthermore, employers may not wish to recruit workers trained in colleges with bad academic standing. Moreover, honest students from schools with poor academic reputation may be mistreated in society due to their education backgrounds (Carrell, 2007).

In many learning institutions, educators are often entrusted with the role of curbing cheating. Instructors can be penalized for failing to limit academic dishonesty. For example, teachers can be sacked if they fail to discipline students who consistently cheat in examinations (Hall, 2011). Cheating can make teachers less productive at work because it discourages them from doing research and disseminating knowledge. For instance, scholars whose publications are plagiarized may lose interest in doing research.

Effects on Society

Academic cheating leads to many vices in society. Dishonest students are more likely to become corrupt in the future than those who refrain from cheating in school. Indeed, some studies point out that dishonest students often engage in economic crimes such as theft and fraud because they have developed the habit of achieving their goals through unethical means (Colnerud & Rosander, 2009). Students who cheat in examinations focus much on getting high grades, but they fail to get superior knowledge needed by employers.

Hence, students who excel in academics through cheating can fail to perform well in their careers due to lack of competence. Lack of productivity among employers can be detrimental to society (Hall, 2011). Therefore, employers should take into consideration academic merit, skills, and talents when recruiting workers (Davis & Drinan, 2009).


This essay has revealed various forms of academic dishonesty such as plagiarism, bribery, and cheating during examinations. Cheating in academics creates many problems in society, such as corruption and fraud. Academic cheating makes students incompetent; hence, they become unproductive at the workplace. Academic dishonesty can ruin the reputation of a school and educators.

Ultimately, cheating undermines the domain of education because it affects the production of knowledge and skills. Moreover, cheating affects the concept of meritocracy since some learners excel in exams through unethical means.

The problem of academic dishonesty can be solved through various strategies since it is a multifaceted and dynamic challenge. First, dishonesty in academics can be mitigated by developing and implementing stringent rules to curb it. For example, dishonest students should be punished severely to deter others from being dishonest.

Second, educators should be innovative in examining the performance of students. This will make cheating difficult since learners will not predict the types of assessments that will be carried out in school. Third, some students violate ethical principles in school because they are oblivious of the moral standards required in academics (Davis & Drinan, 2009). Therefore, learners should be encouraged to uphold academic integrity.

Moreover, parents should inculcate moral values in children to make them honest and disciplined. The role of students in curbing dishonesty in academics should not be overlooked since they know dishonest learners. Therefore, students should be encouraged to provide information on the incidences of cheating in academics.


Carrell, S. (2007). Peer effects in academic cheating. Journal of Human Resources, 12(5), 70- 176.

Colnerud, G., & Rosander, M. (2009). Academic dishonesty, ethical norms and learning. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 34(5), 505-517.

Davis, S., & Drinan, P. (2009). Cheating in school: What we know and what we can do. New York: Wiley.

Hall, S. (2011). Is it Happening? How to avoid the deleterious effects of plagiarism and cheating in your courses. Business Communication Quarterly, 74(2), 179-182.