Some notes on cheating in the classroom

Today I gave a presentation at the WSST conference on cheating in the classroom. Below are the quotes, articles, videos, and books I shared.

Looking for a place to start? I highly recommend this book:

Cheating in School
Cheating in School: What We Know and What We Can Do

Much of today’s talk came from this book.  For example, here are a few quotes from the book that caught my eye:

Persistent student cheating may corrupt a child’s character and lead to a devaluing of trust, fairness, respect, responsibility, and honesty as fundamentals in a just society.

[cheating in school] may form a habit that persists and transitions into an adult’s work and life habits

If students are led to focus on ‘how well’ they’re doing more than on ‘what’ they’re doing, they may do whatever they think is necessary to make it look as though they’re succeeding.
Who’s Cheating Whom? by Alfie Kohn (Phi Delta Kappan)

Schools fail to reward, and in some way discourage, good behavior on the part of the students. When so much emphasis is placed on grades and individual achievement, the system seems to breed dishonesty. Students learn to succeed by all means possible, even if this means compromising their integrity to obtain high grades.
Denise Clark Pope (Doing School)

It’s not the dumb kids who cheat… it’s the kids with a 4.6 grade-point average who are under so much pressure to keep their grades up and get into the best colleges. They’re the ones who are smart enough to figure out how to cheat without getting caught.
Everybody Does It by an anonymous student (

Some children and their parents have convinced themselves that they have to be superstars and go to Harvard, Stanford, or Brown to have a worthwhile life. This attitude leads to cheating by the most qualified, not the least qualified, students in some schools.
Who Says Cheaters Never Win? by Kirk O. Hanson (Stanford Knowledgebase)

“The top’s cheating to thrive, the bottom’s cheating to survive…”
Don McCabe

Science is not received wisdom, but informed guesswork. It may well be wrong. That’s life. Besides, what’s the alternative? To substitute our own gut feelings for scientific analysis, flawed though it may be? We should always be willing to question the outcomes of science, but we should be even more willing to question ourselves.
In praise of scientific error by George Musser (Scientific American)

…the more we focus on all the clever ways youngsters can cheat, the more likely we are to ignore the fact that the biggest single factor in escalating academic dishonesty is the failure of parents and teachers to diligently teach, enforce, advocate, and model personal integrity. It’s the adults, not the kids, who have the greatest responsibility to create an ethical culture that nurtures the virtues of honor, honesty, and fairness.
Cheating Isn’t the Problem by Michael Josephson (Character Counts)

One thought to “Some notes on cheating in the classroom”

  1. Hi Dale,
    Attended your presentation at WSST and felt that our entire teaching staff needed to hear/see your message. Would you be willing to share/give your PowerPoint presentation to me?? I will of course give you all the credit, and tweek it a bit to present to our staff. I then want to present that we have a book club with the Cheating in School book. I talked to our administration about what you said and they too were excited. Let me know. You provide a lot of info here, but what caught my attention is the relationship you made to all the “Cheaters” we have in society and how we accept it!! Thank You!!

    Kristin Tschumper
    Onalaska High School

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