22 SES 07 B, Students at Risk: How to avoid drop-outs
Co-authored by Éric Frenette, Université Laval
Recognition of mastered skills and acquired knowledge necessarily involves assessment activities (Fontaine, Savoie-Zajc & Cadieux, 2013; Stiggins, 2009). Current practices in the assessment of learning suggest an increased use of examinations (Laveault, 2014). The results that students receive in exams attest to their success and have social consequences; successful completion of a course, admission to a university program, scholarship, diploma and sometimes even employment. However, the existing trend towards cheating (McCabe, Butterfield & Trevino, 2012; Foudjio Tchouata, Lamago & Singo Njabo, 2014), raises questions about the validity of grades and the credibility of diplomas awarded. The literature on cheating usually includes cheating in written assignment, also called plagiarism, and cheating on exams. Plagiarism involves copying words or using a slightly modified text of an author without citing him (Walker, 2010; Shei, 2005) in a written situation where originality is expected (Fishman, 2009). Cheating on exams, on the other hand, is a fraud committed by a student to obtain certain gains, namely, an increase in the chances of success at examination (Michaut, 2013; Mark Chaput of Saintonge & Pavlovic, 2004).
Recent international research (Foudjio Tchouata et al., 2014; Ellahi, Mishtaq & Khan, 2013; McCabe et al., 2012; Christensen Hugues & Mighty, 2010; Ma, Guofan & Young, 2008) identified factors influencing students’ decision to cheat during their studies. Some factors are related to the institutional context (size of institution and group, influence of peers, presence of a code of honor, etc.) while others are linked to the student himself (age, sex, ability to rationalize cheating, previous experience of cheating, etc.). To traditional cheating practices (obtaining questions before the exam, copying responses from one's neighbor, etc.) are now added electronic cheating practices (Michaut, 2013) diversifying and multiplying the ways to cheat on exams. The phenomenon of cheating appears to be a worldwide matter. In fact, Crittenden, Hanna & Peterson (2009) studied cheating among students in faculties of commerce in 36 countries. The results of their study led them to speak of a global culture of cheating reflecting a social phenomenon. Henceforth, it appears important to pay attention to the integrity of university graduates, whose professional actions are rooted in the habits developed during their studies (Crittenden et al., 2009; Etter, Harding, Finelli & Carpenter, 2004). Among university students, those in the field of education have a twofold responsibility: 1) they must develop ethical and responsible behaviors (MEQ, 2001) and 2) they will eventually serve as role models for their own students (Boon, 2011). Yet, very little research has been conducted to assess the situation of cheating in teacher training programs.
Our research objective is to examine the phenomenon of cheating on exams in the faculties of education of five francophone universities in the province of Quebec, Canada. More specifically, we aim to measure the extent of the phenomenon of cheating by exploring the reasons for which students cheat and the methods they use. We adopt the categorical framework of individual and contextual factors well documented in the literature on cheating (McCabe et al., 2012; Ellahi, Mushtaq & Khan; 2013; Christensen Hughes & Mighty, 2010).
A survey questionnaire on cheating was developed by the members of our research group based on relevant literature. Although questionnaires to survey students on these issues were used in other studies (Bower, 1964; McCabe & Trevino, 1993, amongst others), to the researchers’ knowledge, no French version of such instrument exist. In addition, cultural differences amongst university contexts in various countries had to be reflected in the instrument. Therefore, a questionnaire was developed according to the seven-step approach proposed by Dussault, Valois & Frenette (2007). The questionnaire validation process included an item analysis, a pretest, and a confirmatory factor analysis. The instrument is divided into three sections. Section one is concerned with demographic information, section 2 with statements pertaining to a) reasons for students to cheat, b) modalities used to cheat on exams, and c) institutional context. Because cheating habits may be a touchy subject, a modified version of the Balanced Inventory of Desirable Responding (BIDR) was integrated into our questionnaire (D'Amours-Raymond, 2011) in order to take into account the effect of social desirability. Social desirability occurs when respondents tend to describe themselves favorably rather than answer accurately and truthfully (Paulhus, 2002). An online version of the questionnaire will be sent to all students of the five participating universities (n= 5000) from February to March 2018.
At this point in time, we can only anticipate the results based on the relevant literature since the data will be available only in April 2018. We are expecting to find a difference between men and women participants. However, because teaching is a traditionally women oriented profession it will be interesting to see if there are differences within women participants. As well, we expect variance between participating universities based upon specific university culture and the existence of differing policies on academic fraud. We can also anticipate results that will show an interaction between cheating and social desirability. Students with high score on the BIDR scale will possibly have a tendency to minimize their involvement in cheating. As well, with technology being unavoidable today (Blais, 2008), we predict its predominance over traditional methods of cheating.
Boon, H. J. (2011). Raising the Bar: Ethics Education for Quality Teachers. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 36(7). Christensen Hugues, J.M. et Mihgty, J. (Dir.) (2010). Taking stock: research on teaching and learning in higher education. Montréal, Québec: McGill-Queen’s University Press. Crittenden, V. L., Hanna, R. C. et Peterson, R. A. (2009). The cheating culture: A global societal phenomenon. Business Horizons, 52(4), 337-346. D'Amours-Raymond, J. (2011). Version abrégée du Balanced Inventory of Desirable Responding. (Mémoire de maîtrise non publiée), Université Laval : Québec, Canada. Dussault, M., Valois, P., et Frenette, É. (2007). Validation de l’Échelle de Leadership Transformatif du Directeur d’École. Psychologie du Travail et des Organisations, 13(2), 37-52. Ellahi, A., Mishtaq, R. et Khan, B. (2013). Multi campus investigation of academic dishonesty in higher education of Pakistan. International Journal of Education Management, 27(6), 647-666. Etter, B. K., Harding, T. S., Finelli, C. J. et Carpenter, D. D. (2004). The Role Of Moral Philosophy In Promoting Academic Integrity Among Engineering Students. 34th ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, Savannah, Georgia. Fontaine, S., Savoie-Zajc, L. et Cadieux, A. (2013). Évaluer les apprentissages. Démarche et outils d’évaluation pour le primaire et le secondaire. Anjou : Les éditions CEC. Foudjio Tchouata, C., Lamago, M. F. et Singo Njabo, C. R. (2014) Fraude aux examens et formation des enseignants : le cas de l’École normale supérieur de Yaoundé. Formation et profession, 22(3), 48-62. Laveault, D. (2014). Les politiques d’évaluation en éducation. Et après ? Éducation et francophonie, XLII:3, 1-14. Mark Chaput de Saintonge, D. et Pavlovic, A. (2004). Cheating. Medical Education, 38(1), 8-9. McCabe, D., Butterfield, K et Trevino, L. (2012). Cheating in College: Why Students Do It and What Educators Can Do about It. Johns Hopkins University Press. Kindle Edition, Baltimore. MEQ (2003). Politique d’évaluation des apprentissages. Québec : Gouvernement du Québec. Michaut, C. (2013) Les nouveaux outils de la tricherie scolaire au lycée. Recherche en éducation, 16, 131-141. Paulhus, D. L. (2002). Socially desirable responding: The evolution of a construct. Dans The Role of Constructs in Psychological and Educational Measurement. Braun, H., Jackson, D. et Whiley, D. (dir.), New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, publishers. (p. 51-73). Shei, C. (2005). Plagiarism, Chinese learners and western convention. Taiwan Journal of TESOL, 2(1), 97–113. Walker, J. (2010). Measuring plagiarism: researching what students do, not what they say they do. Studies in Higher Education, 35(1), 41–59.
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