Date of Award

Spring 2007

Access Restriction

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctorate in Education

Department

Education

School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Shane P. Martin, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Fr. Tom Batsis, O.Carm, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Kristen R. Anguiano, Ph.D.

Abstract

Academically dishonest behaviors pose a major threat to education. High rates of cheating have been reported at all levels of education, and by most accounts seem to be on the rise. Classroom environment research has demonstrated that environments created by classroom teachers have a significant impact on many aspects of education. Using a mixed methods approach, the current study investigated the relationship between cheating and the high school classroom environment. Quantitative data were collected from two surveys. The Academic Integrity Survey (AIS) asked students to self report cheating behaviors, and the Classroom Environment Scale (CES) asked students about their perceptions of the classroom environment. Qualitative data were collected from classroom observations and student interviews. The results of this study indicate that the classroom environment is significantly related to student cheating; the more positive the environment, the less students will cheat. Regression analyses indicated that 2 CES subscales, order and organization and involvement, were negatively related to student cheating and explained 40% and 23% of the variance respectively. The regression analyses also indicated that 3 other study variables, school sports participation, after school employment, and grade level were positively related to student cheating and explained 15%, 12%, and 11% of the variance, respectively. Qualitative analyses yielded 5 major findings. It was found that students cheat more in environments where students are not involved, that lack order and organization, and that lack teacher control. Students cheat more when their teachers are oblivious and are not respected, and larger systemic issues are related to student cheating behaviors. This study represents rare attempts to access the student perspective on cheating as well as to understand teachers’ role in student cheating. This study concludes that teachers can reduce the rates of cheating in their classes by improving their classroom environments, especially in the areas of order and organization and student involvement, and by increasing their use of authentic standards based assessments. However, most of these improvements will only impact students’ opportunity to cheat. Educators will have a difficult time affecting students’ desire to cheat until larger systemic problems with the current educational system are addressed.

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