Nearly three-quarters of college students cheat during their undergraduate careers, a startling number attributed variously to the laziness of today's students, their lack of a moral compass, or the demands of a hypercompetitive society.Read more...
Nearly three-quarters of college students cheat during their undergraduate careers, a startling number attributed variously to the laziness of today's students, their lack of a moral compass, or the demands of a hypercompetitive society. For James Lang, cultural or sociological explanations like these are red herrings. His provocative new research indicates that students often cheat because their learning environments give them ample incentives to try--and that strategies which make cheating less worthwhile also improve student learning. "Cheating Lessons "is a practical guide to tackling academic dishonesty at its roots.
Drawing on an array of findings from cognitive theory, Lang analyzes the specific, often hidden features of course design and daily classroom practice that create opportunities for cheating. Courses that set the stakes of performance very high, that rely on single assessment mechanisms like multiple-choice tests, that have arbitrary grading criteria: these are the kinds of conditions that breed cheating. Lang seeks to empower teachers to create more effective learning environments that foster intrinsic motivation, promote mastery, and instill the sense of self-efficacy that students need for deep learning.
Although cheating is a persistent problem, the prognosis is not dire. The good news is that strategies which reduce cheating also improve student performance overall. Instructors who learn to curb academic dishonesty will have done more than solve a course management problem--they will have become better educators all around.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-06-03
- Reviewer: Staff
As Lang (Life on the Tenure Track), an associate professor of English at Assumption College, observes from the start of this practical and insightful volume, “Cheating and higher education in America have enjoyed a long and robust history together.” Lang argues that we cannot blame cheating epidemics on students or institutions alone. The key, he says, is to understand factors that increase the likelihood of cheating (such as an emphasis on “high stakes” exams or performance in one situation versus overall mastery of material), and modify the learning environment to eliminate those factors. Using findings from cognitive theory, Lang examines why students cheat and offers suggestions to stem the tide. The most useful section of the book focuses on how teachers, by modifying teaching techniques and objectives, can engage students in ways that make them less likely to cheat. He uses studies of specific professors and their classes to illustrate his thesis about the relation between cheating and the learning environment. Whether tracking historical incidents of cheating to illustrate different factors, or discussing how university communities can talk to their students about academic dishonesty, Lang is an upbeat guide, effectively arguing that even small steps can help reduce the potential for cheating. (Sept.)