Academic dishonesty is synonymous with cheating. Cheating can refer to a situation in which authors ask others to write a part of a document or the entire document.
High schools and colleges in the U.S. have unique policies for addressing plagiarism. Some colleges, for example, expel students after their first offense; others place an “FF” on the student’s transcript, creating a permanent blemish on the student’s academic record.
Students are guilty of academic dishonesty when they
- Secretly arrange to have an entire document written for them by other individuals and then submit the ghost-written material to their instructor.
- Copy all or part of passages from a work written by others without properly attributing sources.
- Receive unacknowledged assistance from others.
- Submit the same paper to multiple courses (without permission).
Web sites that sell student essays are increasingly popular. Sites such as SchoolSucks.Com receive over 40,000 hits a day, and there are literally dozens of such sites. In a recent national survey of 4,500 students conducted by the Rutgers Management Education Center, 75 percent of the students report they routinely cheat. In a survey of students at Penn State, 44 percent of the students reported cheating on college assignments.
In response, educators are fighting back. Many instructors now:
- Require students to visit Web sites that define plagiarism and review conventions for citing sources.
- Require students to sign honor codes.
- Use software tools to check documents that seem questionable.
- Design writing assignments that are so specialized that substitutes are not easily found online.