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Cheating

  • By: Jill D. Sharkey & Stacy L. O'Farrell
  • In: Encyclopedia of School Psychology
  • Edited by: Steven W. Lee
  • Subject:School/Educational Psychology (general), School Psychology, Educational Psychology

In the schools, cheating can be defined as any means by which a student breaks rules in order to gain an unfair advantage over classmates on an assignment or exam. The literature has demonstrated that cheating is widespread and increasing in its prevalence (Schab, 1991). For example, Schab found a large increase of endorsements on a measure of cheating given over three decades that included questions such as, “Have you used a cheat sheet on a test?” Among other research, such findings suggest that cheating has become an accepted behavior among students.

Within a developmental framework, cheating behavior can be understood through Lawrence Kohlberg's model of moral reasoning (Powers & Powers, 1997). According to this model, motivation for learning changes from obeying authority in early childhood ...

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