According to a survey completed by a Harvard University newsletter, 17% of the school’s graduating class admitted to cheating on their schoolwork at some point during their time at the university.
Almost half of the class of 2014, 758 students, completed the survey, reports Katherine Timpf for Campus Reform.
Those surveyed guessed the numbers were actually much higher, suggesting, “53% of their peers had cheated on a homework assignment, 32% on a paper or take-home exam, and 14% on an in-class exam.”
Effective next semester, the school will put an academic honor code in place.
The school was part of a cheating scandal in 2012, in which 125 students participating in an “Introduction to Congress” class were investigated for cheating on a take-home final. The final was open book, but students were not to discuss the exam with each other. However, a teaching fellow grading the exams noticed similarities, stating “all the answers use the same (incorrect) reading of the course material in arguments that are identically structured.
The class in question had a reputation among students for being easy. Dr. Matthew Platt, who taught the class, suggested this himself at the beginning of the semester, making it known that attendance was not mandatory, and many A’s would be given out, writes Richard Perez-Pena for The New York Times.
The administrative board forced “somewhat more than half” of the students to withdraw from the college for a year, returning in September of 2013. Many of the students punished expressed concern over the incident, as it would be placed on their transcripts, available for graduate schools and employers to see.
Many of the accused hired lawyers, but it is not thought that any of them has sued Harvard.
“My sense was that the students who were asked to withdraw were the ones who borrowed other people’s answers,” said Robert Peabody, one of the lawyers who represented accused students. “Those that just collaborated and met with their classmates, but then wrote their own answers, those people got probation.”
As a result of the scandal, professors are much more vocal concerning ethics within their classes, and a presentation on cheating is given at freshmen orientation.
“While the vast majority of Harvard and other students do their work honestly, beginning this year Harvard College has implemented a new, more robust strategy of communicating with all students, particularly first-year students, about the importance – and the ways to achieve – academic integrity,” Neal wrote.
However, according to a recent survey conducted by the university’s newspaper, The Crimson, 10% of Harvard’s incoming class has admitted to cheating on exams in high school, with 42% admitting to cheating on homework assignments, writes Simon Moya-Smith for NBC News.
“We emailed the freshman class a completely anonymous survey,” Crimson President and undergraduate Robert S. Samuels told NBC News. “We took great lengths (to assure anonymity).”
The survey discovered that student-athletes were more likely to cheat, with 20% of the freshmen athletes surveyed admitting to cheating on exams. Only 9% of students who do not participate in sports admitted similar cheating.
The survey was completed by 80% of the 1,600 incoming freshmen it was emailed to.