According to the Wall Street Journal, students from other countries studying in United States universities are more likely to be caught cheating than students who grew up in the US.
The Wall Street Journal analyzed data from 14 large public universities, and found that there were 5.1 allegations of intellectual dishonesty for every 100 international students, but only one for every 100 American students.
At almost every school, non-Americans were caught cheating twice as much as Americans. At some universities, non-Americans had a rate nearly eight times as high.
According to interviewed faculty, it’s a cultural difference: non-American students either don’t understand academic standards in the US, or they don’t accept them because of differences in beliefs about success in academic environments. Chinese students were singled out as most likely to be caught cheating.
Fox News quoted professor Beth Mitchneck, who said:
Cheating among Chinese students, especially those with poor language skills, is a huge problem.
Students from China weighed in on the phenomenon as well. Lanqing Wang, a student from Shanghai studying at the Georgia Institute of Technology, said:
In China, it’s OK to cheat as long as you’re not caught.
Paidi Shi, who is the vice president of a student group for Chinese students at the University of California at San Diego, said:
In China, our culture puts a lot of pressure on students. We are more likely to find a shortcut to get a good grade.
Others blamed the pattern on bias, saying that professors might be more likely to catch non-American students cheating. For example, if an American student and a Venezuelan student both turned in plagiarized papers, the professor might accept the American student’s assignment without question but become suspicious at the sudden increase in the quality of the Venezuelan student’s written English.
However, some believe that academic dishonesty is a more complicated problem than it might seem at first glance. Universities may not want to lose the high tuition that non-American students pay even if they are caught cheating.
Mitchneck, a University of Arizona professor, said:
I can assure you that somewhere someone at the university is doing a calculus about how much tuition they would lose if they start coming down hard on students who cheat.
According to Abby Jackson of Business Insider, the WSJ asked 50 public universities with a large population of non-American students for their data, but only 14 were able to produce the kind of data the Journal was looking for.
Cheating among non-American students, particularly those from and in China, is a well-documented problem. Recently, testing scams have been investigated in which students would pay others to take tests like the SAT or GRE. Last year, more than a dozen students from China were arrested for participating in such an arrangement.
Additionally, more international students are studying in the US, according to Blake Neff of the Daily Caller. China is the largest source, with 165,000 students in the US this year, with Saudi Arabia and South Korea tied for second at roughly 50,000 students each. According to Julia Glum of the International Business Times, they add a total of $31 billion to the US economy.