Wednesday, July 4, 2012

How effective is a moral appeal in discouraging exam cheating

Several programs have introduced honor codes, especially MBA programs. Students promise not too copy, plagiarize or otherwise cheat, and in response the program administration does not put much in place in terms of surveillance. Simple game theory tells you that if there are few controls, this cannot work. And given that students try to cheat even when they are checked on, imagine what happens when there is no one to watch them. By the way, what influences cheating?

MichaƂ Krawczyk looks at an experiment where students were told cheating was wrong and then took at test. Statistical analysis is then used to figure out who still cheated, which is preferable to notoriously unreliable self-reports. It turns out that a one-time appeal to moral values is not a good deterrent. Also, self-reports of cheating, about the current experiment or in the past, are highly unreliable. Finally, the boys cheat more. No surprise here.

No comments: