Journal of Arts, Literature, Humanities and Social Sciences JALHSS

Journal of Arts, Literature, Humanities and Social Sciences JALHSS ISSN: The Revelation of Reasons for Cheating at Open Educational College in Basra : A Questionnaire Study of Educational
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Journal of Arts, Literature, Humanities and Social Sciences JALHSS ISSN: The Revelation of Reasons for Cheating at Open Educational College in Basra : A Questionnaire Study of Educational College Students and their Attitudes towards Cheating Assist. Lect. Arafat Abd Ali Rakhees Open Educational College Basra - Iraq ABSTRACT Cheating is a global issue of concern not only in Iraq but also in other countries worldwide. This study investigates reasons behind college students' cheating during examination in addition to assessing their attitudes towards cheating in open educational college in Basra. This study will also examine instructors' opinions about the efficient methods to prevent or reduce cheating. The research participants include (2) instructors of various specializations out of (8) the number of instructors in open educational college in Basra and (100) students of the first, second, third and fourth stages in English department out of (117), the total number of students. The data is collected through an open-restricted questionnaire given to both instructors and students. 10 الكشف عن أسباب الغش في الكليت التربىيت الوفتىحت في البصرة: دراست استبيانيه لطالب الكليت التربىيت وهىقفهن تجاه الغش م.م. عرفاث عبذ علي رخيص الكليت التربىيت الوفتىحت البصرة - العراق الخالصت انغش هى قض ح عانم ح ن س ف انعزاق فحسة واوما ف غ زي مه انثهذان ف جم ع أوحاء انعانم. تثحث هذي انذراسح ف األسثاب انكامىح وراء انغش اثىاء االمتحان نذي طهثح انكه ح تاإلضافح إن تق م مىقفهم تجاي انغش ف انكه ح انتزتى ح انمفتىحح ف انثصزج. ستتىاول هذي انذراسح أ ضا اراء انتذر س ه حىل انطزق انفعانح نمىع أو انحذ مه انغش. شمم انثحث )2( تذر س مه مختهف انتخصصاخ مه مجمىع )1( عذد انتذر س ه ف انكه ح و )00( طانثا وطانثح مه انمزاحم األون, انثاو ح, انثانثح, وانزاتعح مه مجمىع )4( عذد انطالب ف قسم انهغح اإلوكه ز ح ف انكه ح انتزتى ح انمفتىحح ف انثصزج. تم جمع انث اواخ مه خالل االستث ان انمق ذ انمفتىح انذ اعط ان كم مه انتذر س ه وانطهثح. 10 Introduction Although cheating is considered a universal phenomenon, nowadays it extensively increases not only in schools but also in higher education where cheating becomes a growing problem and concern for universities. In fact, cheating phenomenon in school exams is the most serious problem faced by teachers. It widely impacts on education process, students' life and the community around it. Several theories have been applied to understand cheating. For instance, deterrence theory views cheating as a ''deviant behaviour [that can be] inhabited by direct proportion to the perceived probability and severity of punishment'' (Genereux & Mcleod, 199:688). Social learning theory, on the other hand, emphasizes ''the role of others particularly parents, peers and friends'' in reducing or encouraging cheating. Rational choice theory states that people may cheat because they consider not only the probable penalty results from cheating but also the possible rewards (ibid). Thus, cheating phenomenon indicates abnormal behaviour, or deviant and immoral behaviour that aims to falsify reality so as to achieve moral or material gain. The individual may also resorts to cheating to satisfy some needs of desires. In recent years, the phenomenon of cheating has emerged clearly in academic society especially among college students. Therefore, it becomes necessary to make known the modes of cheating, its reasons, and find the best methods that contribute to get rid of it totally or at least diminish it. The research aims at answering the following questions: 1-Why college students cheat? 2-What are the college students' attitudes towards cheating and practice of cheating? -What are the efficient methods to avoid cheating? The Scope of the Study The scope of the study is a sample of the instructors as well as the first, second, third and fourth stage students of the English department in open educational college in Basra. The Problem of the Study Cheating in exams is a widespread problem in higher education, and it has been observed that the prevalence of this problem is increasing. The Purpose of the Study The purpose of the present study is threefold: 1- To reveal the reasons behind college students' cheating. 2- To demonstrate college students' attitudes towards cheating. 101 - To show the efficient ways to minimize cheating from the instructors' viewpoints. Section One Theoretical Framework 1.1. Cheating: Definitions Cheating in examinations, course work and assignments, what is called ''academic dishonesty'', is common in many countries around the globe, and appears to be on the rise in recent years. It has reached from (8%) in 1960 to (7 %) in 1991, and many students have admitted that they have begun this behavior since they were in school (Kibler, 199:28). In fact, cheating is a signal of a lack of integrity and may negatively impact the quality of learning for all students whether they cheat or not. Research has shown that academic cheating may increase the chances of dishonesty following graduation. It does not stop on graduation day, but it can set patterns that continue on into careers. According to Sims (199), people who practice cheating during their academic life continue to do so at the workplace (Lim and See, 2001:262; Novotney, 2011:4). Then, the roots of cheating lie too often in schools where motivation is focused more on success and less on learning or understanding. So, cheating may be thought of as a social phenomenon induced by grading pressure at least as much as it is a phenomenon of individual character failure. From a sociological perspective, cheating is a social phenomenon which is against the social norms and values established by the society. It leaves its negative effects that are reflected clearly on the aspects of social life in the community. In Bowers' position (1964), ''cheating is conceptualized as a form of deviance... of the norms to which the members of a system are oriented and subsequent deviation from the expectations'' (cited in Raines et al, 2011:86). King, Guyete & Piotrowski (2009:4) define cheating as ''a transgression against academic integrity which entails taking an unfair advantage that results in a misrepresentation of a student s ability and grasp of knowledge.'' While Trenholm (2007:284) refers to cheating as ''academic dishonesty'' (cited in Moten Jr. et al, 201:19).In sum, cheating is the students' illegal use of different means and forms of fraud during their exams, usually for the purpose of achieving good grades. It provides unfair advantages and hinders learning. 10 1.2. Common Cheating Strategies Cheating includes everything from wrongfully getting information by looking at a neighbor s test to plagiarizing information in a term paper. Indeed, students are cheating in various forms. The most common practices used by students are using small pieces of paper, looking at the wall and transport from it, writing on the seat they sit upon, writing on the palm of the hand, writing on the ruler, using hand signals d upon with colleagues, writing on foot, talking with a colleague, or exchanging some papers with another colleague. Other ways of cheating include plagiarism, copying an assignment from one to another student, ''submitting someone else s work'', using books or internet to duplicate a particular text, and ''paying someone to do an assignment'' (Hosny and Shameem, 2014:748). One method of cheating is facilitated by the tutor himself as s/he deliberately leaves the room for a few minutes during examination so that the students can swap answers (ibid). Some tactics of cheating are meticulously planned; however, do not require creativity, what is called ''collaborative cheating''. That is, students who sit in the back seats of the classroom ''whisper answers back and forth to one another.'' Another method of cheating is ''tactical deployment'' which is ''a strategic way that... requires students to be situated in a zone of maximal surveillance in the proximity of someone who has studied for the exam, one who may or may not be an accomplice'' (Shon, 2006:1). This person is usually the smartest student in the class and he is unaware of cheating. Recently, electronic cheating is another form of cheating adopted by students. This term refers to the ''student violations of academic integrity through the use of any technology oriented device'' (King & Case, 2014:21). The current widespread use of the technologic devices like mobile and wireless devices has made it easier for students to cheat and illegally get as well as deliver information (Raines et al, 2011:80). At present, internet provides students with a multitude of educational resources, thereby a form of an internet cheating is generated and then plagiarism is facilitated, i.e., copying other people's words without documentation (Renard, 200:8). For instance, it becomes possible for unethical students to download completed papers from the internet and submit them as their own work (King & Case, 2014:21). Hence, academic institutions should be proactive to control and detect such instances of cheating. 1.. Why do Students Cheat? The reasons behind cheating in exams may vary from one culture and context to another depending on educational system, nature of examinations and the purpose for which the examinations are taken. They can be social, cultural, psychological and 102 educational. Frequently, students cheat either to avoid failure as their success and carriers depend on passing the examination, or to obtain higher grades than they are capable of. According to a study carried out by Genereux & Mcleod, the most likely circumstances that lead into students' cheating are low instructor vigilance, unfair exams, an instructor who does not care about cheating and dependence of financial support and long-term goals on good grades (199:287). Students may also resort to cheating as a result of the tremendous pressure from their family and other relatives to succeed academically and to ultimately get good jobs (Novotney, 2011:4). In a similar vein, Newberger (2000:28) stresses that students' ''desire to secure the best grades has become a paramount force that drives their education [and this] grading pressure is generated by the culture which make students use every available means to increase their class ranking.'' In study carried out by (Khodaie, Moghadamzadeh & Salehi, 2011:19), it is shown that ''difficult school subjects, not taking the teacher seriously, and lack of self-study'' are motivations and reasons for cheating. On the other hand, Simkin, & McLeod (2009:441) state that ''the desire to go ahead'' is the most common reason for cheating. Some researches have studied students' tendency to cheat and categorized the factors that lead to cheating into three namely: demographic, societal and technological and situational factors. Berry et al. (2006) declare that the demographic factors which are related to tendency to cheating include ''gender, engagement in extra-curricular activity, church attendance, age and the student s educational level (undergraduate and graduate).'' Ma et al. (2007) say that societal and technological factors comprise ''lack of awareness, peer culture, lack of punishment, absence of risk and pressure to achieve.'' Sheard et al. (2002) & Razera et al. (2010) assert that situational factors which motivate students to cheat are the boredom of studying, fear of failure, lack of time to study adequately and ''heavy workloads'' (cited in Hosny & Shameem, 2014:71). Moreover, ''direct knowledge of others' cheating'', as said by cognitive psychologist David Rettinger (2009), tends to be one of the biggest drivers of cheating s proliferation (Novotney, 2011:4). In other words, some students engage in cheating behaviour because of peer effects and because there are other students who cheat and get away with it. In accordance with research conducted by Stephens (200), students cheat more when the teacher is unvigilant or less caring during exam and when their motivation in the course is more focused on getting ahead rather than the learning process itself (Novotney, 2011:4). Some researchers as (Rehmani,201:2) attributes cheating in exams to the passive approaches of teaching which demand memorization from students rather than critical thinking and reflection a matter that make students practice cheating especially those who are ''weak at memorization or are not serious to do the preparation.'' Hosny & Shameem, (2014:70) sum up the reasons and the external motivators that contribute to academic cheating as follows: 10 peer culture, pressure to succeed, high family expectations, importance of good grades, external work commitments, heavy course loads, fear of future career damage, competition with other students and the limited time students have to complete assignments Ways to Prevent Cheating Generally speaking, the educational process is an interrelated unit that can not be separated or fragmented and relies mainly on three pillars: the teacher, the student and the curriculum. And, any deficiency in one of them affects the other. Therefore, the growing trend of cheating among students in higher education is considered the most dangerous vices to the community where falsehood and a loss of integrity prevail. Thus, it becomes necessary to work towards finding a solution to the spread of cheating phenomenon in the academic field as it ''is not only unethical but also compromises learning and undermines the evaluation process''(lim and See, 2001:27). Many ways are proposed to curtail the phenomenon of cheating in the academic field. One widely used technique to combat cheating is strictly punishing student who is caught with cheating. Other ways to prevent cheating is to increase students' awareness of the danger as well as seriousness of this offence besides the consequences involved thereof. This can be accomplished through teaching ethics courses and explaining non-ethical behaviours in each course. Students can be promoted to avoid cheating by ''publishing ethical codes of practice and teaching ethics courses'' as an essential part of the syllabus in university (Hosny and Shameem, 2014:749). Recent research shows that students who have morality are unlikely to be involved in cheating because they consider it morally wrong behaviour (Rawwas et al, 2004:89). In addition, studying and analysing students' attitudes towards cheating together with the reasons for committing it can contribute to solve this problem and surmount it (Hosny and Shameem, 2014:749). It is also suggested that each university should have ''an office of academic integrity to communicate to students and faculty that the university takes the issue of academic dishonesty seriously'' (Novotney, 2011:4). To head off internet plagiarism, teachers should teach their students how to document sources giving credit to the original authors and encourage writing as a creative process to express one's ideas and beliefs not as a tool to make the grade (Renard, 200:41-2). One beneficial method to foil cheating recommended by Christie (200) is ''the use of a class mole. The instructor could enroll as a student under a different name. When students discuss cheating amongst themselves the dishonest students 104 would be caught by the instructor while committing the offense'' (Moten Jr. et al, 201:144). From Genereux & Mcleod, (199:287), cheating can be decreased via ''high instructor vigilance, fair exams, high punishment for getting caught, essays exams, widely spaced exams seating and valuable course materials.'' Subscribing to this view, Kerkvliet & Sigmund (1999:) suggest that the number of proctors should be increased during exams and different versions of the exams rather than multiple choice items technique should be used to minimize students' cheating. Additionally, teachers should report incidences of cheating happen during examinations to the relevant authority and do not overlook it. More than this, providing students at the initial stage of the semester with guideline that clarifies ''the faculty members' expectations with respect to behaviour during tests'', and ''start a dialogue with students to discuss what constitutes cheating may deter this academic dishonesty'' (Lim and See, 2001:272). Not to mention, instructors should create an open and supportive environment wherein students can feel with ease to reveal their problems concerning their study and ask for advice a matter that helps them curb such dishonest behaviour. Added to this, teachers should avoid answering unnecessary questions by students during the exam and a non-related proctor should be used to monitor students, i.e., not the instructor of the course himself (Hosny and Shameem, 2014:74). Section Two A Questionnaire Study This section presents the results and discussion of the questionnaires that have been carried out to explore the reasons for practicing cheating alongside learners' attitudes towards cheating in the open educational college in Basra. Furthermore, it shows teachers' viewpoints concerning the effective techniques which can prevent or at least eliminate college students' cheating. The results obtained by those questionnaires are analyzed to demonstrate the reasons behind the prevalence of cheating in the academic field, the conception of students towards the ethicalness of exercising such practices and the best ways to confront this phenomena amongst the students Objectives of the Questionnaire The main objective of the questionnaires is to investigate the underlying reasons for practicing cheating in open educational college in Basra along with the students' 10 attitudes towards cheating. It is also designed to assess the effective methods which can prevent and lessen cheating from instructors' standpoints The Society of the Research The questionnaire forms are given to a specimen of (100) randomly chosen students of the first, second, third and fourth stages of English department and arbitrary samples of (2) tutors of various specializations at the open educational college in Basra. 2.. Methodology The present study has employed three open-restricted questionnaires as a tool to collect the objective information from the people in the sample. The students are divided into two groups, each with (0) students. The first group are given a questionnaire consists of (20) possible reasons for committing cheating and is intended to survey the students opinions about the relevance of these reasons to practicing cheating. The second group are given a questionnaire consists of (20) items regarding attitudes towards cheating and is aimed to investigate the extent to which students with each of these twenty items. A questionnaire consisting of (20) items, concerning ways to prevent cheating, is given to (2) instructors so as to demonstrate their ment and disment in reference to the efficient methods which can thwart cheating. Comments and suggestions obtained from the specialists of psychological and educational guidance are used to refine and to fine-tune the items together with the presentation of the questionnaires. The data obtained is statistically analyzed by means of the weighted average and centennial weight as stated in (Fisher, 196:27). The results got will be displayed and discussed according to their rank and order with reference to the weighted average and centennial weight Reasons behind Practicing Cheating The results of the questionnaire about the reasons of cheating indicate that (74%), out of the (0) students participated, that the anxiety of exams and fear of failure besides the strong desire of success and transition to a higher stage are the most reasons for practicing cheating in the college. Others about (72%) consider that student's desire to rise his status and value in society, regardless of the method is one possible reason to cheat. Whereas, (71%) have d that not preparing enough for the exam as well as the weakness of religious faith for some students make them cheat. Alt
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