Motivational Predictors of Academic Cheating Among First-Year College Students: Goals, Expectations, and Costs.

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Title: Motivational Predictors of Academic Cheating Among First-Year College Students: Goals, Expectations, and Costs.
Author: Sieman, Ashley Mouberry
Advisors: Audrey Jaeger, Committee Co-Chair
Joy Gaston Gayles, Committee Co-Chair
Alyssa Bryant, Committee Member
Larry Moneta, Committee Member
Abstract: Academic cheating is a persistent and pervasive problem that threatens the core values of higher education (Burnett, Rudolph, & Clifford, 1998; McCabe, Trevino, & Butterfield, 2001a; Whitely & Keith-Spiegel, 2002). While a significant amount of research has been devoted to exploring the problem of student cheating, much of what exists is descriptive in nature and lacks an overarching, theoretically-based, conceptual framework. This study aimed to fill this gap in the existing literature by proposing and testing a theoretically-based conceptual model of the motivational predictors of academic cheating using a population of first-year college students. The model used in this study was developed based on the combined work of Murdock and Anderman (2006) and Harding, Mayhew, Finelli, & Carpenter (2007) and relied generally on expectancy value theory and, specifically, on the theory of planned behavior, to explore how goals, expectations, and costs influence first-year college students’ decisions to cheat. The proposed model was tested using a quantitative web-based survey instrument that was administered during the spring of 2008 to all 4,462 full-time, second semester, first-year students attending a large, public, land grant, institution located on the east coast of the United States. Data were analyzed using a variety of quantitative statistical techniques including multiple and hierarchical regression, general linear modeling, and structural equation modeling. Results provided support for the use of expectancy value theory and, specifically, the theory of planned behavior, as a theoretical model for understanding how motivational factors influence students’ decisions to cheat. Results showed that goals and expectations are important for understanding how students’ perceive the costs associated with cheating and that attitudes toward cheating and past cheating behavior are among the strongest predictors of intention to cheat and actual cheating behavior. Implications for practice and future research are presented and discussed.
Date: 2009-04-13
Degree: EdD
Discipline: Higher Education Administration

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