From elementary school to university, learners don’t cheat for the same reasons

Most students have cheated at least once during their school career, a constant trend over time and happening worldwide. Studies that have examined the phenomenon also corroborate that cheating peaks in high school. Two French sociologists who have studied the issue have shown that people do not cheat for the same reasons in elementary, high school and university. Here are the main reasons people cheat at these different stages of their school career.

Elementary. The main reasons for cheating are fear of being punished, rejected by peers, or humiliated by the teacher.

High school. Students are more likely to cheat in subjects they consider less important to devote their energy to those that matter more. Other factors that may increase the risk of cheating among high school students include: viewing the act as a trivial behaviour (Jensen et al., 2002), having an adversarial relationship with one’s parents, and fearing unfavourable comparison with other students (Bong, 2008).

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