The Real Problem with Academic Fraud

Academic fraud has been around for centuries but the issue around it is just starting to surface.  With the internet advancing, it has become increasingly easier for students to cheat and plagiarize work.  However, it’s not entirely the student’s fault for committing academic fraud.  While everyone is taught that cheating is bad, there are still a lot of students that cheat because they see it as the only option.

Over the past decades, academic fraud has increased drastically.  The Educational Testing Service created an Academic Cheating Fact Sheet.  Of these facts includes, “Grades, rather than education, have become the major focus of many students.”   This is largely due to the increase in pressure for good grades.   Nowadays, it seems the only way to get into a good college is to have good grades and a high GPA.  For most students, this doesn’t come easy.  Powerful Learning Practice created an article explaining this issue.  They said that, “kids who we consider ‘academic’ tend to be good hoop jumpers.”   This means that they learned an easy way to get good grades and they took it.  Most of the time, this includes cheating.

When asked about this issue, Patti Baker, a college graduate said that the reason cheating is so popular is because it’s easy.  Before graduating in 1992, she said she had only seen around five people being punished for cheating on a test in her entire academic career.  Most of these people were told to never do it again.

While cheating is not the only form of academic fraud, it does seem to be one of the only known forms.  A study was done with two high school students, one college student, and two college graduates were all asked to define what academic fraud was and every single one of them replied that it was cheating on an assignment.  Only the current enrolled students included plagiarizing in their definition.  When asked if they had ever been taught about academic fraud the two college graduates said that they had never.  One of them, Justin Williams, even stated, “I didn’t know what plagiarism was until I got to college and I read a flier saying not to do it.”

While cheating and plagiarizing are the biggest known causes of academic fraud, there are so much more.  The University of Virginia states that academic fraud also includes fabrication of data and information, bribery towards teachers, sabotaging other student’s work, and impersonating another student.  When informed of this information, most sources were surprised to find that all of that fell under the umbrella of “academic fraud.”

Even though people are told that they shouldn’t cheat, there are many other reasons they could be committing academic fraud.  It shouldn’t be the student’s fault they simply didn’t know what they were doing.



ENGR110/210: Perspectives in Assistive Technology – Academic Cheating Fact Sheet. (n.d.). Retrieved April 29, 2016, from

What Is Academic Fraud? (n.d.). Retrieved April 29, 2016, from

Wright, S. (2013, November 07). Academic Teaching Doesn’t Prepare Students for Life. Retrieved April 29, 2016, from