Psychology Article Review on Identifying and Profiling Scholastic Cheaters



Historically, graduates have confessed that at one point during their lives as students, in one way or the other they have at some point cheated. Research carried out in 2008 indicates that the number keeps growing yearly. Situations have had a hand in influencing the trend and this has been happening majorly because most students did not prepare for their examinations as expected or poor scholastic behaviors. Cheating in the modern day has also grown a notch higher with the recent innovations. Tutors also have advanced mechanisms to detect plagiarism and other forms of fraud from their students. With numerous shortcomings overshadowing the research, such as the omission of a personality test, scholars continue to delve deep into this field of study.


The primary method used to conduct this survey on cheating was questionnaires. The participants made sure that they did not attach any materials that would lead to their identification or require the use of their registration numbers, their names so that they would give accurate and freely express themselves through the questionnaires being used. This method also helped the researcher target certain aspects through closed questions and understand his target audience more through open-ended questions in the polls.


The study involved two hundred and forty-nine participants in their second year of study – who took it as credit for their course. The class was predominantly made up of two origins: native English students and a minority of Asian descent.


Procedure and Materials

The students signed up for the battery of psychological tests, with various categories included in the study. They manually completed their questionnaires and later submitted them before signing to get credits for their course. The materials consisted of well-structured questionnaires, with personality scales and misconduct scales.

Type of Study

The use of the questionnaire to get information from the students qualifies the type of education to be one with survey method. The researchers did the analysis of the data to suit their needs. Besides, researchers have to be very cautious in this kind of research; they have to carefully design both open-ended and closed questions so as to take full advantage from the research they want to conduct regarding the specific target topic.


The results of the study was an observation of coding any student with non-zero score on the two-item index as a cheater. According to the results, about 73% of the students admitted to have committed cheating during their study in high school. Rate of plagiarism was reported to be 38.8% and continued to rise as students further their studies.  The rates of cheating varies according to gender with males having higher rates. The greatest contributor of cheating was found to be personality. The individuals with alpha personality reported lower rates. The items used to gauge cheating were copying of assignment and cheating during a test. The results of the test were as shown in the table.

Results: Interco relation and descriptional statistics for personality measure and plagiarism

Dark Triad
1.      Psychopathy (.88) .49** .33** .03 -.58 -.39 .03 -.04 -.14 .22*(.30)
2.      Machiavellianism (.77) .23** -.10 -.45 -.30* -.08 -.13 .01 .14*[.19]
3.      Narcissism (.81) -.36* -.21* -.06 .19 .17 -.10 .12*[.16]
Big Five
Extraversion (.88) .11 .13 .24* .19 -.04 .08[-.26]
Agreeableness (.77) .22* .32* .14 .05 -.20*[-.26]
Conscientiousness (.78) .22* .14 .05 -.06[-.08]
Stability (.80) .14 .21* .03[-.04]
Openness (.71) .38* -.07[-.09]
Verbal ability (.90) -.14*[-.19]



Academic cheating among students. Cheating may involve mainly plagiarism or in some cases, stealing of tests. A penalty on all students was decided on, and the majority of those who had plagiarized work would score a single mark for all their essays. At least a single student out of fifteen would indulge in the vice of plagiarism in their essays. Tutors would later decide to use an online mechanism to detect plagiarism, and it was ethically approved from within and accepted by the whole boards tasked with the same. The number of self- reported cases of cheating were almost negligible with only two students out of the total coming forth to confess that indeed they have participated in the vice.