Can Priming Legal Consequences and the Concept of Honesty Decrease Cheating During Examinations?

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The Bottom Line

Reminding students at the beginning of an assessment of the legal consequences of cheating and the importance of honesty is ineffective at reducing cheating.

Research Summary

Universities often require students to sign honor pledeges or codes of conduct prior to taking an assesment. This study sought to understand whether priming students before an assessment about the legal consequences of cheating and the importance of honesty would deter cheating. The basic rational is that if students have these concepts fresh in their minds they should be less likely to cheat. The authors examined 788 freshman at a Chinese university and found that these priming strategies were ineffective. These findings suggest that students are not deterred by being reminded of the perceived consequences of cheating and breaking honor codes. However, other research identified by EXAMIND suggests that reminding students during rather than before the assessment may reduce cheating.

Key Takeaways

1. Pre-Exam Warnings Fail to Reduce Cheating

Informing students of the consequences of cheating before an exam fails to reduce cheating in exams.

2. Pre-Exam Honor Codes Fail to Reduce Cheating

Asking students to sign a statement of honesty before an exam also fails to reduce cheating in exams.

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