D. Stănescu, L. Radu

National University of Political Studies and Public Administration (ROMANIA)
Debates on cheating and other forms of academic dishonesty have gained momentum worldwide, with internet and other open sources puting additional pressures on an already messy academic conduct. For example, in a study done by the Gallup Organization (October 6-9, 2000), the top two problems facing the United States are:
1) Education, and
2) Decline in Ethics (both were ranked over crime, poverty, drugs, taxes, guns, environment, and racism, to name just a few).

Surprisingly, the rate of students who admit to cheating at least once in their college careers has been rather constant - around 75%, with very small variations – since the first major survey on cheating in higher education in 1963 (Lang, 2013). This means that the envisaged solutions to tackle this issue have been rather ineffective or simply inaapropiate.

The paper seeks to investigate the complex relationship between academic dishonesty (i.e. fraudulence, plagiarism, falsification, delinquency, unauthorized help), peer pressure, and perceived self-efficacy. We claim that academic dishonesty is positively correlated to peer pressure and negatively correlated to perceived self-efficacy. We support our claim through a quantitative research implemented in a publicly-funded Romanian university by means of three questionnaire types – the Perceived Self-Efficacy subscale from the Student Approaches to Learning (Marsh et al., 2006); the Peer Pressure Questionnaire Adapted from NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development; and the Academic Dishonesty Questionnaire consisted of 39 items adapted from Pavela (1978), and Cizek (2003) descriptors. Our findings are based on the answers provided by 153 undergraduate and postgraduate students.

We also aimed at presenting the prevalence of the phenomena, the associated motivations and the role of contextual factors such as peer pressure.

This research provides some valuable insights on how educational institutions and other relevant stakeholders might develop or adjust relevant policies, so that the roots and not only the effects of academic dishonesty are properly approached.