Donna Lesser


Academic dishonesty is a well-documented problem in higher education. While numerous actions and/or behaviors are attributed to threatening academic integrity, the vernacular term used by both students and faculty is "cheating". Although there has been a substantial amount of research on academic integrity and dishonesty in general, little is known about the community college environment or whether faculty and students agree as to what behaviors actually constitute cheating. As the behaviors and actions range from those that are individual, collaborate, or involve the use of the Internet; perceptions about the severity of the actions associated with defined consequences also needed to be explored. Targeting California community college students and faculty, a network sampling technique solicited 59 students and 56 faculty members through social media sites, including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, along with the researcher's personal network of colleagues and students. Two web-based surveys, 1 for each population, were developed based on findings in the literature. The content validation process resulted in 17 behaviors grouped into 3 categories based on the nature of the behavior. Participants were asked whether they believed the behavior to be cheating and if so, to rate the severity of the cheating behavior considering their associated consequences. Students and faculty were in agreement that 11 of the 17 behaviors were cheating and 5 of the 17 were not while there were differences in opinions regarding the severity and appropriate consequences for some of these behaviors. Behaviors considered to be collaborative had more variation in opinions regarding whether they were cheating, the severity and the deserved consequence than independent related or Internet related behaviors. Internet related behaviors had a high level of agreement between faculty and students and had similar opinions on the severity and consequences of these behaviors. To increase and enhance the understanding of academic dishonesty at community colleges, it is recommended that this study be replicated to include a larger sample of California community college students and faculty. Lastly, community college administrators are encouraged to assess their policies and procedures on academic dishonesty, specifically behaviors associated with cheating, for clarity and appropriateness of their associated consequences.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Learning technologies; Cheating (Education); College students -- United States -- Conduct of life; Community college students

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Davis, Kay D.;