Carnegie Mellon University

Eberly Center

Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation

Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation
Step 3: Explore Strategies

Explore potential strategies.

My students cheat on assignments and exams.

Some students might feel an obligation to help certain other students succeed on exams — for example, a fraternity brother, sorority sister, team- or club-mate, or a more senior student in some cultures.

Students are not just intellectual beings. We have to consider them holistically and realize that their behavior is shaped by a wide spectrum of social, cultural, and moral values and experiences. A vast body of research demonstrates that students are more likely to cheat when they view cheating not as an intrinsically negative act, but rather as a neutral one. One of the more common neutralization techniques is the appeal to a more salient (for the students) value system. More highly valued moral principles might include loyalty to a close friend or cultural norms that bid the student to respect and obey to their seniors.


State firmly your policy and its consequences.

State firmly your policy and its consequences.

While you cannot eradicate competing value systems from the students’ psyches, a clear statement can help students make informed choices in the face of complex moral dilemmas. The university policy explicitly states that cheating is not only receiving inappropriate help, but also providing it, so you can reference it.

This site supplements our 1-on-1 teaching consultations.
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