Master of Arts in Higher Education (MAHE) Theses

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Tim Herrmann

Second Advisor

Randall Dodge

Third Advisor

Skip Trudeau


Do college students understand what academic dishonesty is? To determine how students perceive cheating behaviors, 96 students from a small, mid-western, faith-based university were surveyed about their own cheating behaviors and their peers' cheating behaviors, while they were also presented with ethical dilemmas involving academic dishonesty. Approximately 91% of participants believed that 40% or fewer of their peers cheated. The actual cheating rate was 78%. Results indicate that students can often identify academic dishonesty, but they frequently rationalize cheating behaviors. Other results show that many students have narrow definitions of academic dishonesty or that they only consider obvious forms of cheating to be wrong.