Academic Plagiarism, Then and Now

Julia Raspanti, Staff Writer

Throwback alert! Click on the image to read an October, 1982 Paper Lion article about cheating. Be on the lookout for our special Throwback Edition coming in a few weeks!

In 1982, the sociology class at Farmingdale High School conducted a survey about academic plagiarism. The survey investigated different types of cheating: plagiarism, cheat sheets, copying homework, and giving and receiving exam questions and answers in advance. The survey was open to the entire student body, and showed that 62% of participants felt that the stated types of plagiarism were acceptable. The results showed that honors and AP students polled higher in cheating than general courses students, which might be surprising to some people, since honors and AP level students tend to be viewed as being held to higher standards, both academically and morally. 

I began thinking about whether or not these numbers have changed after almost 40 years. A study done in 2020 by the International Center for Academic Integrity (ICAI) spanned over 24 high schools and reached over 70,000 students nationwide “demonstrated that 64 percent of students admitted to cheating on a test, 58 percent admitted to plagiarism, and 95 percent said they participated in some form of cheating, whether it was on a test, plagiarism or copying homework.” 

Since the 1982 study was exclusive to Farmingdale High School, and the 2020 ICAI study was national, we can’t say if these numbers increased or decreased. That said, it is fair to say that cheating is still very common among high schoolers.  This raises the question: Why do students cheat? 

An article by Andrew Simmons, a high school teacher and writer, found that students cheat for a number of reasons. Students might cheat because they don’t find value in the work they have been assigned. Students who strive for perfect grades may turn to cheating to ensure a high score, while other students who care more about academic validation may cheat to make sure they are praised. The article also said that students are aware that cheating is wrong but they rationalize it under the idea that they have valid reasons to cheat.  

We know how Farmingdale students felt about cheating in 1982, then took a look at a national study from 2020. So now the question is: How do FHS students feel about cheating now? Be on the lookout for a survey and a follow-up article.


“Facts and Statistics,” Academic Institute for Academic Integrity

“Why Students Cheat– And What to Do About It,” by Andrew Simmons