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Academic
dishonesty is defined as the act of any dishonest or unjust behavior as an
intention to achieve better results on an exam, task, or paper (Miller, Murdock
& Groteweil, 2017). Various studies were found some modes of academic
dishonesty operations such as: in courses, research, and or exam. Form of
academic dishonesty behaviors that occurs old-fashion: cheating, plagiarism,
and collusion; and the others are new-fashion such as deception, technology
manipulation, misinterpretation, and paid impersonation. Information is
incredibly easy to access on the Internet, and devices such as phones put that
power, literally, into the palms of students’ hands. Many students entering
universities today face extraordinary amounts of pressure for results
academically, leading them to believe that cheating is necessary to succeed. Given
the high prevalence rate of academic dishonesty in institutions of higher
education, it is important to understand the factors that contribute to its
occurrence. In this paper I will be discussing different factors that affect
academic dishonest behaviors among students of University of Prishtina. Lacking
the studies made in this university I will refer to the studies made in other
countries and relate them in the context of the University of Prishtina.

In
school environments, there has been an influx of reports and news concerning
student cheating and dishonesty. Understanding why this phenomenon is on the
rise is extremely important (McCabe, Trevino & Butterfield, 2001).   According to (Olafson, Schraw and Kehrwald,
2014) the most usual excuses of why students cheat involve time pressure,
procrastination, the belief that academic dishonesty is already too widespread
to stop, the use of technology for buying information on the internet and also the
acceptance that cheating is necessary to get good grades. So when it comes to
cheating according to students there are many reasons why they chose to do so.

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According
to Colnerud & Rosander (2009) there are three categories of plagiarism to
be considered, “conscious deception”, “self-deception” and “ignorant
deception”. However in this paper the focus will be in the category of
“conscious deception” that is, as stated by Colnerud et al. (2009), purposeful
misconceiving.  In this paper

Different
studies show that contextual factors such as peer-related factors, large campuses,
fixed mindset, and cultural factors play a bigger part in academic dishonesty
behaviors rather than individual factors such as age, gender and GPA (McCabe et
al., 2001).  Peer-related factor appears
to be a huge impact in academic dishonesty, in a study made my McCabe et al.
(2002), was argued that academic dishonesty is positively related to the
acceptance of the academic integrity on campus. Meaning that if a student
witnesses academic dishonesty behaviors in his or her campus it is likely that
he or she will end up imitating the same behaviors. Thus, lack of acceptance and
adherence to the institution’s policy by faculty may lead to more cheating. Also
another specific reason that is related to the peer factor is that most of the
students do not consider it cheating if they are helping a friend, whether it
is in coursework or even in exams. The consequences for this are for which it
is implied that this is not morally wrong (Colnerud & Rosander, 2009). This
can be related to the students in the University of Prishtina, having in mind
that Kosovo’s’ society is a collectivist one, the level of collectivism
contributes to academic dishonesty because students will care more about the
welfare of the group or of their friends that the welfare of the individual
that is him or she (Thomas, 2016). This will lead in cheating or even helping
someone to cheat.

Studies
show that collectivism is highly related to mindset too. In a study conducted
by Thomas (2016), it is shown that Asian societies which practice collectivism
tend towards a fixed mindset. A fixed mindset can be defined as someone who
believes that he or she was born with skills and abilities and they cannot
change them. This implies that since these students believe that there is
little they can do to improve thus when they are dealing with a challenging
academic situation they will try the option of cheating.

 Even though individual factors are considered
as less important than contextual factors, however they too are correlated to
the academic dishonesty. Gender is a factor that has many contradictions, even
though McCabe et al.1997 in their studies show that males tend to cheat more in
exams than females, a study made by (Mardsen, Carroll & Neill 2005) relates
his gender issue with academic self-efficacy showing that females being in the
later years of study have more self-efficacy thus leading to less cheating in
exams. Students who evaluate highly their own capabilities and who achieve
higher than other students have the tendency to have less cheating behaviors. This
can be related to the issue of large group of students in a classroom that is
equivalent for the students in the University of Prishtina. Having a large
number of students in the classroom it makes impossible for the teacher to
dedicate to ever student individually, also it is impossible to control every
individual in exams. The faculty not doing nothing for what appears to be
obvious cheating  leads to the students
feeling frustrated and feeling that there is lack of equality or justice, as
well as having opportunities to cheat effect on the students with a low level
of self-efficiency thus making them incline in cheating behaviors
(Bichler-Robertson, Potchak & Tibbetts, 2003; McCabe, 2005).

 

Guilk
and Poslethwaite (2014) did a research about the relation of personality traits
with academic dishonesty. In their research it was found that students who are
conscientious and agreeable are less likely to involve in academic dishonesty.
Agreeable students are warm, trusting individuals and also they are concerned
with the welfare of others (Guilk and Poslethwaite, 2014), whereas
conscientious students are organized and strict to following the norms and
rules. To achieve their academic purpose, conscientious individuals will rather
plan and complete their work without engaging in dishonest behaviors; likewise
agreeable individuals will abstain from cheating in order to avoid conflicts
and not to harm the others.

Another
interesting fact that was found in different studies was that students often do
not completely understand the concept of academic dishonesty.  Studies made by (Trost, 2009; Ashworth,
Bannister, Thorne & Students on the Qualitative Research Methods Course
Unit 2006; Jurdi, Hage & Chow 2011) show that behaviors that normally
constitute academic dishonesty often there were not perceived as dishonest by
students. What is very concerning is the ignorance towards plagiarism. Numerous
students in these studies admitted that even midway through their studies they
were uncertain as to whether they are plagiarizing or not. This makes us
insinuate that sometimes students are not well informed about academic
dishonest behaviors and its consequences. As a student of University of
Prishtina in the first year of my studies I was not aware of what plagiarism is
or what consequences I would suffer in case I plagiarize. Such awareness was
made clear to me only in the second year of my studies. Therefore being aware
of the fact that most departments in the University of Prishtina tend not to
inform students about academic integrity policy it is understandable if most of
the students tend to commit academic dishonesty without even knowing what they
are doing.

 

Academic dishonesty
plays a major negative part in many academic institutions. In this survey was
clearly indicated that there are several different factors that affect in academic
dishonest behaviors, starting from contextual to individual and psychological
factors. These factors can be related to the students of University of
Prishtina since they have similar features as the participants in the studies
that were analyzed. However when it come to the students of the University of
Prishtina, without extensive studies made in this university is it rather hard
to certainly answer the question of which particular factors affect academic
dishonesty among these students

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