Research Matters

Research Matters

Homework Copying


The history of students who copy homework from classmates may be as old as school itself. But in today's age of lecture-hall laptops and online coursework, how prevalent and damaging to the education of students has such academic dishonesty become?

Aired April 3, 2010



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Transcript


A new investigation reveals the frequency and cost of copying college homework. From the University of Kansas, this is Research Matters. I'm Brendan Lynch.

The history of students who copy homework from classmates may be as old as school itself. But in today's age of lecture-hall laptops and online coursework, how prevalent and damaging to the education of students has such academic dishonesty become?

Young-Jin Lee, assistant professor of Educational Technology at KU, has teamed up with colleagues from MIT to get a better handle on copying in college in the 21st century.

Lee: MIT freshmen are required to take physics. Homework was given through a web-based tutor that our group had developed. We analyzed when they logged in, when they logged out, what kind of problems they solved and what kinds of hints they used.

Lee said that it was easy to spot students who had obtained answers from classmates prior to completing the homework.

Lee: We ran into very interesting students who could solve the problems - very hard problems - in less than one minute, without making any mistakes.

The research showed that students who procrastinated also copied more often. Those who started their homework three days ahead of deadline copied less than 10 percent of their problems, while those who dragged their feet until the last minute were repetitive copiers.

Lee: People believe that students copy because of their poor academic skills. But we found that repetitive copiers - students who copy over 30 percent of their homework problems - had enough knowledge, at least at the beginning of the semester. But they didn't put enough effort in. They didn't start their homework long enough ahead of time, as compared to non-copiers.

For more on homework copying, log on to Research Matters dot KU dot EDU. For the University of Kansas, I'm Brendan Lynch.

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Psst ... Research reveals frequency and cost of copying college homework

The history of students who copy homework from classmates may be as old as school itself. But in today's age of lecture-hall laptops and online coursework, how prevalent and damaging to the education of students has such academic dishonesty become?

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