Research in Higher Education

, Volume 40, Issue 4, pp 487–498


  • Kim Pulvers
  • George M. Diekhoff


The present study examined the relationshipbetween college classroom environment, academiccheating, and the neutralization (justification) ofacademic cheating. Two-hundred eighty undergraduatestudents from two liberal arts colleges in the Midwestparticipated in the study. Participants completed theCollege and University Classroom Environment Instrument(CUCEI) and the Survey on Academic Dishonesty (SAD), with instructions to complete thesequestionnaires (anonymously) in a manner that woulddescribe their perceptions, behavior, and attitudes inthe class in which the survey was completed. Three CUCEI scales were identified that discriminatedsignificantly between admitted cheaters and noncheaters.Cheaters described their classes as significantly lesspersonalized, satisfying, and task oriented than did noncheaters. Together, the seven scales ofthe CUCEI explained 4% of the variance in cheatingbehavior. Six CUCEI scales were found to be correlatedsignificantly with a measure of cheating neutralization. Specifically, neutralization increased withdecreases in perceived classroom personalization,involvement, student cohesiveness, satisfaction, taskorientation, and individualization. Together, the seven scales of the CUCEI explained 14% of thevariance in neutralization. It is concluded thatclassroom environment is a significant situationalvariable in academic dishonesty, as both cheatingbehavior and attitudes toward cheating are related toperceptions of classroom environment.


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© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kim Pulvers
  • George M. Diekhoff

There are no affiliations available

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