5th July 2022
*** PRESS RELEASE ***
Important: for immediate release
New research shows that approximately 1 in every 6 university student in the UK has cheated in online exams this academic year
A survey of over 900 undergraduate students in the UK, commissioned by law group Alpha Academic Appeals and conducted in July 2022, has revealed that approximately 16% of students have cheated in online exams this academic year.
Of those students who admitted to cheating, only a very small minority - 5% - were caught by their institutions.
52% of the students surveyed knew people who had cheated in online assessments this academic year.
Despite the end of Covid restrictions, most universities continued with online assessments this summer instead of traditional in-person exams. 79% of students in the survey believed that it was easier to cheat in online exams than in exam halls.
The reported methods of cheating were mostly unsophisticated, showing the ease with which cheating occurs in remote assessments. Common methods included calling or messaging friends for help during the exam, using Google to search for answers on a separate device, or asking parents to read through answers prior to submission.
When asked about the morality of cheating in online assessments, 1/3 of students (33.2%) believed it was either not wrong or only mildly wrong.
Dr Daniel Sokol, a former university lecturer and lead barrister at Alpha Academic Appeals, explained: “we commissioned this research to find out the prevalence of cheating in online exams, promising respondents complete anonymity. This is not research that universities would typically conduct as the findings, if known, would most likely damage the reputation of the institution.”
“The research shows that cheating is a major problem in academic institutions in the UK and that far more needs to be done to tackle it. Sadly, there is little appetite for universities to recognise the significance of the problem, but it is of great importance to employers who rely on degree grades to aid recruitment. For some subjects, like medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy, cheating in exams can result in unqualified students graduating and exposing others to risk of serious harm.” said Dr Sokol.
“It is a sobering thought that nearly 1 in 6 of this year’s students have admitted to cheating in their exams. Let’s hope this research will prompt universities who intend to continue with online assessments to invest in the necessary human, financial and technical resources to ensure the integrity of the assessment process.”
Dr Daniel Sokol
London EC4Y 7EL
About Alpha Academic Appeals
Established in 2011, Alpha Academic Appeals consists of 15 barristers who assist students who seek to challenge unjust decisions of their universities.
Please see attachments below for copy of raw data and tabulated data. The data was collected through the Schlesinger Group in late June 2022/early July 2022.