Research into cheating at the college and university began in 1990 by Dr. Donald McCabe, one of the founders of ICAI. This research continues today, spearheaded by ICAI and its members.

McCabe’s original research and subsequent follow-up studies show that more than 60 percent of university students freely admit to cheating in some form.

In March 2020, ICAI researchers tested an updated version of the McCabe survey with 840 students across multiple college campuses. This work showed the following rates of key cheating behaviors:

  • Cheated in any way on an exam
  • facts and stats 1

  • Getting someone else to do your academic work (e.g. essay, exam, assignment) and submitting it as your own.
  • facts and stats 2

  • Using unauthorized electronic resources (e.g. articles, Wikipedia, YouTube) for a paper, project, homework or other assignments.
  • facts and stats 3

  • Working together on an assignment with other students when the instructor asked for individual work.
  • facts and stats 4

  • Paraphrasing or copying a few sentences or more from any source without citing it in a paper or assignment you submitted.
  • facts and stats 5


*This includes data from 5 institutions including a private university, two large public universities, a small public university, and a small private liberal arts college

Rettinger, et al. (2020) in prep


Cheating in High School

McCabe also conducted surveys of over 70,000 high school students at over 24 high schools in the United States. This work 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.



Admitted to cheating on a test

Admittedto plagiarism

Participated in some form of cheating


More about Don McCabe’s surveys and statistics, including sources for these statistics, is available in his excellent book Cheating in College.