Plagiarism: Facts & Stats

Academic Integrity in High School

The Josephson Institute Center for Youth Ethics surveyed 43,000 high school students in public and private schools and found that:

  • 59% of high school students admitted cheating on a test during the last year. 34% self-reported doing it more than two times.
  • One out of three high school students admitted that they used the Internet to plagiarize an assignment

For more survey results from the “2010 Report Card on the Ethics of American Youth,” see

In a survey of 24,000 students at 70 high schools, Donald McCabe (Rutgers University) found 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.

Academic Integrity in College and Graduate School

A survey of over 63,700 US undergraduate and 9,250 graduate students over the course of three years (2002-2005)--conducted by Donald McCabe, Rutgers University--revealed the following:

  • 36% of undergraduates admit to “paraphrasing/copying few sentences from Internet source without footnoting it.”
    • 24% of graduate students self report doing the same
  • 38% admit to “paraphrasing/copying few sentences from written source without footnoting it.”
    • 25% of graduate students self report doing the same
  • 14% of students admit to “fabricating/falsifying a bibliography”
    • 7% of graduate students self report doing the same
  • 7% self report copying materials “almost word for word from a written source without citation.”
    • 4% of graduate students self report doing the same
  • 7% self report “turning in work done by another.”
    • 3% of graduate students self report doing the same
  • 3% report “obtaining paper from term paper mill.”
    • 2% of graduate students report doing so

Additional survey data from McCabe: Graduate Students Undergraduates*

Number Responding: ~17,000 71,300

% who admit cheating on tests: 17% 17%
% who admit cheating on written assignments: 40% 40%
% Total who admit written or test cheating: 43% 43%

*Excluding first year students, code schools, and two year schools. Surveys conducted between Fall 2002 and Spring 2011 by Donald McCabe

Data provided by International Center for Academic Integrity

Notable Smaller-Scale Surveys and Scandals

Survey by David Wangaard and Jason Stephens of over 3,600 students in six New England-area high schools found that 95% of students admitted to cheating in the past year. In addition, 57% of these students agreed/strongly agreed with the statement, “It is morally wrong to cheat.”

Stuyvesant High School newspaper, The Spectator, survey of 2,045 students in March found that 80 percent said they had cheated in one way or another.

Seven College Cheating Scandals (short summaries):

  • MBA Students at Duke
  • Maryland Professor “sting”
  • Naval Academy Students
  • Henry Ford II
  • UVa
  • GMAT cheating
  • Indiana University School of Dentistry

Recent Harvard scandal

Fareed Zakaria

Jonah Lehrer