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The Boston Globe

Ideas

How college classes encourage cheating

Our universities motivate students to be dishonest. Here’s how to fix them.

When the fall semester opens at Harvard University in just a few short weeks, the campus will still be echoing from the cheating scandal last year that saw the suspension of more than 60 students in a government course.

The scandal grabbed attention because of the shock value of the headline’s pairing: Harvard students and cheating. Most commentators zeroed in on the students—apparently lazy and dishonest, for all their talent—or on the hypercompetitive culture of America’s most prestigious university. Still others suggested that cheating has become commonplace in our schools as the result of the increasingly amoral larger society in which they operate.

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