Factors associated with online examination cheating

Michael Henderson, Jennifer Chung, Rebecca Awdry, Matthew Mundy, Mike Bryant, Cliff Ashford, Kris Ryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Online examinations are a common experience in higher education. Their security is a key concern for education communities, and has resulted in a variety of cheating countermeasures. There is broad consensus in the literature that there is no one measure, including proctoring, which eradicates cheating behaviours. As a result, this study is exploratory, seeking to add to our understanding of the range of factors that may interact with frequency of cheating behaviour in online examinations. This large-scale study (N = 7839) is based in one Australian university which pivoted to online examinations during the 2021 Covid-19 lockdowns. Students who reported cheating (n = 216) revealed a wide range of factors that may have influenced their behaviours. A key observation is that cheating, although less frequent than reported elsewhere, occurred regardless of the security measure, assessment design, examination condition, and across the spectrum of student demographic variables. However, there were statistically significant differences in relation to frequency of cheating according to certain demographics, examination conditions, motivations, attitudes and perceptions. Although some forms of proctoring did demonstrate reduced frequencies in self-reported cheating, they are demonstrably incomplete solutions due to the complexity of other variables.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)980-994
Number of pages15
JournalAssessment & Evaluation in Higher Education
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • academic integrity
  • assessment security
  • cheating
  • Online examinations

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