The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) is at the top with the most cases of cheating in the last four years that were notified to the tribunal.
Right behind come the University of South-East Norway (USN) and the University of Agder (UiA).
NTNU is Norway’s largest university with around 43,000 students.
For comparison, USN and UiA have a total of 31,000 students. Nevertheless, together they have almost twice as many cheating cases as NTNU.
If you look at the number of cheating cases per student at the various universities from last year, USN comes out on top.
The fewest at Nord University and UiT
USN’s director of studies Vibeke Bredahl explains why the university has high numbers.
– USN has a well-developed system for control and for processing cases where cheating is suspected. We have a routine electronic plagiarism check on all written exam papers, work requirements, bachelor’s and master’s theses, she says.
Those with the fewest cases of cheating last year were Norway’s Arctic University (UiT) and Nord University. The educational institutions have nevertheless been in the news about cheating recently.
Acting department director at UiT, Julia Holte Sempler, has no idea why the numbers are so low.
– We believe that UiT deals with cheating cases at roughly the same level as practice in the sector. A good indication of this is that in the cases that have been appealed to the Joint Appeals Board, UiT’s decision has largely been upheld, says Sempler.
According to Khrono, 526 cheating cases were filed last year. Of these, the University of Agder had the most convictions, i.e. cases that were “sentenced” to be cheating by the tribunal.
– The fact that there is a large spread in the number of cases between the institutions perhaps indicates that it is time for a discussion in the sector about how we handle these cases, says UiA rector Sunniva Whittaker to Khrono.
She believes a high number may mean that they have a good culture for checking cheating.
– Very unfair
Head of the Norwegian Student Organization (NSO), Oline Sæther, says the universities have different guidelines on what is cheating or not.
– It is very unfair that students at one institution should be treated according to different rules than at another institution. It makes us disenfranchised and different from the law.
Sæther believes that the differential treatment violates basic principles of democracy. She wants a better system that can also secure the students’ rights.
– Students get very frustrated by cases of cheating where one is deprived of the opportunity to study because of small mistakes, such as forgetting a couple of quotation marks in a longer text. In addition, one is accused of doing something fraudulent. It is perceived as an attack on our integrity.
– When you are short on time, you cut corners
But why do you cheat? According to psychologist Peder Kjøs, there are many different reasons.
– It is banal, a kind of shortcut, an easier way to get to the goal. When you have a bit of a bad time, you cut some corners, he says.
Kjøs points out that someone wants to acquire status or an advantage that you think you deserve.
– Then you try to find ways to enrich yourself unjustly, he says.
He also compares cheating, stealing and cheating on the tax.
– But is it unusual to think that you should cheat?
– It is not unusual. It is common to feel that things are tiring, for example, but to take the plunge and cheat, that is unusual, he says.