Exploring similarities and differences among the self-reported academic integrity of Australian occupational therapy domestic and international students.
Brown, T., Bourke-Taylor, H., Isbel, S., Gustafsson, L., McKinstry, C., Logan, A, et al.
Background: Research into the prevalence of dishonest academic behaviours suggests that such behaviours may be extensive among international students in higher education.
Objective: To compare the academic integrity of domestic and international occupational therapy students and identify possible contributors to students' engagement in dishonest academic behaviours.
Design: A quantitative cross-sectional study using a survey containing several standardised scales was used to collect the data.
Settings: Five Australian universities.
Participants: 701 occupational therapy students.
Methods: Students completed a self-report questionnaire comprising demographic questions and six standardised scales: Academic Dishonesty Scale; Academic Dishonesty in the Classroom Setting Scale (ADCS); Academic Dishonesty in the Clinical/Practice Education Setting Scale; Moral Development Scale for Professionals; Academic Dishonesty Tendency Scale; and Perceived Academic Sources of Stress. One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted to compare the scores of domestic and international students on academic dishonesty factors, moral development, and perceived sources of academic stress.
Results: Significant differences between domestic and international students were observed on age; grade point average; hours per week spent in paid work; moral practice; tendency towards cheating; tendency towards cheating in research assignments; pressures to perform; and self-perception. No significant differences were found on students' self-reported scores on academic dishonesty in academic classroom education contexts, fieldwork practice education settings or perceived stresses of workload and examinations and time restraints.
Conclusions: The reported incidences of dishonest academic behaviours in the classroom and fieldwork settings were low for all occupational therapy students, irrespective of origin and were comparable to findings from cohorts of other health professional students. However, concomitant with existing research, international students were found to have a greater tendency to engage in dishonest behaviours particularly on research assignments. This may be reflective the socio-cultural issues and external pressures that international students experience. Further study in this area is recommended.