Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Adams, James H.

Committee Member

Olinzock, Anthony A.

Committee Member

Yu, Chien

Committee Member

Prince, Debra L.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Instructional Systems and Workforce Development

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Instructional Systems and Workforce Development


The purpose of this study was to describe the frequencies and types of cheating behaviors occurring within proctored and unproctored testing environments for students enrolled in online courses and taking assessments through an online format. In addition, this study sought to examine relationships between demographic variables of gender, age, GPA, discipline of study, undergraduate/graduate status and knowledge of the institutional honor code and online cheating behaviors for students who had taken online assessments through proctored methods. Participants in this study included students enrolled as distance learning campus students who took online courses and online assessments through a large, 4-year, public, degree-granting institution located in the southeastern region of the United States during the spring 2015 semester. Participants were asked to report their frequency in engaging in online cheating behaviors through the Online Assessment Cheating Behaviors Survey (OACBS). The study found that distance students who took unproctored exams reported more frequently engaging in overall cheating behaviors than proctored students. No differences were found in overall cheating behaviors for those taking exams through face to face and remotely proctored methods. Individual item analyses revealed that those taking unproctored exams reported more frequently using web searches during online exams to search for answers than those taking proctored exams. The study also found differences in overall cheating behaviors for those taking proctored online exams based on gender, with female distance students more frequently reporting engaging in cheating behaviors than male distance students. Individual level item analyses revealed females, those with a “C” GPA, and undergraduate distance students more frequently utilized web searches during an online proctored exam and used brain dump sites to obtain test questions and answers.