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Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic caused many U.S. colleges to shift to remote learning in the spring of 2020, student cheating has been a concern for instructors and students alike. To detect student cheating, considerable resources have been devoted to using technology to monitor students online. This online surveillance has increased students’ anxiety and distress. For instance, some students have indicated the monitoring technology required them to stay at their desks or risk being labeled as cheaters. Although relying on electronic eyes may partially curb cheating, there’s another factor in the reasons students cheat that often gets overlooked – student motivation. As a team of researchers in educational psychology and higher education, we became interested in how students’ motivation to learn, or what drives them to want to succeed in class, affects how much they cheated in their schoolwork. To shine light on why students cheat, we conducted an analysis of 79 research studies and published our findings in the journal Educational Psychology Review. We determined that a variety of motivational factors, ranging from a desire for good grades to a student’s academic confidence, come into play when explaining why students cheat. With these factors in mind, we see a number of things that both students and instructors can do to harness the power of motivation as a way to combat cheating, whether in virtual or in-person classrooms. Here are five takeaways:



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