High school students cheat less if they promise not to cheat

Published February 8, 2017

If high school students promise not to cheat during the exam, they cheat less, an experiment carried out in 12 schools in Vilnius county  by “Transparency International” Lithuania chapter (TI Lithuania ) reveals. It was the first experiment seeking new ways to reduce academic dishonesty to be implemented in Lithuania. During the experiment, 3rd year high school students signed the Integrity pledge “I promise not to cheat during this exam “ before each written assignment or exam.


The Integrity Pledges affected more those students who tend to cheat occasionally: a quarter of them (from 49% to 36%) stopped cheating during the experiment. Regardless of that, the behaviour of students that cheat very often, did not change during the experiment.

 After the experiment, there was an increase in percentage of students (25% , comparing to with 14%- before the experiment), that did not wish to answer the question about the behaviour and cheating of their classmates. This means that the Integrity pledges could have encouraged students to evaluate cheating negatively.

Results show that the behaviour and values of honest pupils differ from their classmates. They are more responsible, better prepared and active during the lessons. They show better learning results, are  more critical towards themselves.

In comparison, dishonest students are more likely to justify and excuse their actions, and to consider behaviour of others fraudulent. They notice cheating twice likely comparing to the honest classmates (87% compared with 44%).

‘I think Itegrity pledges can become an accessible prescription to all to reduce cheating. This experiment is a reminder to teachers and the school executives that they cannot dismiss this problem any longer and must take the initiative to promote honest behaviour in schools’, says Sergejus Muravjovas, Executive Director of TI Lithuania.

The experiment took place in November and December of 2015. Twelve Vilnius County schools were divided into two groups: six of them ran the experiment, the others – observed general students’ behavior and approach to academic integrity for comparison purposes. In order to evaluate the results of the experiment, TI Lithuania conducted surveys of students in both school groups. TI Lithuania interviewed 706 students before and 699 after the initiative.

The full description of the survey results (in Lithuanian) can be found here.