Academic Dishonesty in Medical Schools
Moi University, School of Medicine, Department of Surgery and Anesthesiology
Correspondence to: Dr. Pius Musau P.O Box 4606-30100, Eldoret, Kenya.
Background: Dishonesty can be found in all aspects of human interaction and is known to be rampant in educational institutions. Little is known about it in medical training and the characteristics of those involved. This study explores the factors that drive academic dishonesty among aspiring doctors.
Objective: To establish the factors driving academic dishonesty among senior medical students.
Design: Cross sectional survey using self-administered questionnaire. Setting: The School of Medicine, Moi University. Subjects: One hundred and fifty-six students in the clinical years of study. Results: Those who had past experience with academic dishonesty had a 70.4% chance of cheating in university compared to 58.9% for those not previously exposed. The odds ratio was 3.6 for males to be involved in academic dishonesty than females. Being aware of academic dishonesty in the Medical School made it 86.3% likely that a student would participate. Having witnessed academic dishonesty in progress was the strongest predictor of likely involvement in cheating.
Conclusion: The cheating medical student in the clinical years is likely to be a male in the early part of the study with similar previous experience, has witnessed cheating and believes that the classmates are actively equally involved.
Keywords: Academic Dishonesty, Medical Training, Medical Students
Ann Afr Surg. 2017;14(1): 19-21.
© 2017 Annals of African Surgery. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Academic dishonesty is a rampant activity stretching from basic to tertiary Kenyan institutions with 50-75% of students confessing to it (1). It is expected that with the rapid increase in the number of tertiary institutions and the ensuing stretch on the limited human and other resources, the quality of education may be diluted by academic dishonesty (2). There is no data to show how medical students compare to other university students on academic dishonesty including the characteristics (like past experience, witnessing others and peer pressure) of the medical students likely to engage in academic dishonesty. This not only affects the individual and the societal integrity but also the quality of future doctors. This paper explored the determinants of academic dishonesty among medical students in a School of Medicine in the Western part of Kenya.
Medical students in the clinical (4th, 5th and 6th) years of study were contacted through their respective class representatives to anonymously fill an Institutional Ethics and Research Committee (IREC) – approved 20-item self-administered questionnaire. The questionnaire captured the demographic data, some closed questions to be ticked according to preferred answers and the views of the students on various aspects of academic dishonesty ranked in a Likert scale of six levels starting with strongly agree to strongly disagree. The questionnaire had been pre-tested on 10 preclinical students and refined for clarity and objectivity. Academic dishonesty was described as any activity in a formal academic se