Cheating has been a significant issue over the years throughout the world, including in Indonesian Higher Education. In this study, we aimed to explore students’ perceptions of cheating, the practices they engage in when they cheat, the factors influencing their behavior, and possible solutions to stop cheating in the context of Islamic Higher Education. This mixed methods research involved 43 undergraduate students in the Department of English Language Education of two Islamic Higher Education institutions: The University of Muhammadiyah Aceh and Universitas Islam Negeri (UIN) Ar-Raniry Darussalam, Banda Aceh - Indonesia. A questionnaire comprising demographic and cheating related questions was emailed to students taking the subject, Ilmu Akidah (Theology). This subject is a third-semester optional subject offered to students at both universities. The subject covers issues about ethics, morals, good Muslim citizenship, and other universal Islamic values. Eight students were interviewed to seek their opinions about cheating in the context of Islamic education and to suggest ways to stop cheating at their university. Survey findings indicated the prevalence of cheating among these Islamic university students during their studies reached 84%, with the most common cheating practices including requesting/exchanging answers with friends during exams, duplicating texts from the internet/books and then submitting them, and cooperating with friends in doing individual assignments. The underlying issues involved external factors (i.e., exam difficulty, overloaded assignments, inadequate time for finishing assignments, and assisting friends) and internal factors (i.e., fear of low grades and failure in exams, and motivation for gaining high scores). Sixteen percent of the students claiming that they never cheated because of their religious/moral awareness, a sense of accomplishment in their own ability, and fear of academic sanctions suggestions for preventing cheating are shared along with a discussion of cheating within Islamic higher education. An important finding from the interviews was many students believed cheating was sinful and those who cheat must repent. The paper concludes with a discussion of the benefits and drawbacks of conducting mixed methods research to answer these questions and adding a set of interviews to the survey instrument.


academic integrity, cheating, undergraduate students, Islamic higher education, mixed methods

Author Bio(s)

Habiburrahim is an Associate Professor in English Education at Universitas Islam Negeri Ar-Raniry, Banda Aceh, Indonesia. His field of research includes teaching and learning English in higher education, curriculum development, and educational administration, to developing policies in educational contexts. He is currently working on issues of curriculum development and academic integrity in higher education settings. Please direct correspondence to habiburrahim@ar-raniry.ac.id.

Ika Kana Trisnawati is a Lecturer at the English Education Department of Universitas Muhammadiyah Aceh, Banda Aceh, Indonesia. Her research interests include English language teaching, English language testing, translation and interpreting studies, and bilingualism. Please direct correspondence to ika.kana@unmuha.ac.id.

Yuniarti is a Lecturer at the English Education Department of Universitas Muhammadiyah Aceh, Banda Aceh, Indonesia. She is keen on researching English teaching and learning related studies, especially in higher education contexts. She is currently taking her doctoral program in English Language Education at Universitas Negeri Semarang, Semarang, Indonesia. Please direct correspondence to yuniarti@unmuha.ac.id.

Zamzami Zainuddin is a Research Fellow at the Faculty of Education, the University of Hong Kong (HKU), Hong Kong. His research interests are technology-enhanced pedagogical innovation, emerging technologies in education, social media, digital divide, bibliometric and text mining analysis, meta-analysis, and information literacy. Please direct correspondence to zamzami.hku@gmail.com.

Safrul Muluk is an Associate Professor at English Language Education Department, Universitas Islam Negeri Ar-Raniry, Banda Aceh, Indonesia. He holds a Ph.D. in Educational Management. His research interests include English teaching methodology, CALL, virtual classroom environments, synchronous instructional teaching methods, online learning, and teacher/student self-efficacy. Please direct correspondence to safrul.muluk@ar-raniry.ac.id.

Janice Orrell is Emeritus Professor in the College of Education, Psychology and Social Work at Flinders University where she is an Adjunct Professor of Higher Education and Assessment. Her fields of investigation are assessment and work integrated learning in higher education. She was a Foundation Director of the Carrick Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education responsible for Discipline-Based Initiatives (DBI) and Resource Identification Networks (RIN). She has taught at all levels of Education for over 50 years including, early childhood education, in rural and remote schools, international education, aboriginal teacher education, nursing and medical education, post graduate teacher education and is a supervisor of research higher degrees in education. Please direct correspondence to janice.orrell@flinders.edu.au.

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