Recently, I’ve had several people tell me that the fact that students cheat on a particular assignment of mine suggests that the assignment is too much work for them. I call bull. If that were true, then you’d expect to see a variation in the number of cheating students based on the difficulty of an assignment. This is not the case. I’ve got as many students cheating on my small day-to-day homework checks as I have on my large unit-long projects. Unsurprisingly, most of them are the same students.
(This is leaving aside the whole issue of whether cheating is an appropriate response to a difficult assignment.)
So why do students cheat? Because they’re lazy and they think they can get away with it.