More International Students are being admitted to American Colleges

More International Students are being admitted to American Colleges

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Research Blog #10: Abstract & Bibliography


My paper explores the underlying causes of the fact that international students, especially Chinese students in American colleges tend to commit more to unethical academic behavior such as cheating and plagiarism. The Neutralization Theory can help explain part of the issue. Due to lack of school support, international students find it easier apply some of the "neutralizing techniques" to help rationalize and justify certain unethical behavior, especially when they are confronted with tremendous challenges caused by language deficiencies. Consequently, the possibility of conducting unethical academic behavior is much higher among the group of international students. Nevertheless, my paper also argues that there is complexity in terms of the fact that Chinese students are more likely to conduct unethical academic behavior. The Neutralization Theory lacks cultural consideration in the way that there is a cultural identity separateness and different education systems in Asian societies. Both reasons force international students to have motives to cheat and plagiarize alleged in American colleges. Therefore, instead of relying on international students to help with funding, American colleges may reconsider the circumstances of international students and devote more resources to understand their culture in order to ensure them a smooth cultural transition process.


Brent, Edward, and Curtis Atkisson. "Accounting For Cheating: An Evolving Theory And Emergent Themes." Research In Higher Education 52.6 (2011): 640-658. Academic Search Premier. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

Curasi, Carolyn F. "The Relative Influences Of Neutralizing Behavior And Subcultural Values On Academic Dishonesty." Journal Of Education For Business 88.3:167-175. (2013). Teacher Reference Center. Web. (Nov. 2015).

Douglass, John Aubrey. “International Berkeley: Enrolling International Students Yesterday and Today, Debates on the Benefits of Multicultural Diversity, and Macro Questions on Access and Equity.” Research & Occasional Paper Series: CSHE.3.14. March, 2014. Web.

Fischer, K. “Colleges adapt to new kinds of students from abroad: Younger, sometimes less-experienced students require more academic and social support.” The Chronicle of Higher Education (2011). Web.

Lewin, T. “Taking more seats on campus, foreigners also pay the freight.” The New York Times. Feb, 2012. Web.

NAFSA: Association of International Educators. “The economic benefits of international students to the U.S. economy academic year 2011-2012.” (2012). Web.

Ota, Akiko, "Factors Influencing Social, Cultural, and Academic Transitions of Chinese International ESL Students in U.S. Higher Education." Dissertations and Thesis. Paper 1051. (2013). Web.

Rauhala, Emily, and Gu Yongqiang. "China's Big Test." Time 185.13 (2015): 36. MAS Ultra - School Edition. Web. 16 Nov. 2015.

Reisberg, L. “Why do we want international students?” Inside Higher Ed. July, 2012. Web.

Sykes, G., & Matza, D. “Techniques of neutralization: A theory of delinquency.” American Sociological Review, 22, 664–670. (1957). Web.

Zhai, L. “Studying international students: Adjustment issues and social support. Journal of international agricultural and extension education.” 11(1), 98-104. (2004). Web.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Literature Review #5--China's Big Test.

1. Works Cited
Rauhala, Emily, and Gu Yongqiang. "China's Big Test." Time 185.13 (2015): 36. MAS Ultra - School Edition. Web. 25 Nov. 2015.

2. This article explores the underlying reasons in terms of the recent SAT cheating scandal in China, the author points out that the reality is more complex for Chinese students to commit to alleged cheating due to China's education system. In mainland China, cases of test fraud are everywhere in press because the competition is just so intense for China's college entrance exam, namely the "gaokao". Parents and students acquire the mindset that if they do not search for "easier" ways in order to earn higher scores on the exam, they are being placed at an unfair position. China's "authoritarian" system--a single test that determines a student's future also substantially contributes to alleged cheating. Therefore, the education system somewhat forces Chinese students to constantly outperform each other. In the case for Chinese students who study abroad, Rauhala ad Gu argue that language is still a huge problem for them. Chinese students are capable of earning high scores on TOEFL and SAT tests but they still find it very difficult to have face-to-face conversations with their American peers. According to Miao, a student at Wisconsin Madison, "her classmates used words that they don't teach at TOEFL prep and spoke so quickly that it was hard to keep up at first" (Rauhala&Gu, 41). Therefore, by exploring the roots of cheating, we see that China's education system plays a significant role in causing the situation. The Neutralization Theory thus can only help explain half of the story.


1) "Outraged at the special supervision, more than 2,000 people, mostly parents, gathered near the exam hall, trapping investigators inside. Their rallying cry: “It’s not fair unless we cheat.” Parents were so desperate for high scores, and so convinced that everyone else was cheating, that they saw fraud as the only way to level the playing field".

2) "For some 2,000 years, jobs in the highly regarded civil service were awarded to
those who performed best on nationwide exams. The tests were faulted for promoting a narrow type of learning but had the benefit of being fairly meritocratic. In theory, they offered students the chance to improve their lives".

3) "Elite institutions like Beijing’s Peking and Tsinghua universities reserve
more spaces for applicants from the capital, putting candidates from the provinces
at a further disadvantage".

4) "Even for an adventurer like Miao, American college life was a shock. Her
English scores were excellent, but her classmates used words that they don’t teach at TOEFL prep and spoke so quickly that it was hard to keep up at first. In Chinese high schools, she says, the teacher talked and students listened and memorized. Her social-science classes at Madison
were all about crafting arguments and participating in debate".

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Research Blog #9: Argument and Counter-Argument.

My research argues that since American colleges aggressively recruit international students by viewing it as a lucrative business, it leads to that they are reluctant to devote resources in order to fully understand cultural differences. This causes the majority of international students, especially Chinese students face more challenges academically. Therefore, it is a potential reason that international students are more likely to conduct academic unethical behavior such as cheating and plagiarizing during exams.

The Neutralization Theory can partly explain the phenomenon since some international students may use one of the "Neutralizing Techniques" to justify cheating and plagiarizing. For example, they may view that they should not be held accountable for breaking the rules because not only do they pay twice as much as the tuition as compared to in-state-students but also receive insufficient guidance in terms of academic integrity. 

One possible counter-argument would be that the idea that international students and in this case, particularly Chinese students use certain "Neutralizing Techniques" to justify cheating and plagiarizing is only a fraction of the big picture. The issues maybe more culturally orientated in the way that international students do not feel as being part of the the American culture. They thus tend to believe that it is unnecessary to obey certain American rules because they will ultimately return their home countries. The education system, for example, plays a significant role in determining how people view the concept of academic disintegrity.

Therefore, the "Neutralizing Techniques" may not be as effective in order to explain international students' intentions to cheat and we have to bring the role of "cultural differences" into consideration.  

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Research Blog #8--Interview/Primary Source (Survey)

I sent out a short survey to some peers who are also international students (Chinese & Korean) in order to get more ideas in terms of the attitudes that they hold towards academic disintegrity (cheating and plagiarizing).

Here are my questions: What do you think are the possible reasons that international students tend to conduct more unethical academic behavior (cheating and plagiarizing)? How can you justify such act? Do you think it is caused by cultural differences? \

I received four replies so far and most of them conclude that language deficiency is the main reason that causes international students to cheat during exams and that some of them are unwilling to learn any new words or do any extra readings outside classroom. Also, international students, especially students from culture that values collectivism prefer doing activities only with people from the same ethic group. Therefore, their language skills can rarely get improved when they immerge themselves in the limited social group.

Cultual differences also play a significant role in how international students view exams. One person concludes: "International students care about GPA much more than American students. The standard of a horn or student to student who could get scholarship is different between International students and local students. Thus, International students need try harder to get higher grade. Some may choose the easy way, cheating." Chinese students and Korean students are used to compete with each other acadmically due to the education system in their home countries, and when they perceive the fact that they are lack the ability to outperform their American peers, they are more likely to collaborate with each other in order to get good grades.

Another interesting point is that a person says:"They simply don't know how to refuse when others' asking for help (cheating) in exams". This is an interesting point because it seems as if helping each other cheat during exams is a "social norm" in collectivist culture. If one person refuses the request, he/she may be viewed as uncooporative and face the consequences of being marginalized.

The results are similiar to the findings of some scholarly articles that international students use certain excuses, or in this case, neurtralizing techniques to justify their unethical academic behavior (cheating and plagiarizing) by counteracting the guilt. Nevertheless, no one relates the tuition cost/school support to alleged cheating but language problems seem to be the most troubling cause.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Research Blog #7--My Case

 SAT Cheating Case

It was an unusual day for those Chinese students who are going through their college application process in order to enroll in American universities in the upcoming spring semester, 2015. In the last week of October 2014, the College Board sent emails to all students living in China or Korea who had taken the SAT on October 11, informing them that their test scores would be reviewed and delayed for up to a month because of allegations of widespread cheating. It’s the latest in a long line of alleged and cheating scandals in the last few years in China that have involved not only the SATs, but nearly every other widely-administered standardized test, including Advance Placement tests, the ACTs, and English language qualifying exams.

Although the Educational Testing Service (ETS) claims that they have used every possible means to prevent SAT’s exam papers from leaking to the outside world before the tests begin, there appear cases when more people try to challenge the system. According to Ray Nicosia, the director of the Office of ETS, “We stop a lot but there’s always someone trying a new way. The advent of cell phones, tiny cameras and nearly undetectable recording devices, for example, has required his team to up their game”. Earlier in 2007, China Daily reported two students in China used wireless listening devices in their ear canals to cheat on an English exam; they were later hospitalized when the devices got stuck. But, those “technological tactics” are not as common as alleged cheating that involved large amount of Chinese students. In 2011, twenty students were arrested on Long Island, New York, for hiring other students—for a cool $3,600 bucks—to impersonate them in the SAT exam room.

According to one online survey conducted in China, more than 70% of the 160 high school seniors who participated in its survey admitted to cheating on tests. Furthermore, 90% of them claim more of their classmates cheat on tests in colleges. So, why is cheating so commonplace and arguably even acceptable to most Chinese students? The answer is tremendous competition and Chinese people’s admiration of “mian-zi” (the need to save face). Coming from a country with almost 1.36 billion people, one is expected to stand out of the crowd by aceing different kinds of exams, and the social risk of "getting away with it" far exceeds the risk of getting caught. In the case of Chinese students who pursue a degree in American universities, they are even more likely to cheat during exams because they tend to use one of the “Neutralizing Techniques” named “the Need of Responsibility” to justify their cheating behavior. Chinese students are more reluctant to communicate their difficulties, either academically or socially, with counselors and peers due to language difficulties and cultural differences, yet they still feel the responsibility to maintain their “mian-zi” by avoiding showing their weakness. While at the same time since American universities devote minimal resources to understand and help Chinese students adapt into American culture, Chinese students rarely have a smooth cultural transition process and desperately search for ways to retain their “mian-zi”. As a result, the phenomenon of alleged cheating during major exams becomes more prevalent and even acceptable to some people. Thus, if the cultural adaptation issues remain unsolved and that American public higher educational institutions are unable to focus on meeting international students, especially Chinese students’ needs, mass recruiting international students will further fuel China's test-cheating industry.

Research Blog #6: Visual

From the images above, we are able to conclude that international students' application rate and American universities' admission rate have almost the same trend from 2004-2013. There was a huge increase in both application rate and admission rate from 2004-2006, indicating that it was the time when mass recruitment begins. The lower image shows that there is a sharp increase of the amount of economic benefits that international students contribute to the United States starting from the academic year 95-96 and the trend keeps increasing until academic year 07-08; it seems like it will continuously grow. The two statistical results reveal the fact that since the admission rate remains relatively stable over years, international students contribute more dollars to the United States. We therefore may have evidence to conclude that American public higher education intentionally raise the tuition cost for international students in order to compensate for their loss of public funding. And this drastic increase in the amount of international students and the tuition cost will ultimately generate certain adverse consequences.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Lit Review #4--"Not Here Or There"

1. Works Cited

Darcy Holdorf, “NOT HERE OR THERE, Chinese students at Ohio University just try to be themselves”. (2011). Web.

2. Main Ideas of the Article:

In this article, Holdorf strives to emphasize the fact that the mass influx of Chinese students inevitably leads to them being separated from the rest of the student groups due to lack of school support, which in this case, Ohio University. According to the article, “From 2004 to 2010, the number of Chinese undergraduates in Ohio University surged from 17 to 603. Today, 81 percent of international students enrolled at the university hail from China. Such high enrollment rate for Chinese students in a sense obliterates the significance for them to study abroad and creates more obstacles during the cultural transtition process. On the one hand, since dorms are filled with Chinese students, the possibility of making friends with their American peers are substantially restricted.Also, Chinese students speak mandarin all the time when they hand out with each other which prevents them from developing language proficiency. “In Scott Quad, a student residence hall nicknamed “Chinatown”, 180 of the 218 residents are Chinese students. Swarms of Chinese students have even made themselves start to complain about too many people of their own race and too little chance to speak English or hang out with Americans”. It is like that Chinese students are forced to be differentiated from their American peers since they seem to have insufficient resources in order to successfully adapt into American culture. The photos above portraits Chinese students’ daily lives in Ohio University that it is as if that they are still in China. Since English is a second language to international students from China, they are required to finish the ESL Program before pursuing their major. After school, Chinese students hang out together at their dorms by cooking noodles and playing mahjong, and we would assume that these activities further prevent them from successfully transiting into a different cultural environment.


1. “Most Chinese students come from big cities and have a hard time adapting themselves to life in American small towns. “The previous picture of America in my mind is (composed of) big cities like New York and Los Angeles. But after I arrived in Ohio, I find it is totally different.” After the class is over, Popo, in cheetah print leggings and patent leather pumps, leaves the classroom. She says that she loves to dress differently than others”.

2. “By its very nature, Chinese communities on American campuses are in the gray area between China and the United States. In class is a bunch of English speaking and listening training and U.S. Culture 101. After class, it is the close-knit circle of Chinese friends where no English can be heard. Many Chinese students lose touch with the U.S. campus culture immediately after their arrival”.

3. “Vicki Seefeldt West was hired as the Senior Assistant Director for International Recruitment at Ohio University. West helped form relationships with partner agencies in China that advertise, recruit and help students with the application process. Since OU began working with agencies, enrollment of international students from China has increased by 70%. West believes that the agency model is mutually beneficial, easing the application process for students while upping the universities international enrollment. "Some regard these agencies as these evil, unethical entities whereas in a lot of cases they really are providing services for the families," says West. "Yes, you'll find some agencies that are unethical but you'll find that in any business model and that's why we have to be careful and diligent in working with them””.

4. “Juggling language courses and life on their own in a strange nation, most Chinese students naturally huddle together for help even before they start to explore the exotic culture”.

4. Conlcusion:
The aggressive recruitment of Chinese students in Ohio University is not a single case but many public universities in the United States use the same tactic. International students who are not proficient in English writing and speaking are normally required to graduate from ESL Programs first before pursuing their major, which may be a substantial obstacle for them. The situation somewhat predicts alleged cheating because there are many of whom, such as Andy Liu find it extremely difficult to resolve language difficulties and therefore sometimes utilize “shortcuts” in order to get through it. The cheating may even start from the college application process because there are many Chinese students who use agencies that help them embellish their personal statements and sometimes ghostwriting for them. Consequently, both the integrity of the entire admission process and the reputation of Chinese student are at risk.

Nevertheless, American public universities seem to devote more effort in the recruiting process as compare to the help that they provide after international students arrive on campus. The fact that Chinese students are restricted to their own ethnic group in Ohio University is not merely due to the fact that the Chinese culture values collectivism, but also because American colleges do not provide sufficient resources for them to reach out to their American peers. Besides the mass amount of tuition that international students paid to American public universities each year, many of them perceive that they are still at their homecountry where students study and hang out with each other who share the same race and ethnicity.

Thus, international students’ college experience can rarely ensure them having a successful cultural adapation process and it is reasonable to assume that that is the primary reason for the increasing amount of alleged cheating cases in various fields. It is therefore worth exploring whether international students’ receive sufficient school support both academically and socially aftering entering American colleges, and whether their subject experience predicts cheating beahavior and to what extent.