Academic Deviance

Academic deviance is the term for deviant conduct specific to academics and learning and is seen as a breach of educational standards. 
Academic Deviance Sociology Definition


Academic deviance is the term for deviant conduct specific to academics and learning and is seen as a breach of educational standards. 

It has been discovered that it is linked to academic failure, expulsion, school suspension, and dropout in kids, all of which are significant risk factors for delinquency and other problematic behaviors. Furthermore, when circumstances require someone to compromise their integrity for monetary or professional advantage, such dishonest conduct can develop into a repeated generalized behavioral pattern.

Academic dishonesty is seen by many who work in education and academia as a white-collar crime that may have significant repercussions, including the termination of a person’s career. It can also injure others.

Not Limited to Students

Although academic deviance by students is often highlighted, breaches of professional standards by educators, researchers, and administrators are as deceitful, if not more dangerous. These many responsibilities within the educational and academic context come with their own expectations, guidelines, moral obligations, and the potential for deviation. Academic deviance includes status offenses for young people (such as absenteeism), breaches of educational standards (such as disrupting class), academic and professional misconduct (such as cheating, plagiarism, and falsifying research data), and criminal activity ( such as inappropriate corruption in the use of resources and research funding).

Higher education institutions may also be found guilty of fraud and penalized in addition to people. For example, northeastern University and the University of California, Berkeley, were discovered to have misappropriated coveted National Science Foundation monies in 2015 by the Office of Inspector General, and they were forced to return millions of dollars to the federal government.

Chinese History

According to historical evidence, academic fraud was a significant offense in sixth-century China, and both the cheater and the examiners were subject to the death penalty.

Two dimensions of academic deviance

When defining the nature of academic deviance, two aspects of activity are significant.

One can first differentiate between occupational and professional kinds of deviation. The first relates to transgressions of professional ethics, and the second relates to common crimes that persons may conduct while engaged in their regular line of work.

The second dimension likewise relates to deviation from the norm concerning things or people. These categories allow for the distinction of four fundamental groups of academic deviance, notwithstanding considerable overlap.

Occupational Deviance

Academic occupational deviation has several characteristics in common with deviation in other fields. For example, professors may steal from the company they work for in the same way as white-collar employees or laborers. 

Faculty members will take advantage of these chances more often as colleges grow more entrepreneurial in securing outside financing.

Sexually harassing students, employees, or coworkers or using human subjects for study are examples of occupational deviance with interpersonal repercussions.

Professional deviance

Professional deviance reflects the unique traits of disciplinary and academic organizations, particularly their incentive and opportunity structures, constituent roles, and social control systems. The temptations of occupational deviance found in monetary gain and personal dominance appear less fundamental to academics’ efforts since they are seldom significantly driven to seek a professional career for motives of power or money.

Professional deviation, focused on problems with intellectual capital, is intrinsically more in line with faculty members’ career objectives. Therefore, when such misconduct is compared to property crimes, misappropriating intellectual property is what is meant.

The fabrication or falsification of research results, losing objectivity, and plagiarism is the well-known and significant examples of this deviation. In essence, these charges involve theft and fraud.

When professional deviance is interpersonal, it involves assessments of the work done by others when acting in the capacities of a student, teacher, or colleague. For example, such appraisals may be seen when assessing academic colleagues who are up for promotion or tenure while grading student work and reviewing grant applications and journal articles. In these circumstances, deviation entails going against the assumed impartiality. However, the likelihood of the prejudiced offender being identified is low due to the obscurity of the assessment criteria and the weak accountability of the review process.

Equal chances for assessment bias exist in peer evaluations for tenure, promotion, and letters of reference.

The bias of the tutor

A biased appraisal of student work due to the student’s physical beauty, litigious attitude, or significance to the university’s sports program is another issue that may arise in the educational environment. However, none of these particularistic factors should be considered while evaluating a student’s performance following universalist standards.

Grade inflation

The often documented practice of grade inflating represents a more widespread overvaluation of pupils. Attracting or keeping students in places where finances are enrollment-driven or enhancing student assessments of a faculty member up for promotion are a few explanations for this tendency. Whatever its origins, grade inflation is abnormal because it lowers standards for undesired purposes.

Need for further research

Some workplace transgressions, including sexual harassment, have undergone extensive examination. However, it has been challenging to do much systematic study on the majority of academic deviance due to the high degree of professional trust bestowed upon academics and the secrecy and anonymity of most of their work. Even when carefully examined, results are only qualitative case studies of “scandals,” and knowledge is often anecdotal.

The vast “ghostwriting” of journal papers is only one example of a breach many journalists have exposed. If disciplinary bodies conducted more thorough investigations, public knowledge of academic deviance would significantly improve.

Sociology Plus