Creating a Climate of Academic Integrity in the Classroom
- Faculty should highlight campus standards for academic integrity and their own expectations for ethical behavior in the course syllabus and during class discussions.
- Faculty should also set clear standards for assignments, tests, and grading, and define rules for collaboration and citation.
- Faculty should inspire, encourage, and model integrity, behaving honestly and respectfully towards students and colleagues. Difficult ethical issues that may arrise in the academic or professional field of study need to be discussed, not avoided, and professional and ethical standards that can help resolve such questions need to be part of the curriculum.
- Faculty can enlist students' help in creating a climate of integrity in the classroom. Academic integrity enhances the quality of education (teaching as well as learning), and is critical to the learning process. Students need to know that honest work builds skills, knowledge, and self- esteem, while cheating and plagiarism are destructive: students don't learn in a climate of dishonesty and unfairness.
- In establishing a climate of academic integrity, context and situational factors are key:
--Students cheat more when faculty do nothing. If students perceive that cheating is easy and safe, and that faculty won't report them, then why not do it? If faculty do report cheating, and if there are meaningful sanctions, consistently enforced, cheating is reduced.
-- Students cheat more when they experience an absence of pleasure in learning. Conversely, students cheat less when they feel that faculty really care whether they learn, and when faculty are enthusiatic and dedicated to teaching and the subject.
-- Students cheat more when they believe that their peers accept, condone, or even encourage cheating. This is why honor codes make a difference, because students hold their peers accountable, and do not tolerate dishonesty.
Students can be influenced by the attitudes and behavior of their peers and their faculty, the existence of clear rules that are consistently enforced with meaningful sanctions and honor codes.
In addition to the strategies for promoting academic integrity, specific techniques may help to prevent cheating and plagiarism, including the following:
- Have students sign an honor statement that their work is honest, that it is their own, and that they have not taken any unfair advantage.
- Monitor exams to remind students of their responsiblities under the Code of Academic Conduct, to answer questions, and to deter and confront cheating if it occurs.
- Prohibit use of unauthorized electronic equipment [cell/camera phones, palm pilots/PDAs, text messaging, pagers].
- Use test formats that discourage copying and cheating [essay exams, thought problems, alternate seating, multiple test versions, sign-in sheets, numbered exams].
- Require students to show their work, and refuse credit for unsupported or unexplained answers ; have the same person grade all answers to each question.
- Require written excuses for make-ups or extensions, and check the excuses for authenticity.
- Instruct students to sit apart from friends and study partners during exams and to cover their work.
- Prohibit all talking during the exam (except to ask a question of the instructor or TA). Inform students that the ban on talking applies even after they have turned in their test, until they have left the room.
- Require students to request permission before they leave the room during an exam.
- Photocopy [or electronically scan] test papers before returning; clearly mark blank spaces and wrong answers in bright ink.
- Remind students that they must turn in their tests when time is called, and mark late work.
- Clearly define plagiarism and standards for proper citation, and teach students how to cite sources.
Example: "Using another's work without giving credit. You must put others' words in quotation marks and cite your source, and must give citations when using others' ideas, even if paraphrased in your own words."
- Require individualized topic selection and research.
- Don't allow late topic changes.
- Have students turn in all stages of work [topic statements, outlines, notes, rough drafts, resource lists, final papers, along with copies of web/paper sources used].
- Require that students make oral presentations of their work in class, and answer questions about their projects.
- Use plagiarism detection resources (available through Internet services, browsers, or programs for comparing text).
- Explain how to paraphrase, how to deal with 'common knowledge,' and how to incorporate quotes or facts from sourcesng
- Discuss why plagiarism is unfair to all, and how it undermines the development of thinking and writing skills
- Help students build confidence in their own abilities, providing positive feedback.