With the recent updating of CSEE’s Handbook for Developing and Sustaining Honor Systems, the issue of academic integrity is on our minds. Here are a few observations worth thinking about:
- Students are less likely to cheat when they perceive that cheating does not happen regularly among their peers.
- Students cheat less (and develop integrity more) when they perceive that their teachers are caring.
- Classrooms that are mastery-focused (deep learning of material), rather than performance-focused (focus on grades & awards), are likely to see less cheating.
- The more students and faculty can be involved with the honor system (drafting or revising the code, answering surveys, giving input, etc.), the more they will buy into the honor system.
How can schools educate students to prevent infractions (intentional or accidental) of integrity?
- Do workshops for incoming students on how to properly - and confidently - use resources, cite sources, etc.
- Have academic departments make students aware of their definition of, and expectations regarding, collaboration and tutoring.
- Allow student-led Honor Education Committees to visit classrooms or advisory groups to discuss case studies about cheating, or to demystify how the honor system / council works.
- Have celebratory “Honor Weeks” featuring guest speakers, open discussion forums, special readings or film viewings like Quiz Show, The Emperor’s Club, or School Ties. Some schools have planned a “Day Without Honor” where students reflect on what their community would be like if no one lived honorably (stolen laptops, copied homework, pop quizzes in every class).
- Have students research the honor policy at the colleges they plan to apply to.
In addition to the nuts and bolts of honor systems (how to develop a code, how to configure and train a council, how to address a case), the second edition of the Handbook includes an updated appendix, with sample codes, documents, and ideas from independent schools across north america.
Where this book excels is in its increased focus on the honor education program, and how to promote academic integrity.