Monday, September 13, 2010

Cheating Our Character

I found an interesting article by Emily Johnson, Staff Columnist, in the July 9, 2010 issue of The Dartmouth. As Johnson summizes,
In comparison, Dartmouth sets an admirable example with regard to academic honesty. The first principle of the Academic Honor Policy states: “In recognizing the responsibility of students for their own education, [the Faculty of Dartmouth College] assumes intellectual honesty and integrity in the performance of academic assignments, both in the classroom and outside.” This assumption of integrity helps build student character. More importantly, it serves to prepare students for the future.

Unless there is clear cause to suspect misbehavior, anti-cheating efforts by universities should target the incentives to cheat before the student sits down to take a test. This method, which Dartmouth successfully employs, coupled with a reevaluation of the purpose of homework and exams, will seek to significantly reduce cheating the right way. An anti-cheating policy in this mold is the true “frontier” of the movement.
I personally think that Honor Codes are a great way to define cheating and the consequences for cheating in your school or program. These codes should be defined at the beginning of each academic year and the student (and their parents in K-12 education) should sign the agreement prior to any assignment or testing. Although there will always be some unethical students who prefer to cheat than work hard or who think getting a good grade is above all other concerns, we must reinforce honorable behavior in our students in hopes that appropriate behavior will be demonstrated throughout their professional lives.

Here is a link to a previous Honor Code post entitled: Honor Codes: Do They Result in Academic Honesty?

Do any of you use Honor Codes? Do you think they are needed? J.T.

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