Academic Integrity

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The campus must maintain high standards which reflect the nature of an institution of higher learning. Students need to be aware of the academic standards that are expected throughout their college career. In the University Catalog and Academic Senate's Educational Policy statement, you'll find additional information about Academic Integrity.

The material on academic integrity was developed by the 1996 Academic Senate's Educational Policy Committee's Sub-committee on Academic Integrity: Lisa Gray-Shellberg, Chair; Angela Albright; Margaret Blue; Hansonia Caldwell; Larry Gray; Cynthia Johnson; Jamie Webb.

Academic Integrity Policy

The Academic Senate Resolution on Academic Integrity (EPC 96-03) set the stage for campus dissemination and discussion of a document entitled "Academic Integrity: Its Place in the University Community," which is reprinted in the University Catalog. The philosophy, polices, and procedures contained therein are endorsed and strictly adhered to by the university administration, through the Vice Presidents of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management and Academic Affairs.

The catalog states: Academic Integrity is of central importance in the university community and involves committed allegiance to the values, principles, and code of behavior held to be central in that community. Integrity concerns honesty and implies being truthful, fair and free from lies, fraud, and deceit.

The core of a university's integrity is its scholastic honesty. Honesty is valued across all cultures and is a fundamental value in the academic culture. There are, however, cultural differences with regard to the owner-ship of ideas and the importance of individual efforts. Nonetheless, the university expects all students and other campus members to document the intellectual contributions of others and to ensure that the work they submit is their own.

Education provides students with the resources to master content, learn skills, and develop processes to maximize self potential and the potential of others. Students must demonstrate mastery of each step of learning by tangible products, such as test performances, papers and presentations. The process enables students and the instructor to assess the student's readiness for the next steps and gives the student the confidence to undertake future steps. Students who cheat may not have mastered the necessary steps nor gained the necessary knowledge; they miss the opportunity to gain an accurate picture of what they know and what they do not know.

Promoting Academic Integrity

Because most students are unclear about why academic integrity is important or what constitutes dishonest behavior, there are three key things you should do in your classes:

  1. Discuss the importance of academic integrity within higher education, standard definitions of cheating and plagiarism (refer to University Catalog statement), and any particular emphases or variations of yours.
  2. Include clear, specific expectations on your syllabi. (examples of syllabus statements can be obtained from the Student Development and Faculty Development Offices).
  3. Remind students before each test or while giving an assignment that you are concerned with academic integrity and what you expect from them in this regard.

Detecting and Preventing Dishonesty

Here is a summary of prevention strategies for academic dishonesty.

For All Types of Cheating


  • Constant attention to details of prevention strategies.
  • Student involvement.

Prevention Strategies

  • Stress students' ethical and moral responsibilities to avoid cheating and to help prevent others from cheating.
  • Clarify policies regarding cheating and penalties for those who do cheat.
  • Set up a "hotline" where students can anonymously report incidents of cheating.
  • Individually counsel with students caught cheating or suspected of cheating. This may prevent future cheating.

Test Preparation

Obtaining a Copy of the Test


  • Student's responses seem beyond abilities.
  • Pattern of wrong answers by students known to associate with each others.

Prevention Strategies

  • Test should be secured in safe place by instructor from formation to administration.
  • When word processing is used in test preparation, avoid leaving the information on the computer. If possible, place the information on a disc which can be secured in a safe place.
  • Tests should be original, not repetitions of exams given previous semesters.

Test Taking

A. Copying

B. Crib sheets and other means of having answers in the classroom

C. Passing answers


  • Do not leave the classroom during the test.
  • Carefully proctor exams and walk around the room.

Prevention Strategies

  • When giving multiple choice or short answer tests, alternate test forms should be used if at all possible. A computer can be used to scramble questions and create an answer key for each different test.
  • Spread students out as much as possible.
  • All books, papers, and personal belongings should be stored under the student's seat or, preferably, in the front of the classroom.
  • Paper should be provided for the test answers and any scratch work. Staple together answer sheets and scratch paper prior to distribution with answer sheet on bottom. Do not permit papers to be unstapled.
  • If blue books are to be used, require students to turn them in blank at the class period prior to the test. The books can be distributed at the start of the test.
  • Be alert for name similarities and use of electronic devices. True/False and multiple choice tests are particularly vulnerable to this type of cheating.
  • Do not permit any verbal or nonverbal communication between students.
  • Test pick-up: have students leave their test package on their desks. This will prevent switching papers and will allow detection of copying from neighbors by answer patterns.

D. "Ringer" Taking the Test for Another Student


  • Carefully proctor exams.
  • Check student ID's.

Prevention Strategies

  • Have each student display their photo ID on the desk.
  • Check for substitutions.
  • Have each student hand in the test personally and present his/her ID. The instructor, having inspected the ID, checks the class roster, the names on the test, and initials the test.

E. "Stooge" who sits in on exam and leaves with test.


  • Be vigilant-try to watch each exit. If possible secure proctor assistance.
  • Check ID's early.

Prevention Strategies

  • Number all tests before distribution. Be sure all tests are returned. If one is missing, be sure it does not show up later.
  • If a student needs to leave the room during a test, have him/her hand in the exam until he/she returns.

Following the Test

A. Turning in lifted exam as test taken in class


  • Close observation

Prevention Strategies

  • Do not leave exams or grade book on the desk or in the open unattended. Keep in locked safe place.
  • If a test is discovered missing at end of exam, be sure it does not reappear as completed test.

B. Changing Grades on Exams

C. Changing Answers on Exams


  • Photocopy the tests of those suspected before handing them back.

Prevention Strategies

  • Mark grades in grade book prior to returning tests.
  • Warn students that some exams will be photocopied before returning to detect changes.
  • If grades are placed on a computer, insure security is of the highest level. Place grades on disc, if possible, so that the disc can be safely locked up.

Take-Home Test

Take-home test done by "expert."


  • Solution done in a way not covered by instructor.
  • Looks "professional."

Prevention Strategies

  • Avoid giving take-home tests.
  • Require oral presentation.


A. Copy solutions from instructor's manual.


  • Compare solutions with manual.

Prevention Strategy

  • Change to a book with no manual.

B. Copy solutions from fellow students

C. Copy from old sets from previous semesters


  • Careful grading-look for similarities.

Prevention Strategies

  • Count homework as only a small percentage of final grade or not at all.
  • Give different homework assignments each semester.

D. Get report done by an expert


  • Solutions done in a way not covered by instructor.

Prevention Strategy

  • Ask for oral presentation.



  • Look for significant fluctuations in writing style.
  • Looks "professional."
  • Look for work that appears to be clearly beyond student's ability.

Prevention Strategies

  • Place limits on topic selection.
  • Avoid topics that are "too general"-decreases likelihood of using a "paper mill."
  • Change topic lists frequently.
  • Establish precise format for paper and stick to it.
  • Require a tentative bibliography early in the term.
  • Require library location numbers.
  • Require advance outline of paper.
  • Do not permit late topic changes.
  • Give pop test on basic knowledge.
  • Accept only originally typed manuscripts-no photocopies.
  • Require notes and rough drafts.
  • Keep original papers on file for five years.
  • Use in class writing assignments.

NOTE: The Summary is adapted from the book, Academic Integrity and Student Development, Kibler, Nuss, Paterson, & Pavela and was adapted from Singhal, A.C. & Johnson, P. (1983). How to halt student dishonesty. College Student Journal, 17(l), 13-19. Copyright by Project Innovation

Your options when you discover that students have cheated:

  1. You should confront the student(s) directly, discuss the situation and then you can assign your own penalty accordingly. Penalties can include: requesting the student to re-do the work, assigning the student a failing grade for the assignment or assigning a lower or failing grade for the course.
  2. You can report to the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management that you discovered cheating or plagiarism and handled it. (This allows the University to maintain statistics and detect patterns of cheating from individual students).
  3. You can request the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management to assign a coordinator of student discipline to investigate the case.

The Student Conduct Procedures for Student Discipline are outlined on this website.