Academic integrity means being morally and ethically upright when it comes to academics. Education is supposed to encourage fairness, and ethical behavior studying helps people to grow and achieve the goals they deserve. It includes responsibility and honesty in academics by avoiding acts of academic misconduct such as cheating, using unauthorized materials during exams and improper collaboration with other students on a given assignment or project. Academic misconduct also takes place when one someone copies work online and presents it as their own. It includes handing an assignment twice for separate courses, forging, fabricating or changing documents to get academic advantage or assisting others in misconduct. Intimidating or trying to bribe someone to prevent them from reporting misconduct violates the code of integrity.
There are six core values of academic integrity that include trust, fairness, courage, honesty, responsibility and respect. Dishonest students are lying to the lecturer to get a good grade they don't deserve, and they are also lying to themselves. They are misrepresenting their capabilities and knowledge. Cheating is immoral as it shows that one is not prepared to handle the working environment. Dishonest students can continue cheating people in their social and private lives even after school because they are not used to hard work. Another value is the responsibility, when a person holds the title of a doctor, lawyer, or engineer they are held responsible for their ability to perform within their profession. The education system is meant to sharpen students for the real world and if they get to hold these titles, it is irresponsible of them as they can potentially endanger their lives and of people within their work environment. Trust is another core value of academic integrity. When a student does an exam or assignment, they are showing that they have learned and can be trusted with the next step of the occupation they are pursuing. A professional cannot be trusted with his work if he was not honest in his student work as they cannot perform the task they have been entrusted with. This is will create a negative impact on the society and the lying professional.
A person who upholds the values of academic integrity shows respect for his peers and educators. It is extremely disrespectful to cheat in an exam that the other students have sacrificed so much time studying for and then get the same grade or better. It is also unethical to the professionals who put in an effort to educate and be rewarded for it unfairly; it shows a lack of respect and undermines their intelligence. It is misconduct to interfere with the integrity code and investigations done by the integrity council.Plagiarism is another form of misconduct and is most common among students.
It is also unfair that a dishonest student should get a passing grade they do not deserve; the student has an advantage over the rest because they don’t have equal access to information in the exam room. It is unfair to the honest students who took the initiative to work hard and then get the same evaluation as a student who cheated in an exam. The dishonest student might even perform better than the rest and end up on the dean's list together with the student who put in a lot of hard work. It is unfair also the professionals who get a false satisfaction that the students have learned and also unfair to the student because they cheat themselves out of a learning opportunity to learn and improve their knowledge of the course. That same a student might get a job opportunity based on their false academic qualifications locking out deserving students who learned something about the subject and are more qualified for the job.
Courage is another virtue in academic integrity. Courageous students should learn from failing and work hard and perform better the next time. They should be courageous enough to be the whistleblower when they witness someone cheating. They should not be scared of the consequences of failing. Students should be courageous enough to resist pressure from their peers to take the easy way out by cheating or not studying when it is required. It is wrong and a lack of integrity to take credit for something a student has not worked hard for. A student should not cheat if they do not expect to be cheated on and if they expect fair grading from their teachers.
Cheating undermines the values of education; it makes students careless and lazy and makes them; dependent which affects their personality and might lead to a pathetic lifestyle. A student that does not cheat might lose incentive to work for their grades and opt for cheating that might lead to a generation of intellectual thieves. The members of the faculty are entrusted with the difficult task to enforce academic integrity. They should also create awareness about it and should lead by exemplary behavior .
Bernerd Whitley, P. S. (2001). Academic Dishonesty: An Educator's Guide. London: Psychology Press, 16-69.
Gallant, T. B. (2008). Academic Integrity in the twenty- first century. London: Jossey-Bass press, 5-138.