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  • Writer's pictureCharlotte Skjald

Why Does Academic Integrity Matter in Higher Education?

Almost every higher educational institution has an academic integrity codex. yet, students are still violating academic integrity. In this article I will briefly go through, what is academic integrity and why is it important to implement it at an educational institution. This article is a part of a larger research work I am working on.


Most students have learned that they are not allowed to lie, be dishonest, or steal. This is something we teach our children from a very young age. If we ask our young children if they are allowed to steal an apple at the supermarket, they will look at us with scare, and say a firm no.


This is rooted in all societies and cultures, that we must trust each other, and if we somehow step out of the societal or cultural norms, it will have consequences. If you as a child steal an apple from the neighbor’s tree, you will most likely be asked to return it to the neighbor and apologize. If we as adults break the law, we could end up in prison.


Exam


An interesting question when it comes to academic integrity is, why do students not understand the consequences of cheating during their education? Is it simply because they have not learned that cheating on exams doesn’t have consequences or do, they all have a bad morals? Many studies have been made on why students cheat at college level, and whether the students believe cheating is acceptable or not. Most surveys show that a high number of students do not accept cheating, and yet they are willing to cheat. Or they divide cheating into different categories, divided into cheating on tests or cheating on exams. They will also separate the cheating into if they copied from someone, got help from someone or if they had cheat notes they made themselves for the exam.


No matter how the students see cheating, it is all a misconduct of academic integrity. Most higher educational institutions have set out rules and guidelines, that state that any kind of cheating is a misconduct of academic integrity, and it will have some sort of consequence. But what exactly is academic integrity, and why is it important students know about it?


Academic integrity is a value system based on six values. These values are often found in society and are values most students already know. The six values are

  • Honesty

  • Trust

  • Fairness

  • Respect

  • Responsibility

  • Courage

In a society as a whole, these values ensure we can co-exist, and we can trust each other. Since these values already exist in societies, it is given that these values also are valid at educational institutions. These values should be present at all levels of the educational institutions from instructors, staff, administration, and students alike. Having clear values at all levels of the institution creates scholarly communities where these values are key elements. When these elements are present throughout the educational institution, these values will most likely be carried out into the work field for the students, after they graduate. In contrast, research has shown, that students who do not honor these values during their studies, will continue this dishonesty into their work life. Thus, students need to learn about academic integrity during their studies.





For educational institutions academic integrity is important, if the education conducted, as well as research done at the institution, should hold any value and credibility. If educators cannot be trusted in their knowledge, then the teachings lose their value. In addition to this, the students may not receive the knowledge they need, or the knowledge is not valid or in the worst case wrong. For the maritime sector, this could be a safety risk onboard the vessels, since the graduated maritime staff are not equipped to handle an emergency, or they are unable to foresee a risk that is rooted in their work behavior or actions.


This is why BluePoint Scholastic is very keen on these six values when we work with educational institutions. It is important that managers and teachers all enforce academic integrity and teach the students these values. Often educational institutions prohibit behaviors that go against these values and turn it into an illegal act to have academic misconduct. Academic integrity is an element in our Train the Trainer Course and our Writer’s Workshop.


If you or your educational institution need help in setting up academic integrity guidelines, or you are interested in a seminar regarding this subject, we can help you in this matter. You can contact Charlotte at charlotte@bluepointscholastic.com for further information.




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