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Academic dishonesty encompasses a collection of purposeful but intolerable behaviors that are in opposition to the scholastic rules and regulations of any institution or a given course policy well affirmed in its course outline (Tadesse and Getachew, 2009).
It covers three broad areas: writing, miscellaneous group and use of visual or oral communication methods. Miscellaneous method involves the use of programs gadgets like calculators, mobile phones, hiding books and lecture notes in toilets.
Writing methods cover the use of copy notes, writing on individual’s body, clothes and other hard objects while visual method include: copying of other students’ assignments or works, requesting for answers from other students and having a fake student write your exam.
However, plagiarism is the common most form of academic dishonesty while exam cheating being the least in rating. Dishonesty devalues educational standards, lowers learner’s individual identity, university’s reputation, mission and its offered qualification as educational validity depends on truth and principle of equity.
Trends, historical precedence
Since its first evidence in 1940, academic dishonesty has since gained a lot of attention. Nevertheless, the complexity of academic dishonesty has since increased and shortchanged many institutions and researchers. According to McCabe 2005, the percentage of students reported of not being allowed to work in partnership increased from 1963 levels of 11 percent to 49 percent in 1993.
He concluded that there was faculty reluctance in following the institutional policies which they claimed on no enough time and effort, tedious and challenging tasks in its documentation, individual resistance to official penalties, and perspicacity of the faculty becoming the defendant as an alternative to the concerned students.
He concluded that academic dishonesty is on the rise and students perceived that most institutions and faculties had failed to institute a strong culture of integrity. It can, therefore, be concluded that cheating rate ranges between 60-80 percent with most American students both in high school and mid-level colleges admitting that cheating is their usual practice. In fact, McCabe acknowledges that over 75 percent of college students have cheated at least once in their education lifetime; nevertheless, more than a half does not consider it as wrongdoing.
In fact, one online term paper writing center received over 80,000 clients per day (The Center for Academic Integrity, 1999). It can clearly be concluded that this device is at the pick and will continue to increase to eternity. At Simon Fraser University, academic integrity is considered a serious issue and result in expulsion of the concerned student.
The institutional strategy in promotion of academic integrity is well in grinned in the university code of academic integrity and good behavior, university board on student discipline, senate committee on disciplinary appeals, principles and procedures for student disciplines.
These values support this university mission of providing quality education, promotion of scientific progress and as a foundation for vibrant academic life within and after the college (The Center for Academic Integrity, 1999).
In Ethiopia, Tadesse and Getachew, 2009 on analyzing faculties’ perception and Responses to Academic Dishonesty acknowledged that even though the rules were very clear on dishonesty, students still involve themselves in cheating. In Addis Ababa University, the control measures in handbook included: written reprimand, detection and by instructor and finally probation and suspension while in Jemma University only simple warning, denial of total marks and expulsion was recommended.
They concluded that teachers’ knowledge of the institution academic rules and regulations, failure to discuss course policies, recognition of effectiveness of rules enforcement, cruelty of penalties for violation and low levels of awareness of incidences of academic dishonesty were the major factors contributing to this menace.
To alleviate this menace, they recommended a strict enforcement of rules and regulation, improved communication of these rules, serious penalties on victims, education structures quality improvement and finally providing tutorial services to students.
Additionally, they recommended that academic rules and regulation of any institutions be revised to be more reactive, increase the level of education for academic staff and students. Finally, faculty administrators should be more responsible with clear communication of rules and standards of academic conduct.
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The changing job market and stiff competition for limited vacancies is a strain on graduate students’ performance. These pressures make students to resort to unethical behaviors like cheating. McCabe, Trevino and Butterfield 2001 on a study of academic cheating amongst the U.S. institutions acknowledged that the prevalence of cheating was greater now than 30 years ago.
They suggested that both individual and contextual factors were the major influencers of cheating. However, contextual factors like students’ perceptions on their peers’ behavior was rated the topmost influencing factor. Moreover, they noticed that institution’s academic integrity programs and policies like honor codes also had a significant influence on students’ behavior.
They recommended a dialogue between students and academic staff and during such meetings, the contents of code rules and regulations be revisited, excellent interworking relationship between faculties and academic unions and strong messages be sent to student concerning the consequences of cheating.
Information technology has revolutionized education system through its distance learning initiatives. These initiatives have improved financial and infrastructural capabilities of most academic institutions in the areas like classroom allocation, parking, and faculty utilization.
To students, online classes offer minimal travel time wastages, greater flexibility and enjoy education at the comfort of their homes without any geographical hindrance. However, Lanier, 2006 on a study to determine whether previous studies of cheating can foretell who will cheat in the online class observed that cheating was a common practice in online classes than in traditional classroom environment.
He observed that online education was gaining more attention due to its cost-saving function and improved access by target population. Secondly, constrained budgets and local needs facilitate decision to increase on line investment in education. However, quality of education was the least considered of all the factors.
The common models of online delivery include: a videotape method and interactive television coupled with web-based instructions. The classes are of the two types: web-based where internet is used and secondly a mix media which requires class attendance added to an online instruction.
He, therefore, concluded that gender, age of students, race and ethnicity, the GPA levels and type of course whether social science of not of students were the main factors affecting cheating levels in institutions. He added that to curb cheating, apprehension and deterrence were necessary. In addition, researchers should increase explanatory variables to gain correct prediction and explanation on academic dishonesty.
Academic integrity is grounded on the principle of honesty, fairness, trust, responsibility and respect. Several universities build on cultures supporting guanine research and teaching.
According to Camilla and Hai-Jew 2009 on a study of Issues of Academic Integrity at Kansas State University noted that the university has honor code supported by the K-State Honor and Integrity System, a clear student judiciary system, and an integrity course for students involved in the act.
They noted that academic identity was essential to learners’ identity, university mission achievement, reputation and the qualification it offers to its learners. They accepted that causal factors of democracy can best be understood from two perspectives: external and internal factors.
They also noted that the use of multimedia was influential in increasing students’ participation in this online exercise. They recommended that such initiatives are essential to universities approach to curtailing academic dishonesty, thereby increasing the learning processes.
Camilla, J. and Hai-Jew, S. (2009). Issues of Academic Integrity: An Online Course for Students Addressing Academic Dishonesty. Web.
Lanier, M. M. (2006). Academic integrity and distance learning. Journal of Criminal Justice Education, vol. 17(2). Web.
McCabe, D. L. (2005). It takes a village: Academic dishonesty and educational opportunity. Liberal Education, Summer/Fall.
McCabe, D. L., Trevino L. K. and Butterfield, K. D. (2001). Cheating in academic institutions: A decade of research. Ethics and Behavior, vol.11 (3): pp. 219–232. Web.
Tadesse, T. and Getachew, K. (2009). Faculties’ perception and responses to academic dishonesty of undergraduate students in education, business and economics. Ethiopian Journal of Education and Science, vol. 4 (2). Web.
The Center for Academic Integrity. (1999). The Fundamental Values of academic integrity. Web.