Maintaining Academic Honesty

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25th October, 2010

Maintaining Academic Honesty

Academic honesty can be described as a moral code in academia which encompasses maintaining required academic standards, avoidance of plagiarism or cheating and truthfulness in academic publishing and research. It is applicable in all types of educational settings raging from elementary to graduate school. Honesty is sincerity and truthfulness. It is being upright in actions and principle. Honesty builds a positive image socially and creates a warm atmosphere. Students who engage in honesty enjoy inner peace, long-lasting trust both in academia and in life. Sincerity bears good fruits and helps in interacting with others. Academic honesty enhances social and individual prosperity as well as fair play. The topic of academic honesty cannot be completely discussed without addressing academic dishonesty. Academic dishonesty includes fabrication, deception, plagiarism, sabotage, bribery, cheating and professional misconduct. Dishonesty leads to hate, deceit, miscommunications, mistrust and declining social values. Students should be honest with themselves and others so as to help cope with life challenges. They should know their strengths and work on their limitations. Cheaters never win and winners never cheat. With the changing technology, maintaining academic honesty is increasingly hard. Students engage in questionable ethical manners making them inevitably honest (Donald 2010).

The availability of information from the internet has posed as a challenge for students to maintain honesty. Plagiarism is common for students who find it hard to cite the source of in formation from the variety. Regarding honesty in academics, students have developed an attitude that is less serious. Videos and other instructional articles are readily available to give tips to the students on how to cheat. Academic institutions are unable to cope with the variety ways of cheating formulated by students. Academic honesty is a dual effort exhibited by the faculty and the students. For instance the aspect of grade inflation involves the faculty as the principle determinant of honesty in this case.

Academic honesty is violated in a number of ways. Cheating is achieved through attaining information from fellow students when examinations are on. Students communicate and share information in exams. They allow fellow students to copy from their work. Personification is also very evident in schools especially during exams. Students use unauthorized writing materials in exams. Some alter graded examination and return it to the teachers or instructors for additional credit. Some alter laboratory and research projects misreporting their findings. Others submit their work to research companies and make payments for their assignments to be done by someone else (Wilfried 2002).

Plagiarism is submitting creative products such as ideas and words as one’s own work. It involves reproduction or adoption of other’s original creations without their acknowledgement. Direct quotations, ideas, facts and paraphrases should be accredited to the source. Other forms of violating academic honesty are stealing answer key or examinations, altering academic records and forgery. Some students submit same work for various courses. Others engage in sabotage by impairing intentionally the work of others, distracting them, altering athletic or musical equipments, removing some pages from books, and altering reagents or laboratory samples of fellow students’ experiments. Collusion is the instance where a student intentionally aids another one in engaging in academic dishonesty. Disciplinary of collusion cases should be similar to that of the act itself (‘GWC’ 2010) Students engage in bribery where they pay for answers and gain other academic benefits. Others engage in deception by giving wrong information regarding academic exercises. This may involve false excuses for failing to submit due assignments or claiming that they have submitted their work while they haven’t. Other students engage in fabrication where they give wrong data, citations and information in their academic exercises.

Academic institutions should bear the responsibility of ensuring assigning of grades reflects the skill and knowledge level of students. Academic dishonesty weakens the society by producing intellectually incompetent individuals. To maintain honesty, the faculty should allocate honest grades to the students ensuring that honest students are not disadvantaged competitively. The faculty staff should bear the responsibility of elaborating the true importance of maintaining honesty to the students. It should conduct the students in a manner that makes plagiarism, cheating and any other dishonesty impossible. Students who engage in dishonesty should be disciplined in a manner that is timely (‘GWC’ 2010)

Students should avoid dishonesty, report incidences of dishonesty from fellow students and avoid aiding or being involved in any form of academic dishonesty. The administration is supposed to support students and the faculty to maintain honesty. It should facilitate disciplinary for personnel and the students involved in dishonesty. The administration is also supposed to disseminate the policy of academic honesty and its principles to staff, students and the faculty. It is the responsibility of the staff to co-operate with students, administration he faculty to eradicate cases of academic dishonesty. To maintain honesty, the staff is supposed to notify the body concerned with cases of academic dishonesty when incidences arise. Cases of violation of academic honesty involve evidence. Instructor could orally reprimand the student, deduct the points, give zero points or give an ‘F’ for the whole course. Serious cases involve tougher disciplinary actions such as discontinuity and suspension of the student. Some administrators reprimand students to go on probation as a disciplinary approach. Disciplinary actions helps minimize if not abolish violation of academic honesty thus improving the quality of education (‘GWC’ 2010)

Academic honesty comes with a number of benefits. Students make intellectual progress. The measure of skills, intellectual maturity and knowledge is achieved when one is honest. This helps the students to acquire standard academic success. Institutions that maintain integrity in academics flourish intellectually and are able to win the trust of the society and the world at large. Honesty in academics is reflected when one gets a career where one avoids being engaged in fraud in the workplace. Students who are honest in class will definitely be honest at work with fellow workers and avoid any incidences e that may diminish their honesty. Since potential employers use the qualifications of the student to gage their capability, honest certificates are essential in the job market. If wrong qualifications are handed in, then the result is incompetence at work and failure to deliver which may eventually lead to being laid off. Academic honesty saves the staff and student the emotional agony associated with dishonesty. Dishonesty destructs the student involved and the instructors who may be forced to take a tough disciplinary action against their wish. Honest students earn good reputation and may attract potential employers (Kenneth 2009)


Honesty in academics cannot be over emphasized. Learning institutions should ensure that there is integrity in academics contributed by staff and the students. Disciplinary action should be taken for students involved in dishonesty so as others can learn by example. The academic world maintains its integrity when honesty is emphasized. Honesty exalts education and creates conducive learning environment for students to reap the right rewards for their effort and this helps in pursuing knowledge.


Donald L. McCabe, LK Trevino. (2010). Journal of Higher Education. Questia. Cengage Learning

Golden West College (GWC). (2010). Academic Honesty Policy. Huntington Beach, CA

Kenneth A. Gabriel. (2009). Management Consulting. Robert H. Smith School of Business. Washington, DC

Wilfried Decoo. (2002). Crisis on Campus: Confronting Academic Misconduct. Cambridge. HYPERLINK “” o “MIT Press” MIT Press