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Academic Integrity

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1. Definitions of Academic Violations
2. Academic Integrity at Georgia Highlands
3. Turnitin Useage data at GHC
4. Online Resources about Academic Integrity
5. Example of a Student/Instructor Agreement
6. Academic Dishonesty Online
7. Academic Cheating Fact Sheet
8. Suspicious Signs Exercise
9. Recent studies

1. Definitions of Academic Violations

The following "Definitions of Academic Violations" are from Northwestern University http://www.northwestern.edu/uacc/defines.html.

"Registration at Northwestern requires adherence to the University's standards of academic integrity. These standards may be intuitively understood, and cannot in any case be listed exhaustively; the following examples represent some basic types of behavior that are unacceptable:

Cheating: using unauthorized notes, study aids, or information on an examination; altering a graded work after it has been returned, then submitting the work for regrading; allowing another person to do one's work and submitting that work under one's own name; submitting identical or similar papers for credit in more than one course without prior permission from the course instructors.

Plagiarism: submitting material that in part or whole is not entirely one's own work without attributing those same portions to their correct source.

Fabrication: falsifying or inventing any information, data or citation; presenting data that were not gathered in accordance with standard guidelines defining the appropriate methods for collecting or generating data and failing to include an accurate account of the method by which the data were gathered or collected.

Obtaining an Unfair Advantage: (a) stealing, reproducing, circulating or otherwise gaining access to examination materials prior to the time authorized by the instructor; (b) stealing, destroying, defacing or concealing library materials with the purpose of depriving others of their use; (c) unauthorized collaborating on an academic assignment (d) retaining, possessing, using or circulating previously given examination materials, where those materials clearly indicate that they are to be returned to the instructor at the conclusion of the examination; (e) intentionally obstructing or interfering with another student's academic work, or (f) otherwise undertaking activity with the purpose of creating or obtaining an unfair academic advantage over other students' academic work.

Aiding and Abetting Academic Dishonesty: (a) providing material, information, or other assistance to another person with knowledge that such aid could be used in any of the violations stated above, or (b) providing false information in connection with any inquiry regarding academic integrity.

Falsification of Records and Official Documents: altering documents affecting academic records; forging signatures of authorization or falsifying information on an official academic document, grade report, letter of permission, petition, drop/add form, ID card, or any other official University document.

Unauthorized Access to computerized academic or administrative records or systems: viewing or altering computer records, modifying computer programs or systems, releasing or dispensing information gained via unauthorized access, or interfering with the use or availability of computer systems or information."

2. Academic Integrity Policy at Georgia Highlands College

The following documents are available at the Office of Academic Affairs web page.

These include GHC:
Academic Integrity Code
Academic Dishonesty Checklist
Academic Dishonesty Resolution Checklist
Academic Misconduct Report

3. Turnitin Useage at GHC

Turnitin is a commerial plagiarism detection service available to GHC faculty and students. It has been used at the college since 2004.

A. August 2009 to Sept, 2010

30 GHC instructors used Turnitin
3766 students
16530 submissions

5607 = no matches to anything in Turnitin database
7858 = 0-24% matches (to something in the Turnitin database)
1745 = 25-49%
512 = 50-70%
807 = 75-100%

B. August 2010 to Sept, 2011

34 GHC instructors used Turnitin
4120 students
16350 submissions

6288 = no matches to anything in Turnitin database
7389 = 0-24% matches (to something in the Turnitin database)
1752 = 25-49%
548 = 50-70%
373 = 75-100%

4. Online Resources

Clemson University
Center for Academic Integrity Resources.
Useful articles and links about real-life academic integrity issues faced by students and instructors.
Includes case studies, suggestions for instructors.

University of Ontario Academic Integrity Resources site has links to 9 useful sites concerned with academic integrity.

Ryerson University
Academic Integrity Cartoons (movies). Five short video cartoons illustrating "real-life" issues faced by a student as she deals with the pressures of studying and preparing a paper while considering academic integrity.

5. A Student/Instructor Agreement on Academic Integrity

Integrity: Academic and Political
A Letter to My Students
Bill Taylor, Professor of Political Science, Oakton Community College
(Used with permission)

6. Academic Dishonesty Online

The following abstract of "Point, Click, and Cheat: Frequency and Type of Academic Dishonesty in the Virtual Classroom" suggests that academic dishonesty among students taking an online course may be less prevalent than we might think.


Students who feel disconnected from others may be prone to engage in deceptive behaviors such as academic dishonesty. George and Carlson (1999) contend that as the distance between a student and a physical classroom setting increases, so too would the frequency of online cheating. The distance that exists between faculty and students through the virtual classroom may contribute to the belief that students enrolled in online classes are more likely to cheat than students enrolled in traditional classroom settings.

The prevalence of academic misconduct among students enrolled in online classes was explored. Students (N = 225) were given the Student Academic Dishonesty Survey to determine the frequency and type of academic dishonest behaviors.

Results indicated that students enrolled in online classes were less likely to cheat than those enrolled in traditional, on ground courses. Aiding and abetting was self-reported as the most frequently used method among students in both online and traditional classroom settings. Results suggest that the amount of academic misconduct among online students may not be as prevalent as believed.

7. Academic Cheating Fact Sheet

From: Cheating is a Personal Foul, ETS/Ad Council.

Academic cheating is defined as representing someone else's work as your own. It can take many forms, including sharing another's work, purchasing a term paper or test questions in advance, paying another to do the work for you.

Statistics show that cheating among high school students has risen dramatically during the past 50 years.

In the past it was the struggling student who was more likely to cheat just to get by. Today it is also the above-average college bound students who are cheating.

73% of all test takers, including prospective graduate students and teachers agree that most students do cheat at some point. 86% of high school students agreed.

Cheating no longer carries the stigma that it used to. Less social disapproval coupled with increased competition for admission into universities and graduate schools has made students more willing to do whatever it takes to get the A.

Grades, rather than education, have become the major focus of many students.

Fewer college officials (35%) believe that cheating is a problem, in this country than do members of the public (41%).

High school students are less likely than younger test takers to report cheaters, because it would be "tattling" or "ratting out a friend."

Many students feel that their individual honesty in academic endeavors will not effect anyone else.

While about 20% of college students admitted to cheating in high school during the 1940's, today between 75 and 98 percent of college students surveyed each year report having cheated in high school.

Students who cheat often feel justified in what they are doing. They cheat because they see others cheat and they think they will be unfairly disadvantaged. The cheaters are getting 100 on the exam, while the non-cheaters may only get 90's.

In most cases cheaters don't get caught. If caught, they seldom are punished severely, if at all.

Cheating increases due to pressure for high grades.

Math and Science are the courses in which cheating most often occurs.

Computers can make cheating easier than ever before. For example, students can download term papers from the world wide web.

"Thirty years ago, males admitted to significantly more academic dishonesty than females. Today, that difference has decreased substantially and some recent studies show no differences in cheating between men and women in college."

Cheating may begin in elementary school when children break or bend the rules to win competitive games against classmates. It peaks during high school when about 75% of students admit to some sort of academic misgivings.

Research about cheating among elementary age children has shown that: There are more opportunities and motivations to cheat than in preschool; Young children believe that it is wrong, but could be acceptable depending on the task; Do not believe that it is common; Hard to resist when others suggest breaking rules; Need for approval is related to cheating; Boys cheat more.

Academic cheating begins to set in at the junior high level.

Research about cheating among middle school children (Ages 12-14) has shown that: There is increased motivation to cheat because there is more emphasis on grades; Even those students who say it is wrong, cheat; If the goal is to get a good grade, they will cheat.

According to one recent survey of middle schoolers, 2/3 of respondents reported cheating on exams, while 9/10 reported copying another's homework.

According to the 1998 poll of Who's Who Among American High School Students, 80% of the country's best students cheated to get to the top of their class. More than half the students surveyed said they don't think cheating is a big deal and most did not get caught.

According to surveys conducted by The Josephson Institute of Ethics among 20,000 middle and high school students, 64% of high school students admitted to cheating in 1996. That number jumped to 70% in 1998.

Research about cheating among college students has shown the following to be the primary reasons for cheating: Campus norm; No honor code; Penalties not severe; Faculty support of academic integrity policies is low; Little chance of being caught; Incidence is higher at larger, less selective institutions.

Additional influencers include: Others doing it; Faculty member doesn't seem to care; Required course; No stated rules or rules are unclear; Heavy workload.

Profile of college students more likely to cheat: Business or Engineering majors; Those whose future plans include business; Men self-report cheating more than woman; Fraternity and Sorority members; Younger students; Students with lower GPA's or those at the very top.

Cheating is seen by many students as a means to a profitable end.

Cheating does not end at graduation. For example, resume fraud is a serious issue for employers concerned about the level of integrity of new employees.

8. Suspicious Signs Exercise


Try it for yourself. From the site above (courtesy Univ. of Michigan library)
"The paper below was constructed to be representative of a problematic paper turned in by a first year student. Please read the paper and note which elements arouse your suspicions."

9. Recent Studies

The Digital Revolution and Higher Education
A Pew research project from 2011 including observations by college presidents about plagiarism in the "digital age."


Page last updated: September 21, 2012