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Understanding Academic Misconduct in Canadian PSE Julia Christensen Hughes University of Guelph February 1, 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "Understanding Academic Misconduct in Canadian PSE Julia Christensen Hughes University of Guelph February 1, 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 Understanding Academic Misconduct in Canadian PSE Julia Christensen Hughes University of Guelph February 1, 2008

2 Some Definitions What is plagiarism? What is (academic) misconduct? What is (academic) integrity?

3 Plagiarism to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own : use (another's production) without crediting the source to commit literary theft : present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source (Merriam Webster, on-line)

4 What is (Academic) Misconduct? Intentional wrongdoing; specifically: deliberate violation of a law or standard of practice especially by a government official Synonym: misbehaviour (Merriam Webster, on-line) “Anything that gives a student an unearned advantage over another.” University Affairs, Mullens (2000, p. 23)

5 What is (Academic) Integrity? Firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values: incorruptibility Synonym: honesty (Merriam Webster, on-line) “A commitment, even in the face of adversity, to five fundamental values: honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility” (CAI, Duke University)

6 Key Observations About Academic Integrity Not just about “catching” students Creating a culture/environment in which all members of the community are committed to – and held accountable for - upholding shared values

7 Why is Academic Integrity Important?

8 Core Purpose of Academe “To provide an environment, a place, where individuals may come to search for new meanings and new concepts of ‘Truth’.” (Besvinick, 1983, p. 567)

9 Our Mission Statements: Pursuit of truth, education of students, conferring of degrees

10 Societal Expectations “Universities are perceived as epitomizing intellectual and social honesty, and they are expected to strive continually for that form of perfection” (Besvinick, 1983, p. 569).

11 The Reality The Reality Academic misconduct is commonplace University curricula value neutral “The mystery is not why cheating is wrong or why students cheat, but why there is so little passion about this massive assault on the highest values of the academy.” (Alschuler & Blimling, 1995, p. 124)

12 Why Academic Integrity is Difficult Values difficult to define and uphold Values may not be shared (age, culture) Values are reinforced by the broader community

13 Community Values Corporate scandals Olympic/sports scandals Church scandals Political scandals Celebrity scandals Ends justify the means Cheating to win – game playing philosophy

14 Olympic Athletes Weinberg and Gould (2003) "Foundations of Sport and Exercise Psychology"

15 The Research on AI Majority of students have cheated Bowers (1964) –39% serious test cheating –65% serious cheating on written work

16 All individual serious test cheating behaviours had increased significantly –copying (26 to 52%) –helping another student to cheat (23 to 37%) –using crib notes (16 to 27%) Unpermitted student collaboration (11 to 49%) McCabe and Trevino (1996)

17 “Changes in Student Learning Behaviours” (COU No. 781, Bob Sharpe) Diverse Excessive workloads Learning disabilities (1/10) International students Sense of entitlement Parental involvement Technology savvy/connected

18 Canadian Research 11 Universities 2002 – ,913 undergraduate students 1,269 1 st year – high school 1,318 graduate students 683 TAs, and 1,902 faculty

19 Limitations of the Survey Self-reported Census versus random Wide range of response rates/populations Student concern with confidentiality Not prescriptive or conclusive

20 Specific Behaviours Work with others Get Q&A Copy a few sentences Fabricate/falsify lab data Copying during exam Fabricate/falsify a bibliography Fabricate/falsify research data Turn in work by someone else Buy paper off Internet

21 Specific Behaviours (high school, undergrad, grads) Work with others (76%, 45%, 29%) Get Q&A (73%, 38%, 16%) Copy a few sentences (62%, 37%, 24%) Fabricate/falsify lab data (50%, 25%, 6%) Copying during exam (33%, 6%, 3%) Fabricate/falsify a bibliography (30%, 17%, 9%) Fabricate/falsify research data (29%, 9%, 3%) Turn in work by someone else (22%, 9%, 4%) Buy paper off internet (1%, 1%, 0%)

22 Institutional/Contextual Factors 1.Risk perception 2.Policies and practices 3.Quality of teaching and assessment

23 1.Risk Perception Little chance of being caught Students not likely to report one another Canadian study (high school): –12% embarrassed to tell friends –14% likely or very likely to be caught –43% likely or very likely significant penalties

24 Faculty Response Have ignored suspected case (46% F, 38% TAs) –Lack of evidence –Lack of support –Lack of time Penalties –Most likely – reprimand or warning (59% F, 71% TAs) –Most preferred – failing grade (56% F, 59% TAs)

25 2.Policies and Practices Vague, ineffective, cumbersome policies

26 Understanding of Penalties Understanding of Penalties To be honest, I really don’t know the penalties of cheating, and maybe that’s why I have no problem looking at another student’s multiple-choice answers when I get a chance.

27 3.Quality of Teaching and Assessment “Students are most likely to cheat when they think their assignments are pointless, and less likely to cheat when they admire and respect their teachers and are excited about what they are learning.” (Kiss, 2000, p. 6-7)

28 Canadian Study If the students themselves feel cheated when taking a course, they are more likely to use any weakness in the system to finish the course with minimal effort and move on. “Students cheat when they feel cheated”

29 As long as universities are not about learning, students will cheat…Are assignments given to teach the students the material, or are assignments given to determine what the student will get as a mark? There is only one primary purpose. ‘Cheating’ allows the student to get a better mark.

30 Students DO NOT COME TO SCHOOL TO LEARN…we come because a university education is deemed socially and economically necessary…We have been brain washed into a game, whereby we memorize vast amounts of material, regurgitate it onto paper in a crowded room, and then forget about it..

31 “If universities create ‘game playing conditions’, students will engage in ‘game playing behaviours’”

32 The Five Levers 1.Recommit to integrity as a core value 2.Provide quality education 3.Reform assessment practice 4.Review, revise and clarify policies and procedures 5.Provide educational/orientation activities


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