The reasons students cheat are complex and not necessarily just “a bad person doing a bad thing.” Often students cheat as the result of an interaction between elements of human nature and the current context. When stress levels are high and students don’t feel invested in the learning, cheating increases. But decades of research tells us that student cheating can be curtailed when the learning environment and classroom cultures encourage integrity.

Academic Integrity is the commitment to six fundamental values: honesty, respect, responsibility, fairness, trust, and courage. Creating a culture of academic integrity that endures — even in the face of adversity — requires commitment by instructors, students, and the institution to support “intellectual accomplishments that are worthwhile, significant, and meaningful.”

When students perceive that assessments are fair and honestly assess their learning, they become more invested in the work and are less likely to cheat. These authentic assessments engage students in “worthy problems or questions of importance” that require they apply knowledge “effectively and creatively” to real-world tasks.

Learn more about authentic assessments and reference the Authentic Assessment Toolbox.

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