Monday, April 25, 2011

Blog Cruise - Instilling Academic Integrity

This week, the Homeschool Blog Cruise asks how we instill a moral work ethic in our children, discouraging shortcuts, and or cheating?

This issue is something that my children are very familiar with. I have taught at the college level for the last six years. Each course I have taught has had at least one plagiarism incident. I’m not just talking accidental plagiarism where the student didn’t cite quite correctly or didn’t understand. I’m talking blatant. Some worse than others.

As a result, my kids have heard me rant and rave about plagiarism and cheating regularly. I discuss with them ad nauseum why cheating is bad. Not only are there academic repercussions, but one’s integrity is also denigrated when this happens. In college, we give a zero for the assignment in which the cheating occurred and a report is generated with the administration going into the student’s personal file. A second instance means a zero for the class and additional administrative action. Depending on the school, one or more instances can result in expulsion.

Today, catching plagiarism is easy.   There are several tools at an instructor's disposal.  Submitting student papers to a plagiarism checker not only identifies where sources are improperly cited, but also provides instructors with clear illustration and proof when plagiarism has occured and links to the original source.

When I teach homeschoolers at a co-op, I will always cover the importance of academic integrity. I have had one instance of cheating in a homeschool class. That really saddens me as I tend to hold homeschoolers to a higher standard even than my college students. I’m not saddened by the impact on their grade; I’m saddened because, while I don’t hold it against them on further assignments, there is a breach of trust in their integrity that can’t easily be repaired. I want my children to really understand that as well.

I’ve always told my kids – I’d rather you get a bad grade than cheat. In the end, your integrity is more important than your GPA. One instance of poor judgment can be a part of your permanent academic or even work record.

How do you instill this understanding in your children?

To see additional interesting posts - hop on over to the Homeschool Blog Cruise...


  1. Great post and sound advice. I have one that will take every opportunity and I am having always having to remind her about her integrity. She thinks mom can't see, mom won't know. She's learning, mom's always know :)

  2. I agree with everything you are saying! I always tell my son that his integrity is priceless. We have always taught him that his words and actions are a reflection not only of the person he is, but of our family. I must say he is a very honest boy - sometimes to a fault LOL confessing things to me I had no idea he had done. I love it!


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