Student Attitudes on Academic Integrity through Elementary, Middle, Secondary, and Undergraduate Education a case study. Joshua M. Ward Johnny Johnson, Ph.D. . Introduction.
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Joshua M. Ward
Johnny Johnson, Ph.D.
This preliminary investigation attempts to explore when academic integrity problems and misconceptions arise during students' basic levels of education: elementary, middle, secondary, and undergraduate.
Understanding when attitudes of students shift concerning academic ethics and behavior, can serve as an indicator as to when educational tools should be put into place.
General observations between educational levels can lead to conclusions that help institutions know what type of educational program might be appropriate and when such a curriculum should occur in a student's academic career.
Participants should gain:
A greater understanding of the correlations between four institutions of learning, such as the attitudes of elementary, middle, secondary, and undergraduate students regarding academic integrity.
Information that qualitatively provides a better working understanding needed to design future educational programs concerning academic integrity from elementary to undergraduate levels.
Is it too late for a university or any other institution of higher learning to be implementing programs focused on molding students’ perspectives on academic cheating?
Do elementary students believe that a certain act constitutes cheating when secondary students believe that the same act is acceptable?
Observations between educational levels might lead to conclusions that would help institutions know what type of educational program might be appropriate and when such a curriculum should occur in a student’s academic career.
This study attempts to harness the general attitudes of academic integrity in a way that provides a better working understanding needed to design future educational programs.
Certainly knowing what personal or contextual factors influence higher levels of cheating is important, but it is also important to implement in a practical manner programs that teach students about academic integrity.
This study focuses on when such programs should be implemented in a student’s educational career.
It is important to ask whether or not students from differing educational levels believe that the same actions constitute breaches in academic integrity.
It is not a question of whether or not elementary students cheat more often than secondary students or undergraduates.
It is a question of whether elementary students believe an action constitutes a breach in academic integrity when secondary students or undergraduates do not.
It is important to understand at what point, if one exists, in a students’ academic careers do beliefs concerning academic integrity change.
Knowing this could be beneficial in designing educational programs concerning academic integrity.
McCabe, Donald L. and Trevino, Linda Klebe. 1999. Academic Integrity in Honor Code and Non-Honor Code Environments. Journal of Higher Education. 70(2):211-234.
McCabe, Donald L. and Trevino, Linda Klebe. 1993. Academic dishonesty: Honor codes and other contextual influences. Journal of Higher Education. 64(5):522-538.
Instead of researching statistical, quantitative data associated with academic integrity (such as how many students cheated last year), this study proposes to understand where students do not have a clear understanding of the topic.
Such areas may include what violates academic integrity and the students’ knowledge of the consequences associated with a violation in their own school.
Surveys were chosen for their ability to gather generalized opinions from a wide variety of age groups (elementary, middle, and secondary).
Three similar surveys were created, utilizing a single survey instrument, modified specifically for the readability and appropriateness of students in differing grades, yet reliable enough to be used to create correlational statements about students’ attitudes over the four institutions of learning.
Each survey consisted of three parts.
PART I opinions from a wide variety of age groups (elementary, middle, and secondary).
A section intended to assess the knowledge and understanding of the academic integrity policies and procedures that the student has of his or her own institution.
Also provides feedback of the student’s opinion of how affective the academic integrity policies and procedures are at his or her institution.
The section also assessed where or from whom (or if at all) the student has become acquainted with academic integrity.
PART II opinions from a wide variety of age groups (elementary, middle, and secondary).
A section intended to assess students’ opinions on the prevalence of different types of violations of academic integrity at their institution.
Also explored how often the student reported instruction in academic integrity at their institution and how such education (if any) was received.
PART III opinions from a wide variety of age groups (elementary, middle, and secondary).
Asks students of the differing levels of educational institutions whether or not a certain action constitutes in their mind a breach of academic integrity.
Intended to find trends in what constitutes ethical behavior in differing educational grade levels.
For example, do middle school students think that an action is a minor violation of academic integrity where most secondary students would answer that the same violation is a minor one?
Three schools from the Edmond Public Schools District, Edmond, Oklahoma, were asked to participate in the surveys.
The schools were Northern Hills Elementary, Sequoyah Middle School, and North High School.
Students were asked to complete a 15-minute survey consisting of about 36 questions in the general format described above.
Responses from the surveys sent to the elementary, middle, and secondary institutions are correlated to that of the information provided by the Oklahoma State University 2004 Survey of Academic Integrity.
All survey instruments were approved by the Oklahoma State University Institutional Review Board under Expedited-Special-Population standards.
Category (I): Understanding & Satisfaction generalizations of students’ attitudes concerning different aspects of academic integrity observed at their specific type of academic institution.
Category (III): Considering Violations in Academic Integrity know” responses. As the academic timeline progresses, students indicating “strong yes” and “yes” increase only slightly. Responses of “strong no” decrease slightly, however, responses of “no” increase dramatically.
Identical Action Examples know” responses. As the academic timeline progresses, students indicating “strong yes” and “yes” increase only slightly. Responses of “strong no” decrease slightly, however, responses of “no” increase dramatically.
Thank You For You Kind Attention an academic atmosphere that promotes learning in a fair and ethically standardized environment.
Questions and Answers