Harvard announces honour code in effort to beat exam cheats

 

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The Independent Online

The top university in the world is to introduce an “honour code” so students do not cheat in their coursework or exams.

Harvard University in Massachusetts has announced it will implement plans to make students declare a public commitment not to cheat in their academic assessments from the autumn of next year.

The university’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) voted overwhelmingly to adopt the plans following a four-year consultation on academic integrity.

It means that students will have to adhere “to the scholarly and intellectual standards of accurate attribution of sources, appropriate collection and use of data, and transparent acknowledgement of the contribution of others to their ideas, discoveries, interpretations, and conclusions”.

If they are found to be plagiarising their work or copying from the Internet then they risk “misrepresenting the ideas or language of someone else as one's own” which would be a breach of the “standards of our community”.

But how the promise will be made by students and how often they will have to reaffirm that promise are still yet to be decided by the university.

In 2012, officials at the institution launched an investigation after a “significant number” of students enrolled on an undergraduate course were accused of cheating in their take-home final examinations. Following a review, 70 students were forced to withdraw.

A number of universities across the US have already adopted an “honour code” in an attempt to discourage students from plagiarising or copying material from the internet. 

A study on cheating at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale found that those students who committed to signing an "honour code", despite it not actually being enforced, were less likely to cheat, which appears to show that making such a commitment deters students from engaging in deceptive behaviour.

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