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Academic Integrity

A friend who teaches at a Catholic school recently shared a concern with me:

Since the start of hybrid learning, I’m in a situation where I feel compromised almost every time I give my students a test. Here’s what happens: Half the questions are about definitions, and the students who take the test in class, they get mixed results as you would expect. But the students who take the test at home, every one of them gets EVERY definition right. Not only that, but some of the students who are normally in class, they are now staying home on test days and get perfect scores on the definitions. So what should I do?

Yesterday another experienced educator told me:

I used to give all of my students a lecture at the start of each year. I’d tell them, ‘There is nothing more important than your integrity, your sense of character. Grades will come and go; there are so many things in life that you cannot control. But the one thing you can control is your integrity. You own that! Nobody can take that away from you. Only you can do that to yourself.’ But I don’t give that talk anymore. For some reason, I don’t know. It feels like they aren’t listening to me on this.

Nation-wide surveys suggest that academic integrity is a major issue in schools, and most teachers would agree that distance learning has made a bad situation worse.

All of which leaves me grappling with two questions:

  1. Is “academic integrity” an issue for us here at St. Anselm’s?
  2. If so, what are our options -- how can we address this effectively?

My hunch is that, while most educators can probably be more vigilant during evaluations -- as a way of making sure we aren’t inadvertently leading anyone into temptation -- I can’t help but think that the long-term solution goes far beyond teachers and administrators’ doing a better job of playing “cops and robbers.”

If you have any thoughts or suggestions, I hope you’ll pop by, or call me, or drop me a note by email.

Thank you in advance for any ideas you may have.

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