Promoting Academic Integrity

Ensuring integrity in your classroom is probably best approached as a two-part assignment. The first part involves educating the students about your expectations for the integrity of their work in that class. This should include the basic elements that are expected by the University, along with those expectations that are specific to your class or discipline. The second part of ensuring integrity in the classroom involves actively preventing academic misconduct and confronting situations where you believe academic misconduct might have occurred. Below are tips that you might find helpful in creating and maintaining an environment of integrity in your classroom.

More information about academic integrity in the online environment can be found here.


Ideas for Setting Clear Expectations

In your syllabus...

  • Include your expectations in your syllabus as suggested by University Policy.  When writing a statement outlining your expectations regarding academic integrity for your syllabus, you might want to include the following components:
  • The University of Maine’s and your general philosophy about academic integrity and how it affects the community.  For ideas on the University’s philosophy, see the University of Maine’s Academic Integrity Policy or review Student Conduct Code’s policy statement at the beginning of the Code.
  • Information about how to find the University policies on academic integrity (i.e.: Student Conduct website).
  • Highlight any policies that are specific to your class assignments. For example, the expectation of individual work on homework assignments, requirements involving the use of specific sources for information, etc.
  • How you intend to handle violations.
  • Include the web address for the Office of Community Standards in your syllabus.  In addition, if you maintain a web site for your class, be sure to include a link to the Office of Community Standards’ web page.

In the classroom...

  • Talk about your expectations in your first few class sessions. Talk about “why”, not just “what”.  For an excellent summary of talking points with students, see this article by David Callahan, author of The Cheating Culture.
  • Contact the Office of Community Standards to get a staff member or student to come to your class for a presentation on academic integrity.
  • If the course requires a research paper, incorporate a short lecture on how to do the research and where to go on the campus for help with questions in this area. This may include how to cite Internet or electronic sources. The library is a great resource as is the Academic Support page.  
  • Remind students of your expectations for integrity prior to all tests, quizzes and projects.
  • Use videos or skits to promote academic integrity and highlight the need for academic integrity.


Methods for Preventing and Discovering Cheating:

  • Have students write and sign the honor pledge at the BEGINNING of their assignment.  Research suggests that students are much less likely to cheat if they are reminded of their obligation to be ethical just prior to completing an assignment.
  • Require students to submit topics for your approval, and then produce drafts prior to submission of the final paper, and don’t accept last minute changes. Many faculty choose to keep the draft for comparative purposes with the final submission.  This method not only prevents many forms of plagiarism and cheating, it also prevents procrastination – one of the primary reasons students cheat.
  • Use in class writing assignments to gauge student progress if appropriate to the material.
  • Carefully monitor the process of handing in or distributing graded materials to protect students from the theft of their work by others.
  • If you will be using Blue Books for an exam, have each student turn in an empty book the class prior to the exam. Redistribute the books randomly on the day of the exam.
  • Provide students the scratch paper they need for the exam.
  • Have all students place their bookbags at the front of the classroom prior to handing out the exam.
  • Have all students turn off their cell phones and place them in their bags prior to handing out the exam.​
  • If possible, seat students every other row.
  • Administer more than one version of the exam, even if it means that the pages of the exam are just in a different order.
  • Number the exams that are handed out and require that they be returned.
  • Have your exams proctored at all times, and make sure to move around the room.​
  • Use different versions of the exam if you allow students to take exams early or late.
  • Clearly mark the incorrect answers on a test using a mark that passes through the answer.
  • Make copies of or scan exam papers prior to handing them back to students. Let the class know that you will photocopying a random sample of the exams for your files prior to returning them to the class.
  • Watch for changes in students’ behavior, their placement in the testing environment, and their appearance.
  • Be aware of items that make it difficult to see the students’ face, such as hats or sunglasses.
  • Do not recycle tests from semester to semester, especially if you have handed back the answer sheet or a copy of the test paper.
  • If using problems sets that have a solution manual, note any errors in the solutions manual and pay attention to papers submitted with similar errors.