Choosing Not to Cheat: A Framework to Assess Students’ Rationales for Abiding by Academic Integrity Policies

Document Type

Article (Journal or Newsletter)

Scholarship Type

Faculty Scholarship

Publication Date



Writing intensive first-year seminars are well situated within the curriculum to teach about issues like cheating and plagiarism. Although most research on academic integrity focuses on how—and how much—students cheat, we take a different approach. We assess whether participation in writing intensive first-year seminars produces measurable changes in students’ rationales for choosing not to cheat. Relying upon data collected via pre and post-test in-depth interviews, we propose a framework to measure these changes that is grounded in students’ accounts of how they negotiated real-life opportunities to cheat on campus. In general, we find that writing intensive first-year seminars produce no positive qualitative changes in students’ rationales for choosing not to cheat. In the conclusion, we offer a new perspective on the possible consequences of creating “cheat proof” tests and assignments on students’ ethical development.


Originally published in: International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: Vol. 9: No. 1. Available at: http://digitalcommons.georgiasouthern.edu/ij-sotl/vol9/iss1/9/