Honor Codes In Schools

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Cheating, stealing, and plagiarizing have become increasingly more prevalent in schools across the nation. The outbreak of cheating has ignited a debate about whether or not schools should establish an honor system with the intent of drastically decreasing it. There is controversy over the effectiveness of honor codes in a school, but the number of schools establishing them is constantly increasing as schools are noticing results. High schools, colleges, and universities taking the initiative to implement honor codes which discourage dishonesty and promote academic integrity have all witnessed a decline in cheating, reinforcing the idea that honor codes are a practical solution to this serious, ongoing problem. Implementing honor codes would…show more content…
While this seems like a concern there is no evidence to support the claim that honor codes are not effective in decreasing academic dishonesty. As indicated in McCabe and Pavela a key to reducing cheating and plagiarizing is to employ academic honor codes that students are aware of enough to have the entire school community’s acceptance. One way an honor code effective is through the utilization of the peer culture that develops from students knowing and supporting their schools honor code. By implementing an honor code that illustrates the importance of academic integrity people will become more responsible and those who have previously cheated are convinced to change their behavior (McCabe and Pavela). Students on honor code campuses come to view cheating as socially unacceptable so people “embarrassed to have other students find out they were cheating” (McCabe and Pavela) and wanting to maintain the appearance of being an honest student will no longer lie, copy, or steal due to the threat of being branded a cheater. Peer culture that develops from having an honor code promotes academic integrity as a social norm that individuals are not willing to…show more content…
A student that has never been reprimanded for cheating will continue to engage in the immoral behavior believing they can get away with it. Honor codes in which students receive disciplinary action for cheating increases the risk of doing so and causes students to be less likely to cheat. According to Dirmeyer and Cartwright, “each student will decide whether or not to cheat by weighing costs and benefits.” Since the chance of getting caught is greater with an honor code in effect, this impacts the costs of cheating and leads to more students being honest rather than a cheater creating a feedback loop. In this feedback loop the impression of not being a cheater increases causing there to be a greater expectation to not cheat thus those who are caught cheating appear worse. Honor codes and the feedback loop “generates the culture of trust and integrity that students value so highly (Dirmeyer and Cartwright).” Schools would positively benefit from enforcing honor codes and reinforcing the expectation to be academically

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