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Harvard to introduce an ethics code for its students to discourage academic dishonesty

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Cheating scandals have pushed universities to tighten their academic integrity policies, implement stricter proctoring practices and even introduce new or revised honor codes, all in an effort to discourage students from cheating and plagiarism.

Even high-profile universities are not immune to cheating scandals. Harvard was one of many top tier colleges that got damaged by a large cheating scandal back in 2012.

Two years later, Harvard is planning to introduce a student honesty pledge or “affirmation of integrity.” The honor code is a commitment the students will have to make and binds them to act with integrity when it comes to academic behavior. The goal is that this ethics code will act as a cheating inhibitor.

Whether the honesty pledge works or not is a matter of how each university implements this commitment to integrity policy. Many prestigious universities have their students pledge academic honesty and integrity, in the hope that students won’t break their promise by learning to abide by the culture of integrity.

University honor codes seek to discourage students from plagiarism and other forms of improper cheating. There’s no guarantee however, that an honor code nurtures a culture of integrity; for some students an ethics code might be a good reminder to be ethically correct, but others need more tangible and easily seen anti-cheating measures, like a proctoring technology or ID verification, ensuring that the exam taker is the person supposed to be and not someone posing as the student.


ProctorFree, as a company promoting academic honesty through its proctoring technologies, believes that the combination of ethical codes, anti-cheating technologies and the promotion of an integrity-rich culture is a better way of deterring dishonest behavior.

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