Cheating persists under current integrity policy

A staged image of what cheating most often looks like

The concern surrounding academic integrity throughout the upper-classmen elicits questions about the effectiveness of Jesuit High School’s academic integrity policy. With the International Center for Academic Integrity revealing 95 percent of roughly 70,000 surveyed high school students admitting to some form of cheating in 2015, questions arise about how the tone set by both faculty and responsible students could improve.

Believing the Jesuit Handbook overview at the beginning of each school year to be a poor deterrent to cheating, senior Ashley Renda fails to see tangible, positive results after the initial policy scare.

“The handbook aspect of the planner that teachers require us students to review does not resonate with students as the year continues,” Renda stated.

Commenting on observations when in the library, Renda indicates some students seem to no longer be fazed at all by cheating.

“It tends to be the same people who do commit integrity violations, which is commonly copying homework assignments last minute,” Renda said.

According to the Open Education Database, 85 percent of students cheating believe it is essential to academic success that is largely determined by grades and accolades. Compounding the issue are the 16.5 percent of students who admitted to feeling no remorse for cheating, which exemplifies the issues academic establishments face.

Ms. Mathes, an English teacher for sophomores and seniors, vocalized a concern regarding the lack of improvement in academic related matters from sophomore to senior year.

“Though I don’t see a lot of academic integrity violations from my seniors, I see more serious academic integrity violations from them and sometimes persistent citations errors, both of which concern me,” Mathes said. “If students are still making the kind of citation errors as seniors that they were making as sophomores, they either haven’t learned how to cite correctly, or they don’t care enough to take the time to get it right.”

In either case, the end result still constitutes committing an academic integrity violation, which calls into question whether or not students’ integrity levels are maturing as they transition through high school.

Dr. Smart, the Academic Vice Principal of Jesuit High School, mentioned another concerning trend that highlights questionable integrity growth amongst students through the equal number of upper and lower-classmen receiving integrity related jugs.

“There is not any type of data that I have that would show that there are more juniors involved than freshman or more sophomores than seniors,” Smart said. “It is really quite evenly distributed across the grade levels.”

Fortunately, sophomore Anna Girtle and Ashley Renda revealed changed perceptions regarding academic integrity from freshman year.

“I was less aware of them freshman year, and I definitely feel like I have a deeper understanding of what constitutes a violation now,” Girtle said.

“Since freshman year my understanding of integrity violations has definitely changed, because I have learned the nuances of what is and is not considered an academic integrity violation,” Renda stated.

Reinforcing the optimal course of action presented by Dr. Smart in past, Ms. Mathes indicates consistency surrounding teachers’ expectations and dialogue between students and teachers could reduce cheating occurrences.

“I do believe that clear, consistent instruction and expectations for citation and the completion of work coupled with an open invitation to students to dialogue with their teachers about unclear expectations, homework load, and academic integrity could lead to far fewer violations and greater learning for students,” Mathes said.