What is Academic Dishonesty?

Academic honesty is a fundamental principle of learning and a necessary foundation for all academic institutions, particularly those dedicated to independent project-based education, such as WPI. Violations of the principle deny the opportunity to obtain confident command of the material students are credited with knowing, cheat their classmates out of deserved rewards and recognition, debase the institution, and demean the degree that it awards. 

Academic dishonesty is any act which interferes with evaluation of academic work, through the misrepresentation of the work being evaluated and the student's actual knowledge. A students' academic integrity is vital to the academic environment, as education involves the search for and acquisition of knowledge and understanding, which are, in themselves, intangible. Evaluation of each student’s level of knowledge and understanding is a vital part of the teaching process, and requires tangible measures such as reports, examinations, and homework. The following acts are examples of academic dishonesty at WPI:

  • Fabrication:
    • Altering grades or other official records
    • Changing exam solutions after the fact
    • Inventing or changing laboratory data
    • Falsifying research
    • Inventing sources
    • Sabotage of another student’s work or academic record
  • Plagiarism:
    • Misrepresenting the work of another as one’s own
    • Inaccurately or inadequately citing sources including those from the Internet
    • Copying, pasting, or purchasing work from someone else without proper citation
  • Cheating:
    • Use of purchased term papers
    • Copying on exams, homework, or take-home exams
    • Use of unauthorized materials or sources of information such as a “cheat sheet,” preprogrammed calculator, cell phones, books, etc.
    • Obtaining assistance from another person in cases where prohibited
  • Facilitation:
    • Sharing test questions or answers from an exam with another student
    • Letting another student copy a solution to a homework problem, exam, or lab
    • Taking an exam for another student
    • Assistance in any act of academic dishonesty of another student.

This webpage adapts information from the University of Oklahoma, Norman Campus, Harvard University, and other colleges and universities.

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