Reframing Academic Integrity  

As noted in the “Encouraging Academic Integrity Through A Preventative Framework” Instructor Toolkit: “Academic integrity has traditionally been viewed and evaluated from a binary perspective of honesty versus dishonesty…. A traditional view is that students in good standing are honest and students who have acted in a manner that is inconsistent with academic integrity policies are dishonest. This binary perspective only considers the observed behaviour and makes assumptions about unobserved intentions”.  

However, this binary fails to capture the full picture of academic integrity and academic misconduct: we know that good students may cheat or plagiarize, and that students may plagiarize or cheat unintentionally due to a lack of knowledge of what constitutes academic integrity. The hope is that by recognizing intentionality, we as an institution may be able to “shift the conversation to one that encourages learning. Reframing the conversation from punitive measures to student support can lead to student success”.  

To further illustrate this point, the instructor toolkit proposed the Complexity Quadrant: 

Traditionally, most students reported for academic integrity have assumed to be either the students in Quadrant A and Quadrant C; students who are found to have cheated or plagiarized are dishonest, while students who have not shown evidence of cheating or plagiarism are inherently honest.  

The hope in the instructional toolkit, as well as the material presented on this site, is that we are able to support the students in Quadrant B through academic student supports and fostering academic integrity to ensure they understand the bounds and principles of academic integrity, while the students in Quadrant C and D can be managed by encouraging academic integrity through course and curriculum design.