Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Study of European Universities Shows Wide Range of Academic Integrity Policies

The state of academic integrity policies at European universities is quite varied, with the UK providing the most comprehensive programs, according to a new study. ("UK Leads Europe in the Fight against Plagiarism," Times Higher Education, 10 October 2013). The Impact of Policies for Plagiarism in Higher Education across Europe research project based at Coventry University (UK) received 5,000 completed surveys from students, faculty, and administrators to measure "use of plagiarism software, consistency of sanctions, transparency, training, efficacy of prevention policies and efforts."

Surprisingly, Germany and Finland, with highly-regarded educational systems, scored low in their ability to handle academic integrity issues. Some individuals surveyed in France thought that academic integrity was not an important topic for undergraduates. Students in Spain noted that plagiarism detection software was seldom used and policies for academic integrity infractions were not prevalent. Complete results from the study will be published in November.

Discussion Questions:
  1. As a result of this study, do you think if you had a degree from a German university, it would not be considered valuable, because there would be some skepticism that you didn't follow academic integrity principles?
  2. This study acknowledged some lack of completed studies from low-performing countries, so should these results be published if they project doesn't have enough data to draw valid conclusions?

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