Unsupportable honor code

Feb. 7, 2002, midnight | By Annie Peirce | 18 years, 11 months ago

Honor code not the answer for cheating crisis

All agree that cheating is a problem. The amount of cheating and academic dishonesty in schools has been rapidly increasing during the past few years to levels that demand action. Something must be done. But the honor code, which demands the moral support as well as intellectual agreement to school policy, is not the answer to this problem.

The rules portrayed in the honor code are already part of the schools' rules. Within the planbooks of all students are testing procedures and codes of conduct which prohibit all kinds of cheating and academic dishonesty. There is also a clear policy about IDs and the way that they should be used and displayed during school. These are rules that the school has attempted to enforce; yet the amount of cheating is rising. Simply reiterating these rules in a different format, without increasing punishments or enacting better enforcement of these rules, will not change the opinions or actions of students.

Part of the reason for the use of honor codes in colleges is because they have students from cultures that do not see cheating as an immoral act. Some African cultures encourage the belief that collaborating on papers or copying other students' work is a form of sharing of ideas and a way of learning. The honor code establishes a universal standard of ethics to show the standards of American education that focus on the accomplishment of the individual.

The point of the creation of the honor code, according to its introduction, is to create "a community of learners who [have] a sense of mutual respect, trust and fairness." The question, however, is how can such a utopian community be created? Not by making students sign a piece of paper.

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Annie Peirce. Annie Peirce is a senior in the Communications Arts Program and the public relations manager for Silver Chips. She is also an opinions editor for Silver Chips Online. She was born on October 25, 1984, in a hospital somewhere in Prince George's County; but doesn't … More »

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