What Academic Integrity Means to You As a Student

Carissa Gray

April 17, 2023

Academic integrity is the commitment to act responsibly and ethically when completing coursework, exams or other tasks. It involves a set of values (honesty, responsibility, respect and courage) that support students’ ability to produce fair, accurate, and original work.

Many universities promote academic integrity through mission statements, policies, procedures and honour codes. They also make this topic an important part of syllabi and ethics classes.


Honesty is one of the most important values that students should learn and develop. It is a trait that is highly valued in many cultures. In general, honesty means being honest with others and yourself. This may mean telling the truth about a mistake or letting someone know when you are sad.

When you are honest, you feel better about yourself and your life. It can even improve your overall health. When students learn to be honest with themselves, it becomes easier for them to be honest with others. This can help them make the right decisions and lead healthier lives.


Academic integrity is about making ethical decisions, asking questions, and following instructions – even when faced with difficult situations. It also means respecting other people’s ideas, beliefs, and opinions.

Students are often confronted with balancing their school work with other responsibilities such as work, home life, and family. Being responsible can lead to success in college and throughout your career.

In the classroom, academic integrity is taught through a variety of approaches. These include providing clear directions and scaffolding to help students understand expectations and how they are expected to meet them. This helps students to show responsibility in their classroom work and will result in a positive outcome for both the student and the instructor.


Respect for specific classroom behaviours helps establish a shared understanding between students and instructors. When conflict inevitably arises, having a common understanding of expectations can provide students and instructors with a point of reference to help calm tensions and promote a peaceful resolution.

Often, students have differing views of what respect looks and sounds like, making it challenging to foster an environment where students can learn and thrive. Start by defining what respect is and then asking students what they think it means to them as a student.

Respect can describe a range of attitudes, beliefs, emotions, and motives. These include the disposition to recognize an object, respond to it appropriately, have and express values concerning the object, and be accountable for the respecter’s conduct (Raz 2001).


Courage is the ability to act in a difficult or dangerous way, even when you’re afraid. It often involves a lot of mindfulness, which means you’re fully aware of your action and how it could affect others.

Students are not born with much courage, but they can learn it. Practising it can take them across boundaries in their learning and beyond, helping them succeed academically and in life.

Teachers can cultivate courage in their students by modelling it and helping them practice it daily. They may use a few of the ideas below to encourage this important character trait.

Courage can also help to build students resilience, grit, and a growth mindset. It can help them persist when they experience failure. It can also give them the confidence to speak up when they’re uncomfortable, especially about something wrong or hurtful. They can use this courage to stand up for themselves and others and not follow the crowd.