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Focus on Ethics Can Curb Cheating Colleges FindBehavior Academic dishonesty is rampant but students will respond to higher standards of integrity a study showsBy KENNETH R WEISS Times Education WriterDAVIS Calif--Grappling for ways to halt the spread of plagiarism and other cheating in college professors often get stuck on the idea that its too late to change students behavior by the time they reach college But a growing number of campuses backed by new research are out to prove otherwiseStudent behavior is affected by the communities we build said Gary Pavela the University of Marylands director of judicial programs and student ethical conductStudents cheat in high school in part because the think everyone else does But students can change their ways if colleges clearly demand honesty engage students in ethical issues and put them in charge of enforcement said Pavela and his colleagues at such schools as UC Davis and Kansas State University which are in the vanguard of a new movement to change the academic cultureA new large-scale study suggests they may be rightAlthough a startling 68 of college students admitted in an anonymous survey last fall that they engaged in some form of serious cheating self-reported cheating was 10 percentage points lower on campuses that simply make a big fuss about academic integrity The rates dipped even lower at colleges with formal honor codesThe survey results which are to be released this week are the first indication that anti-cheating campaigns are making inroads at the large public universities where many professors fear a spreading epidemic of academic dishonestyThe results directly challenge the broad view that a kids ethical views at age 17 or 18 are set by their parents for good or ill Pavela saidAdministrators and student leaders have cribbed ideas from smaller colleges with traditional honor codes and modified them to work on large campusesAt UC Davis the topic of academic integrity is everywhere brought up by the students themselves As final
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