How do you determine appropriate consequences for academic integrity violations?

Faculty have a tremendous amount of flexibility in determining the consequences for academically dishonest work.  Some instructors may choose low-impact consequences, such as a zero on the assignment or the opportunity to choose between a zero and a redo for a 50% grade.  Other instructors may want to impose the maximum penalty, which include failure of the course and immediate expulsion from the class.

Some factors that may help you determine the appropriate consequences:

  1. Instruction. How much instruction did the student have for the assignment?  Were the instructions written?  Oral?  Is any information contradictory or confusing?
  2. Level of the class/year of the student.  First-year students should generally be given more leeway and flexibility as they transition to college-level expectations.  This means consequences should be high on learning value (i.e. redoing the assignment correctly) and low on punishment (i.e. no “one strike and you’re out” or zeros on assignments that will significantly affect their course grade).
  3. Timing of notification.  If you are responding to student work that was submitted several weeks ago and you are only just now getting around to grading, do not punish the student for this delay.  For example, if you would consider a revise and resubmit for the issue, don’t let the reason you say no to this option be that you waited too long in the semester to detect the problem in the first place.
  4. Degree to which punishment vs learning is appropriate.  If there is an opportunity for the student to learn from the situation, prioritize that part of the consequences.

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