Honor Codes
Honor Codes can be an important part of a school’s academic integrity efforts.  These documents include a student pledge to honesty, generally meant to prevent cheating, plagiarizing, and stealing.  The Center for Academic Integrity found that only 23% of students at colleges with honor codes reported one or more incidents of serious cheating on an exam, while the number increased to 45 percent at colleges without an honor code.

In developing an honor code, schools articulate what academic integrity means, set clear expectations, and ensure that students and teachers are on the same page.  Grenada Elementary School in Grenada, CA, for instance, has its Academic Integrity Policy posted on its website.

Adding student voice to honor code discussions can be an effective strategy to increase student responsibility and significantly reduce cheating (Cole and Conklin, 1996).   A committee of students at South Carroll High School in Sykesville, MD developed their honor code and promoted it within the student body.  At Montclair Kimberly Academy in Montclair, NJ, a group comprised primarily of students created the school’s award-winning Code of Honor during the 2003-2004 school year.  The Code of Honor’s stated purpose is to “instill a sense of honor and an atmosphere of trust among all members of the community.”  You can view more information and specifics of their Code here.

Many schools with honor codes also have a special committee in place to enforce the code.  At McLean High School in McLean, VA, students sit on the honor code committee and help decide the consequences for honor code violations.  You can view their honor code here.

Michael Josephson, founder and CEO of the Josephson Institute of Ethics, reports that more than 90% of the 2010 Report Card‘s survey respondents said they believe schools should more actively work to instill core ethical values like honesty, responsibility, and respect and develop good character in students [reference]