Instances of students cheating down post-pandemic, TRU data shows

Cheating down at TRU

Thompson Rivers University data shows violations of academic integrity rules have decreased since students returned to in-person classes following the pandemic shutdown that began in 2020.

According to a document that will be brought in front of TRU senate next week for approval, reports of academic integrity incidents have decreased substantially following the 2019-20 academic year.

The report shows that there were 577 total contraventions in 2018-19, which almost doubled to 1,055 in 2019-20 before dropping substantially to 681 in 2020-21.

The document also shows that the number of contraventions in 2021-22 decreased again, with fewer than 300 reports — numbers more in line with what TRU recorded during the 2017-18 school year.

In a meeting of the university's Planning Council for Open Learning last week, Don Poirier, associate vice-president of TRU Open Learning said that academic integrity has improved since the onset of the pandemic.

“Just from this past month alone, there’s about 801 instances or just over 87 per cent of exams where resources were asked to be removed because they weren’t permitted," he said.

Poirier also stated during the meeting that there were 192 instances, or 21 per cent of instances, of active interventions during exams, where an examiner would intervene to change something.

However, Poirier pointed out that only two per cent of instances had confirmed academic integrity departures.

“This is pretty consistent,” he said.

“So, what we take away from this is we’re doing our due diligence.”

The university defines a departure from academic integrity as "an action that, regardless of intent, goes against the six fundamental values of academic integrity and enables or attempts to enable a person to gain an unfair advantage in academic performance."

That covers plagiarism, fabrication, cheating and academic misconduct.

TRU's senate will review the academic integrity report on Monday.

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