Students and Administration Explore Academic Integrity


Photo: Student Summit 2010
Mike Maresca (left) and Amanda Carbaneu (right) watch fellow class mate Cam Linares as he organizes the student ideas on academic honesty at the Summit Meeting. Photo by Kate Potenzone.

By Katie Potenzone
On February 11, a student from every advisory met at a Summit Meeting to voice their ideas about academic integrity at Hopkinton High School. The administration is turning to students this year in hopes of gaining knowledge about student cheating. Since the summer time, plans of having a student meeting about issues related to academic honesty have been in the works.

At the Summit Meeting students were divided into groups according to grade. The representatives were asked to brainstorm different ideas on why academic dishonesty happens, as well as what could be done to decrease the instances of academic dishonesty at the high school.

Justin Roshak, a junior, said that the Summit Meeting was a “Reasonable forum for generating ideas.” Additionally he remarked, “I didn’t realize that cheating was a problem at all.”

Vice Principal Evan Bishop was “Impressed by how many students want it [cheating] to stop,” and “Get back to learning the material.”  Mr. Bishop went on to say, “A lot of great ideas came out of the Summit and were shared with the teachers. And hopefully the whole school together will work on implementing these strategies together.”

Principal Alyson Geary felt that the administration has not been explicit enough with the expectations for academic honesty.  She believes that fully explaining the consequences of cheating, as well as procedures in place for handling academic dishonesty will help the issue. Right now, Ms. Geary is working to form a committee with students from the Summit Meeting to allow further expression of thoughts on academic honesty.

Wellness teacher Jill Leach expressed her thoughts by saying that HHS needs to “Build the culture where we strive for academic integrity.” Ms. Leach went on to say, “Students need to be a part of the process [in creating stronger academic integrity].”

“Cheating comes from being too overwhelmed,” explained Ms. Geary, and the administration will focus more on individual course selections to alleviate pressure to perform.

One student at the meeting said, “If there wasn’t so much pressure to take AP classes, get into college, and simply get a good grade, people wouldn’t cheat as much.”

Both administration and students felt the meeting was successful in figuring out how to not only stop cheating, but to stop students from feeling the need to cheat. This process may take years but is starting this year.