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Assessing Freshman Engineering Students' Understanding of Ethical Behavior
Science and Engineering Ethics
  • Amber M. Henslee, Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • Susan L. Murray, Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • Gayla R. Olbricht, Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • Douglas K. Ludlow, Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • Malcolm E. Hays
  • Hannah M. Nelson
Academic dishonesty, including cheating and plagiarism, is on the rise in colleges, particularly among engineering students. While students decide to engage in these behaviors for many different reasons, academic integrity training can help improve their understanding of ethical decision making. The two studies outlined in this paper assess the effectiveness of an online module in increasing academic integrity among first semester engineering students. Study 1 tested the effectiveness of an academic honesty tutorial by using a between groups design with a Time 1- and Time 2-test. An academic honesty quiz assessed participants’ knowledge at both time points. Study 2, which incorporated an improved version of the module and quiz, utilized a between groups design with three assessment time points. The additional Time 3-test allowed researchers to test for retention of information. Results were analyzed using ANCOVA and t tests. In Study 1, the experimental group exhibited significant improvement on the plagiarism items, but not the total score. However, at Time 2 there was no significant difference between groups after controlling for Time 1 scores. In Study 2, between- and within-group analyses suggest there was a significant improvement in total scores, but not plagiarism scores, after exposure to the tutorial. Overall, the academic integrity module impacted participants as evidenced by changes in total score and on specific plagiarism items. Although future implementation of the tutorial and quiz would benefit from modifications to reduce ceiling effects and improve assessment of knowledge, the results suggest such tutorial may be one valuable element in a systems approach to improving the academic integrity of engineering students.
Psychological Science
Second Department
Engineering Management and Systems Engineering
Third Department
Mathematics and Statistics
Fourth Department
Chemical and Biochemical Engineering
Keywords and Phrases
  • Academic Dishonesty,
  • College Students,
  • Ethics,
  • Integrity,
  • Plagiarism
Document Type
Article - Journal
Document Version
File Type
© 2016 Springer Netherlands, All rights reserved.
Publication Date
Citation Information
Amber M. Henslee, Susan L. Murray, Gayla R. Olbricht, Douglas K. Ludlow, et al.. "Assessing Freshman Engineering Students' Understanding of Ethical Behavior" Science and Engineering Ethics (2016) p. 1 - 18 ISSN: 13533452
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