Academic Integrity for Students

How to Prevent Misconduct and Promote Integrity

Most students who consider committing an act of academic misconduct have other stressful situations in their lives. The Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at A&M-SA is committed to helping students address personal problems that interfere with meeting the demands of college life and their academic success. If you see or know of a student, including yourself, who may be distressed, please file a Care Report.

Because academic dishonesty involves making ethical choices, there may not always be one correct answer. If you are worried you may be doing something or are thinking about doing something that constitutes academic dishonesty, go to your faculty member or instructor and discuss what you are worried about. Tell them why you are afraid and explain what seems unclear about the action you are thinking about taking. Don't compromise your academic integrity because you chose not to ask or seek clarification.

Tips & Strategies for Preventing Academic Misconduct

When Taking an Exam:

  • Do not use materials or resources that your instructor has not pre-approved. Clarify with your instructor before the start of the exam what you are allowed and not allowed to use. If you are unsure what materials or sources you can use, do not use them.
  • Make sure tEnsureotes, electronic devices (including phones), or unauthorized materials are stored in a c backpack or bag before receiving your exam. Any notes or materials not stored away during an exam may be considered academic misconduct. 
  • Don't let your eyes wander, and do not talk to anyone during the exam. 
  • Cover your exam so others cannot copy from you. 
  • When you get an exam back, please do not make any alterations (changes or corrections) to the exam itself; make corrections on a separate sheet of paper. Do not submit an altered exam for re-grading.

When Writing a Paper:

  • Understand the definition of plagiarism. 
  • If you copy words directly, you must use quotation marks and show the source of information. 
  • If you borrow facts, statistics, graphs, pictures, etc., you must show the start of the data. 
  • If you borrow someone else's information or idea and don't copy word for word, you must correctly paraphrase or summarize the data, put it in your own words, and still give the source of information. 
  • If you are unsure, ask the instructor for help, or seek assistance from the Writing Center.

When Working with Others on Assignments:

  • Do not work together more than the instructor allows. Submitting the same or similar assignments as another student(s) (even if everyone worked on it) is not acceptable unless the instructor states explicitly that the project can be completed together. 
  • If a classmate suggests working together on a graded assignment, ask whether the instructor allows this. If you are not sure, ask the instructor before doing so. 
  • If you can work together, do not copy someone else's work or allow someone else to borrow your work. 
  • Do not copy answers from solutions manuals, students who previously took the class, or other sources.

Campus Resources

University Library

Writing Center

The Jaguar Writing Center provides writing support to graduate and undergraduate students in all three colleges. Writing tutors work with students to develop reading skills, prepare oral presentations, and plan, draft, and revise their written assignments. The Writing Center can be reached by emailing  Students can also schedule with the Writing Center under the Student Services tab in JagWire.

Got Caught?

Next Steps

  1. Faculty must notify the student of allegations as soon as misconduct is found.
  2. Faculty and student should meet to
    1. review the allegations found,
    2. review any evidence,
    3. and allow the student to explain the incident.
    4. Utilize the  Academic Misconduct Incident Form
  3. Faculty may impose an academic sanction, which includes, but is not limited to:
    1. A written reprimand, a redo of an assignment, additional work, a failing grade on a job, a failing grade in a course, or multiple academic sanctions.
  4. If a resolution is found, document and refer a case to The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities for review and documentation purposes.
    • Office of Student Rights Responsibilities reserves the right to impose additional sanctions as student misconduct warrants.
  1. If a student disagrees with or contests the decision of responsibility and academic sanctions, the case is referred to the College Chair for mediation.
  2. If the student further contests, the case will move up to a hearing with an Academic Integrity Hearing Board led by the Office of the Provost.

Need Advice?

Suppose you have questions about sanctions or academic conduct expectations or are looking for further guidance about the conduct process. In that case, you can email, call 210-784-1353, or set up an appointment with someone from the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities.

What are ordinary acts of Academic Misconduct?

The A&M-SA Student Code of Conduct identifies six (6) distinct types of dishonesty, but the most common are:

  • Plagiarism: Presenting another person's work as your own. Sometimes relying on someone else's ideas, research, or creative materials is appropriate. However, you must recognize and attribute the work of others using references or citations.
  • Cheating: There are many ways to cheat, but they almost always involve a student going to an unauthorized source for answers. Unauthorized sources can be a website, secret or concealed notes, using a book on a closed exam, or looking at another person's test/assignment. Faculty members or instructors decide what is authorized or unauthorized; always check the syllabus and ask.
  • Collusion: Working with others to complete an assignment or exam should only be done when a faculty member or instructor permits it. Assuming you can because the faculty member or instructor has not said anything is a mistake.

What are the consequences of Academic Misconduct?

It depends. Faculty members or instructors can consider the following factors:

  • Was the act spontaneous, or did it involve forethought and planning?
  • What is the impact regarding the extent of dishonesty (one question vs. an entire assignment) and the value/weight of the work (discussion board post vs. final exam)?
  • Is this the first incident, or has the student demonstrated a pattern of dishonesty?
  • How were other students involved or impacted?
  • Did the student self-disclose?

Depending on how the faculty member or instructor evaluates these factors, consequences can include:

  • Reduced grades for an assignment or exam.
  • The reduced rate for the course.
  • A failing grade for the course ('F').
  • Redoing academic work for no additional points or value.
  • Refer to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities for non-academic sanctions such as probation, suspension, or expulsion.