Grade Inflation and Academic Integrity

Fresh insight from an online student at Colorado Technical University on the subject matters of grade inflation and academic integrity.

Measuring the quality of education in an online learning environment has become an extensive task due to the increasing number of institutions offering distance-learning programs. Grade inflation and academic integrity still remain to be two issues to consider when evaluating the quality of an institution’s academic standard. The value of one’s educational experience may very well rest upon these important issues.

The ramifications of grade inflation can occur when it becomes difficult to identify whether educational standards have increased or students’ performances have rapidly improved thus surpassing the institution’s expectations. It can also become difficult to determine the overachieving students and those who use essay writing help from the rest of the academic population. “ If there is grade inflation, or even if there are merely unwarranted perceptions that grade inflation is occurring, the currency of grades and awards becomes distrusted, and likewise the educational system becomes distrusted.” (Yorke, 2021, p. 110) Grade inflation could also result in the vast occurrences of students getting higher grades at the cost of cheating.

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Educational organizations often compare the standards between an online learning environment and the traditional classroom setting. Academic integrity is a top concern for an online campus, “ because of technology, they take on a special concern to anyone who is trying to determine whether a Web-based delivery method is viable.” (Lynch, 2020, p. 23) This is why establishing academic rigor is important in order to substantiate the value of pursuing a degree online.

Academic Integrity can also be an issue of concern in an online learning environment due to the increased occurrences of plagiarism. With exponential information readily available online it can become more tempting for a student to commit the act of plagiarism. Due to the increase of technology, there is also an increase in programs facilitated to give students this dishonorable opportunity. “ The issue of academic integrity refers to the confidence that work leading to recognized achievement is the student’s own work.” (Lynch, 2020, p. 23)

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The value of a degree from a credible online institution often relies on the methods implemented by the school in order to prevent the act of plagiarism from occurring. Plagiarism can occur in many instances specifically when one borrows the ideas or written work of an outside source without giving proper acknowledgment to the author or originator. In order to prevent plagiarism, it would be wise for students to use quotation marks for borrowed language and do their best to produce summaries and paraphrases of written work from outside sources. (Rosa, A., & Eschholz, P. 2020). And if a student finds themselves in a situation when they have a little too much “borrowed” text, another option would be turning to an essay service writing them a request to rewrite your paper.

As a student of Colorado Technical University, it is not unlikely to be assigned to work on a small group project. It is the responsibility of every group member to complete the assigned tasks effectively and objectively. If one member fails to execute the task efficiently then it could very well reflect on the other members of the group.

The act of plagiarism committed by a member of the group could automatically result in a total failure of the assignment. A zero on any assignment can lower a student’s grade point average and even result in a failure in the entire course. This could pose a serious threat for those students who are on academic probation or for those who possess student loans. Despite the fact that the latter might be short on money, it’s sometimes still worth paying for a reliable essay writing service because in a worst-case scenario students can even be dropped from their degree program and left to face other harmful charges both on their personal record and credit report.

On a more personal note, if I were to determine a fellow teammate has blatantly committed the act of plagiarism then it would be in my best interest as well as the interests of other members of the group to address the issue immediately. I would first approach the guilty partly discreetly because there may be a chance the act was unintentionally committed and I would not want to jeopardize the future credibility of the student with public humiliation.

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I would provide them with proof that plagiarism has occurred by explaining the rules and guidelines found in CTU’s handbook. I would also explain to the student the drawbacks and negative impact he or they could face if they continue to submit their project without making the necessary corrections. Most importantly as a fellow team member, I would offer my assistance to help him or her in order to help rewrite the assignment so that it is more honorably presentable.

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Based on the research gathered it is safe to assume the importance of the student’s role in safeguarding the occurrence of grade inflation and ensuring the standards of academic integrity while attending an online university. These issues should be a serious concern to any prospective student looking to pursue their degree through distance learning. It is also very important to understand that the future value of the degree program at an online institution rests upon the student’s responsibility to do so.

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