In the last few years, academic integrity and misconduct have become hot topics at colleges and universities around the world. There has been coverage in the academic industry press and the broader media including the New York Times, Financial Times, and major US network news. ICAI remains at the forefront of research and practice in academic integrity and as part of our mission, we have developed the most comprehensive survey on academic integrity available for students.

As described on this blog in August, the survey is an updated version of the seminal work by ICAI founder Dr. Donald McCabe and the revision continues to bear his name and influence. It contains sections on key variables that will be of interest to both researchers and institutions like:

  • A comprehensive inventory of misconduct behaviors, including specific items directed at measuring contract cheating
  • A set of items about how students perceive the academic integrity climate at their school
  • Measures about students beliefs about cheating, including how morally wrong it is, and how easily it can be justified
  • Measures of students’ attitudes toward school that can influence their academic misconduct behavior.

The survey was validated with over 2500 student participants at institutions that include a large US research university, two smaller universities in the US, including one that is predominantly minority-serving, and a large minority-serving community college in Canada. This provided a sample of diverse undergraduate and graduate students to help ensure that the measures in the survey are reliable and valid.

Results of the validation study were strong, indicating that each measure is both internally consistent and related to the other measures in the way that theory would predict. This is the first time in the long history of ICAI that these measures have undergone rigorous psychometric testing. The testing yielded some interesting new findings: for example, we were able to validate that cheating behaviors are generally correlated, so that a student who engages in one is more likely to engage in others. Beyond that, though, the data revealed that there are clusters of associated misconduct behaviors. Contract cheating, misuse of sources, inappropriate collaboration, and fraud all seem to have key aspects in common.

Now for the exciting part! The manuscript summarizing these findings has been submitted for peer review in the expectation that these measures will be freely available for scholars to use in their research. A preview of the results will be presented at the Annual Conference in March 2022 as well.

ICAI has also made the survey available to members as an assessment tool. As we said in August, we would like to “ provide institutions with actionable data to enact meaningful change.” Participating institutions will be able to make comparisons over time and with the other institutions in the survey. ICAI will also be able to speak authoritatively about the state of academic integrity worldwide based on these data.

Non-member institutions can participate in the North American benchmarking study at no cost by joining ICAI. Versions of the survey are available in English (optimized separately for the US and Canadian contexts) and Latin American Spanish. Fee waivers are available to institutions in need. To learn more about the survey, the partner manual is available online here. If your institution might like to participate, contact to learn more. If you are ready to sign your school up, complete the partner portal, which asks about your institution’s survey needs.