Ethics are a primary concern in an academic environment because academic dishonesty affects the integrity of the curriculum, instruction and overall reputation of the educational institution. Students are also faced with many ethical decisions while completing assignments, working with peers, and completing course tests and quizzes, and the result of ethical decisions can significantly impact their careers, progress and skill proficiency.
Academic dishonesty is one of the primary ethical concerns schools face. Academic dishonesty occurs when a student cheats on an exam, plagiarizes an entire essay or portions of the essay, copies work from another student and passes it off as his own, or obtains a passing grade as a result of a dishonest action. When a student's grades are not based on performance due to academic dishonesty, not only does the student suffer because he is not prepared academically for a professional path, the integrity of the classroom and course curriculum is also affected because the grades do not accurately reflect a student's effort or performance.
Students must consider the ethical ramifications and consequences of their actions when acting in an unethical manner. Many colleges and universities require students to complete a course in ethics to ensure they have the means to make decisions that are ethical both in the classroom and in professional industries.