Published: 30-06-2011, 06:30

Honor code - American Education

An all-but-obsolete conduct regulation whereby students pledged not to violate any school or college rules in or out of the classroom and agreed to report themselves or their schoolmates for any such violations. Once ubiquitous at independent boarding schools and private colleges, the honor code usually required a student signature on each piece of school work, usually with a code word such as “Pledge” to indicate the student’s vow that “On my honor, I pledge that I have neither given nor received aid” in preparing this examination, homework and so forth. The honor code expected students to report each other as well as themselves for cheating in the classroom. The code also applied to conduct outside the classroom and, at some schools, even to conduct outside the school on weekends and during school vacations. Violation of the honor code resulted in stiff penalties such as restriction to one’s room, suspension from school or even expulsion. In theory, the honor code allowed a teacher to leave students unsupervised in classrooms while they took examinations and, in effect, unsupervised during non-class periods. The code proved self-defeating at many schools by encouraging students to report themselves even when there were no witnesses to the transgression, and then punishing them for the transgression while seldom rewarding them for being truthful.