FAC urges consistency on Honor Code affirmation procedure

Claire Goldsmith

The Faculty Academic Committee encouraged standard guidelines for the signing of the Honor Code affirmation in its meeting Tuesday, Feb. 5.

The committee, comprised of department heads, meets monthly to discuss potential curricular and academic changes and recommends policies to the administration.

At the beginning of the school year, Head of Upper School Audrius Barzdukas implemented the Honor Code affirmation policy, which requires students to write the statement “I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid on this assignment”  before they begin any major assessment and sign their names below the affirmation. According to Barzdukas, it takes only 16 seconds to write and sign the pledge.

“The studies that we have indicate that that affirmation yields positive results and makes [students] think about their behavior,” upper school FAC chair Kent Nealis said. “If it does so in even one instance, then we’re making progress.”

Committee members discussed the rules for the writing of the statement, particularly to clarify which tests and assessments necessitate the affirmation and which do not.

Because the policy is in its first year, “a lot of us are still figuring out which assessments we need to have it on,” Nealis said. “Not on small, minor assessments like daily quizzes or something of that nature.”

In a Chronicle poll, 79.9 percent of the 390 students surveyed said their teachers somewhat or very consistently enforced the Honor Code affirmation policy on major assessments. 17.0 percent said the policy was not consistently enforced, and 3.3 percent of students reported no enforcement in their classes.

The committee has not received reports about irregular enforcement of the statement, but its members wanted to “make every effort to be very consistent about placement of the affirmation on major assessments,” Nealis said.