Does Using an Honor Pledge Make a Difference?


Research shows that the use of an honor pledge does make a difference in both the classroom culture and levels of student cheating at a university. Don McCabe, a professor at Rutgers has surveyed over 180,000 students at many campuses. He found that schools with an honor code (typically including the use of an honor pledge) have lower rates of students who self-report cheating.

For More: See Honesty and Honor Codes.

That is even true at large public universities with a modified honor code system and honor pledge.

Cheating is lower both in terms of the percent of students who have cheated and the frequency of cheating.

For More: See Some Good News About Academic Integrity.

Other research has examined student cheating in an experimental setting. That study showed that student's "moral engagement" with their own values about personal honesty was higher after reading or signing an honor statement, and the number who cheated on the experimental task was significantly lower.

Shu, Gino, & Bazerman graph (209)

For More: See Shu, Gino, & Bazerman