Academic Integrity and Final Grades

By Peter Connor

The beginning of the semester is a great time to address the issue of academic integrity with your students. The murky part, of course, is communicating the message effectively.

Bill Taylor, a professor of Political Science at Oakton Community College in Illinois, did it by writing an open letter to his students, based upon ideas contained in the first draft of "The Fundamental Values of Academic Integrity," a project developed at Clemson University'Center for Academic Integrity.

The letter covers a lot of ground, out of which I have created a number of Teaching Tips that you will find indexed under TILT’s Related Tips in the right-hand column.

In the tip below—Section V of the letter—specific parallels are drawn between the requirements academic integrity imposes on both Taylor, and his students, regarding final grades. As you can see, they are basically the same.

Section V: From Bill Taylor’s "A Letter to My Students"

What Academic Integrity Requires of Me in This Area

  • With regard to your final grade, the principles of academic integrity require that I carefully weigh all of your grades during the course, as well as the other factors that affect the final grade as spelled out in the syllabus, before assigning a final grade.

What Academic Integrity Requires of You in This Area

  • With regard to your final grade, the principles of academic integrity require that, if you feel I’ve made a mistake in computing that grade, you have a responsibility to come to me as soon as possible prepared to show why you think I’ve made a mistake.

Note: In other sections of his letter (see TILT's Related Tips) Taylor describes the similarity of the responsibilities both he and his students have relative to class preparation and participation, as well as to written assignments and exams.


Taylor, B. (n.d.). Integrity: Academic and Political - A Letter to My Students. In Academic Integrity Articles. Retrieved January 9, 2009, from the Clemson University Center for Academic Integrity Web site:

Copyright and Permissions:

This Teaching Tip was adapted from "A Letter to My Students," written by William M. Taylor: Political Science Professor—Oakton Community College in Des Plaines, IL.

NOTE: Taylor has granted permission for his letter to be used in any way that is consistent with promoting academic integrity (n.d., p.1).


Peter Connor - TILT Web Content Writer and Editor