Academic Honesty

The Center for English Language and Culture for International Students wants to help students understand the standards for academic honesty that are used in most American institutes of higher education including Western Michigan University. 

There are six types of behavior that are not acceptable in CELCIS classes and in WMU classes. 


Cheating means using help that is not permitted by the teacher during a class activity or homework assignment. 
This means that it is not acceptable to:
  • Look at another student's paper during a test.
  • Write information to help you on a test on small pieces of paper, on your body, or on tissues.
  • Text another person for answers to an activity, quiz, or test.
  • Use non-verbal signals from other classmates to answer the questions. 
You must ask for the instructor’s permission before you may use books, cell phones, notes, or help from a person other than the instructor during a test. It is not acceptable to copy answers from another student's homework paper. 


Plagiarism means using information that was written by someone else without showing who wrote it. It means:
  • Copying ideas or words from books, magazines, or websites.
  • Not showing that the information came from that source. 
It is not acceptable to take ideas or words from published or unpublished sources unless the student shows that information comes from that source. A student can take information from a source if he or she quotes or paraphrases the information and then cites the source. The student must use quotation marks (" ") with words taken from a source. When either quoting or paraphrasing the source, you must state who gave the information and when and where it was published.


Complicity means helping another student to commit a dishonest act in class. That means that it is not acceptable to:
  • Do homework for another student.
  • Allow another student to copy your work.
  • Text answers to another student during an activity or a test.
  • Non-verbally signal answers to classmates.

Fabrication, Falsification, and Forgery

  • Fabrication means inventing information that is used for an academic assignment. This means it is not acceptable to make up ideas that are used for a class assignment when the assignment requires that you collect information from sources. For example, if the student is asked to interview others about a topic, he or she may not invent the answers to those interview questions. 
  • Falsification means changing a grade or score. That means that it is not acceptable to erase a grade or score and write a different one on an academic  paper. 
  • Forgery is imitating another person's signature. That means that it is not acceptable to write a teacher's name or a doctor's name on a report or a letter that they did not sign. 

Multiple Submission

Multiple submission means when a student submits the same work for more than one class.
For example: 
  • If a student wrote a paper for one class and received a grade, it is not acceptable for him/her to hand in the same paper or use parts of it for a different class.
  • If a student prepared a presentation for one class and received a grade, it is not acceptable for him/her to hand in the same presentation or parts of it for a different class. 

Academic Computer Misuse

Using computer software to do work that the teacher has told the student to do without the help of a computer is known as computer misuse. 
That means it is not acceptable for a CELCIS student to:
  • Write a paper in his or her native language and use translation programs to translate the paper into English. 
  • Use alternative forms of content for an assignment which the teacher told the students to complete in a particular way. For example, to complete a listening assignment, a student may not use transcribing software that would allow him/her to read the text instead of listening to it unless the teacher approves such an alternative format.