What compels students to cheat, and what can be done in the training and workforce development industry to minimize cheating? Dr. Roy Swift, executive director of Workcred, shares how competency-based education can help build student confidence and boost academic integrity in a newly released episode of The Score podcast.
Host Kathryn Baron, an education journalist, discusses with Dr. Swift the landscape of cheating in school and delves into the key issues at play when it comes to cheating—a multifaceted issue challenging academia today.
“We have to build individuals who know how to work with each other, respect one another, and be willing to teach each other,” Dr. Swift explained. “I think misconduct comes from not feeling competent, and in many times, misconduct comes from feeling inadequate in a situation.”
Noting how academic grades K through 12 are the foundational component to success in post-secondary education, academia, and higher education, Dr. Swift emphasized the need for academia to move to a “competency-based approach” when it comes to higher education. Such an approach can signal to employers, the government, and other stakeholders what an individual knows, and what they can do.
Dr. Swift leads Workcred efforts to support building a competency-based U.S. credentialing system. Credentials can serve as the vital connection for both job candidates and employers, as they reveal knowledge and skills, and help match each group with appropriate opportunities. They are also a tool that can build confidence.
“Competency gives more structure to the student as to what the expectations are in this regard,” noted Dr. Swift. “Competency-based assessment is really a more straightforward method of evaluating whether a skill has been achieved. And the students feel more secure when they know what it is that is expected of them, expected in the course, and expected on the assessment.”
He added that when it comes to competency, individuals can repeat an assessment until they have achieved the level of competency—diminishing reason to cheat.
“Let's say, I failed. I'll go back and relearn. That's a skill that's taught in the military. […] One of the things that always happens in the military is that teach, test, reteach, retest,” Dr. Swift said. “We want to send a message that failure is a part of life and one has to learn from failure to eventually succeed.”
Access the June podcast: “Exploring Issues of Academic Integrity.” The Score is produced by the academic integrity and research group at Pando Public Relations.