Conversations With Students About Academic Honesty CSP


I’ve found a conversation starter that works with students in my class and you may find value using it in yours.

“Help me understand your workflow.”

I’ve been confronted with student projects being riddled with identical code from videos from youtube, threads on reddit, first hits of google searches, and work from former (or current) students. I’ve also seen many more students clicking finish on lesson levels with no work done. Usually when I see all solid “bubbles” on my teacher dashboard, this indicates the student has read the instructions, followed the instructions, and programmed the level with academic integrity. Numerous times in the past few weeks I’ve found this to not be the case. (I do want to note that students are most likely doing this because I grade their levels for completion grades. This is a whole other ball of wax that deserves its own thread. This post is meant for an audience that may be seeing a similar trend and want to have productive conversation with students that leads to a change in behavior without tarnishing relationships or coming off as accusatory.)

With two separate students I have brought them over privately and said “Hey, when I’ve gone in to see everyone’s progress I noticed that your bubbles were filled in but you didn’t have any work done. Can you help me understand your workflow? How do you know what levels are finished and which ones still need to be completed?” This allowed the students to open up and at least start talking about how they work (or not) during class time. It also provides an opportunity for me to let them know that I see them. I want them to do the work. And, I want them to come to me for help before they find themselves slipping into a situation where they are compromising their academic integrity.

I’d like to hear from others if they try this conversation starter. I’m going to continue to use it and I’ll update with any new responses I get from students.


First year CS Principles teacher here coming from 10+ years of teaching math. I love this sentence stem and will start using it, so thank you for that! As for getting around the issue of students just blasting past without verifying accurate work completion, I’ve started creating trackers for the investigate and make lessons, asking them to self-evaluate on a scale of 1-4 after each “level” how well they understood the content after completion. I also have them answer a reflection question each time: “Does the program work to specification? ie. did you read and follow all the directions and verify that before moving on?” I then very strategically require specific levels to be checked by me and stamped off for accuracy to make it so that some accuracy is required for credit.

This is also related to your initial question of academic honesty because if they are struggling with the accuracy or if I am suspicious of how much “help” they received, I ask questions to get at their thinking and we usually find out they did previous slides wrong, incomplete, or copied. As I’m sure many of us are doing, I’m working with my students on fully reading all directions, using their resources, and asking others, with the ultimate goal of making meaning and understanding for themselves (not to just “get done” or “get credit”) Word of warning though, as you can imagine, this does slow down lesson completions quite a bit, although I’d rather have them be slower and accurate as opposed to faster and clueless. Happy to share an example of a tracker if anyone wants a visual.


Hi @stephen.dale, thank you for your thoughtful response. I love the idea of going slow to go fast later. Taking time early understanding of foundations has an incredible return on time invested later on. I’m definitely interested in seeing an example of a tracker if you don’t mind sharing.

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