Exploring Academic Integrity and Mental Health During COVID-19: Rapid Review

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The Bottom Line

As of May 2020 academic research had yet to establish a strong relationship between academic integrity and mental health during COVID-19. The authors noted that this is primarily due to the lag in information, as the academic publication process takes a long period of time. Trends reported in the media do suggest that there is reason for concern.

Research Summary

The authors performed a review in May 2020 of recent academic publications and media reports on academic integrity and mental health during COVID-19. The authors concluded that empirical studies at the time of the review were limited and that more research is needed to identify a relationship between academic integrity and mental health. However, the authors noted that there was evidence of the following trends:

1.  Increase in student stress levels
Student stress levels appear to be much greater with online proctoring compared to face-to-face assessments. This may have implications for students' mental health.

2.  Students have privacy infringement concerns with online proctoring
Future research should consider whether privacy concerns affect student mental health.

3.  Increase in for-profit companies selling academic integrity products and services
The rise in for-profit companies and their access to student and instructor information needs further academic inquiry.

4. News media outlets are quicker at identifying issues compared to academic research
Current trends in media reporting suggest that the relationship between academic integrity and mental health during COVID-19 is a significant concern.

Research conducted after this study provide greater evidence that there is a relationship between online proctoring and mental health. See EXAMIND's other research summaries on student and faculty perceptions of online proctoring.

Key Takeaways

1. Urgent Need to Understand the Connection Between Mental Health and Academic Integrity

Students' mental health should not have to be sacrificed for academic integrity. Institutions need to find the right balance.

2. There Should Be Great Concern About the Use of Surveillance Technology in Educational Contexts

There is growing evidence that online proctoring infringes study privacy and that it does not eliminate cheating.

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