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David Rettinger - University of Mary Washington. Fredericksburg, VA, US

David Rettinger David Rettinger

Associate Professor and Director for Academic Integrity Programs | University of Mary Washington

Fredericksburg, VA, UNITED STATES

Rettinger focuses on academic integrity and efforts to combat cheating.




Dr. David Rettinger's academic research interest focuses on academic integrity behavior, having published research on the psychology of cheating in such academic journals as "Theory into Practice," "Ethics and Behavior" and "Psychological Perspectives on Academic Cheating." As president of the International Center for Academic Integrity he oversees an organization founded to combat cheating, plagiarism and academic dishonesty in higher education.

Areas of Expertise (2)


Academic Integrity

Education (3)

University of Colorado: Ph.D., Psychology

University of Colorado: M.A., Psychology

University of Michigan: B.A., Psychology

Media Appearances (12)

How should universities deal with student cheating?

Brookings Institution TechTank Podcast)  online


David Rettinger is a professor of psychological science and director of academic integrity programs at the University of Mary Washington.

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LISTEN: Town Talk/Fredericksburg Sister City response to Nepal COVID crisis

Fredericksburg Today  online


Dr. David Rettinger from UMW, David Caprara with the Fredericksburg-Nepal Exchange Board, and Scott DeLisi-former American Ambassador to Nepal talk about rising COVID in the country and how the region is responding.

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Colleges See Surge in Cheating, Plagiarism

WRC-DC; NBC Washington  tv


Professor David Rettinger with the University of Mary Washington believes students are feeling pressure from the pandemic and online school, and it's why they may make bad choices to get good grades.

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Fredericksburg Sister-City group helping partners in COVID-devastated Nepal

The Free Lance-Star  print


A college professor and director of Academic Integrity Programs, Rettinger has visited Nepal three times, once as a young adult and twice in recent years. In 2018, he and fellow professor Dan Hirshberg, an expert in Asian religions, led a study abroad trip for UMW students.

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If You Can't Stand the Cheat, Get Out of the Kitchen

Forbes  online


As David Rettinger of University of Mary Washington noted on The Key, “If you’re going to give a 50-question multiple choice test, that’s pretty much the most cheatable possible assignment online. Even if you just change that to 10 five-question multiple choice quizzes, you’ve made it less likely that students will cheat, because you’ve reduced the stakes and the pressure.”

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Remote Learning and Cheating: Professors and Students Weigh In

Teen Vogue  online


“I call it a game of whack-a-mole,” says David Rettinger, president emeritus of the International Center for Academic Integrity (ICAI) and director of academic integrity at the University of Mary Washington. New sites are constantly rising in popularity, he explains, making it harder for professors to prevent students from seeking answers online, especially now.

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Combating Cheating in the COVID Era: The Key Podcast

Inside Higher Education  online


Are more students engaging in academic misconduct now than is normally the case?

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Students Cheat. How Much Does It Matter?

The Chronicle of Higher Education  online


While there aren’t any hard data showing that cheating has increased since the pivot online, says David Rettinger, a professor of psychology and director of academic integrity programs at the University of Mary Washington, it may well have. Either way, he says, higher ed was probably “naïve” about exam cheating before. Most in-person tests, Rettinger says, are not proctored especially well. It’s simply much easier to tell that students have copied from a website than from a classmate’s paper.

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Best Way to Stop Cheating in Online Courses? ‘Teach Better’

Inside Higher Education  online


"Ever since the first monks were saying, 'Oh, those new styluses are allowing them to illuminate those manuscripts much more easily, that’s clearly dishonest,' there's been somebody who thought the new technology makes [cheating] so much easier," David Rettinger, a professor of psychological science and director of academic programs at the University of Mary Washington, said during the Wiley webcast. "The reality is that there has always been people using technology for good and for ill. I don't think the internet is an epochal technological change -- it's just another in a series of the wheel turning."

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Course Hero Woos Professors

Inside Higher Education  online


David Rettinger appreciates that change is afoot in higher education, as professors like Gaye Johnson and Barbara Oakley suggest, and that faculty members may not be adjusting sufficiently to it. It's a "totally legitimate point that sharing documents can be beneficial in some particular cases and that tutoring can be legitimate in many cases," says Rettinger, professor of psychological sciences and director of academic programs at the University of Mary Washington, in Virginia.

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The Ethics (and Crime) of Plagiarism

How Stuff Works  online


The Ethics (and Crime) of Plagiarism (How Stuff Works) "It's a particular problem in academia because we care so much about the process," says David Rettinger, a professor of psychology at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and the president of the International Center for Academic Integrity. "I say this to my students all the time: I don't care that you give me a [clean] paper. I care that you write a paper. The point is ... it's like sending someone to the gym for you. It completely defeats the purpose."

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UA bans 'contract cheating'

arkansasonline.com  online


UA bans 'contract cheating' (arkansasonline.com) Rettinger, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia who also directs the school's academic integrity program, said institutions "must teach our students why this is wrong." "If they value their education, and we can explain to them why a particular assignment furthers their education, they're more likely to attempt the assignment honestly," Rettinger said.

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Articles (3)

The role of emotions and attitudes in causing and preventing cheating

Theory Into Practice

David A. Rettinger

2017 Given that students at secondary and postsecondary levels believe that certain behaviors are morally wrong and consider them cheating, they still perform them, albeit infrequently. This article examines the psychology of cheating, emphasizing individual psychological factors that influence integrity behavior. From this research, strategies to prevent cheating for students at all levels emerge...

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The influence of personality on the decision to cheat

Ethics & Behavior

Melissa McTernan, Patrick Love, David Rettinger

2013 Seventeen transgressive behaviors were studied in the context of six personality variables using survey methods. The personality variables were impulsivity, sensation seeking, empathetic perspective taking, guilt, and shame, with social desirability used as a control. Confirmatory factor analysis indicated a five-factor model as having the best fit...

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Imitation Is the Sincerest Form of Cheating: The Influence of Direct Knowledge and Attitudes on Academic Dishonesty

Ethics & Behavior

Jillian O'Rourke, Jeffrey Barnes, Anna Deaton, Kristopher Fulks, Kristina Ryan, David A Rettinger

2010 What effect does witnessing other students cheat have on one's own cheating behavior? What roles do moral attitudes and neutralizing attitudes (justifications for behavior) play when deciding to cheat? The present research proposes a model of academic dishonesty which takes into account each of these variables. Findings from experimental (vignette) and survey methods determined that seeing others cheat increases cheating behavior by causing students to judge the behavior less morally reprehensible, not by making rationalization easier. Witnessing cheating also has unique effects, controlling for other variables...

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