Academic Honesty

Philosophy

We are a close-knit school that ensures rigor for everyone.  Students spend much of their academic course time working in collaborative groups, learning together and supporting one another.  Our community values the arts and writing as a means of expression and as tools for learning.  We have cultivated a community of students and adults that consider themselves inquirers and communicators.  We value cultures and histories that differ from our own personal experiences, and grow through understanding others’ points of view.  

Given that we value learning that takes place when we read, listen to, and receive the ideas of others, we expect students to be transparent in their studies.  This academic honesty policy provides students, teachers, and families with a roadmap and guidelines of how we support intellectual honesty.  

This policy is written, reviewed, and revised by community stakeholders to ensure that the content is accessible to all, and reviewed every three years.  The policy is published in the faculty and family handbooks. At any time, administrators, teachers or the Student Council may request a review of the policy.

A Shared Responsibility for Academic Honesty- Academic Honesty Board

Students are expected to be principled with regard to creation and submission of authentic academic work. They are encouraged to seek out assistance from peers, staff, parents, and informational sources.  They must credit all sources used.

Students are encouraged to motivate their peers to maintain academic honesty, and if necessary, alert staff. Students may report suspected cases of academic dishonesty to any adult in the building or their parent or guardian at home.

Teachers will work with students to identify proper conduct and use of external sources within their own work. Students will first be made aware of examples of misconduct and practice how to safely use outside sources.  We recognize that students sometimes feel pressure to achieve certain grades, and valuing a numeric grade over learning itself can lead students to misrepresent their own work.  Teachers will attempt to create a learning culture throughout the building that encourages students to value the struggle and outcomes of learning rather than specific numeric grades.  

Teachers will use their professional judgment to determine when academic dishonesty is a result of inexperience and/or skill in need of improvement rather than an attempt to misrepresent one’s own work.  Teachers will report suspected cases of academic dishonesty to administrators in a timely manner.

Administrators are responsible for cultivating a culture of honesty.  Administrators are responsible for helping parents, teachers, and students to understand that a healthy learning organization must hold itself to high standards of integrity.  Administrators are also responsible for ensuring that reports of academic dishonesty are investigated and consequences for violations are consistently applied.

Parents and guardians can help their children at home in determining what is considered a safe use of external sources. Parents can also support their children in developing a strong sense of academic honesty by engaging in conversation about student work, providing feedback on student work, and helping students to understand that valuable learning takes place when students grapple with concepts and skills.  We value the time and effort that families put into helping their children, and we ask families to ensure that students are doing their own work.  It can sometimes be difficult to determine the line between “helping” and “doing.”  For this reason, teachers are available to support families in understanding how to best help their child.  We encourage families to contact teachers whenever there is a question or concern about how to support a child.

If a student shares a concern about academic dishonesty with a parent or guardian, we ask that the parent or guardian work with his or her child to alert the school’s administration.   

The Clinton School’s learning stance on academic honesty serves to create and maintain a scholarly culture that values collaboration and the exchange of ideas.  We provide education and support by:

  • providing students with clear learning outcomes and multiple opportunities to demonstrate their mastery of content
  • providing examples and rubrics, clarifying expectations to assist students in self-monitoring their own work
  • recognizing and celebrating students’ process of learning, as well as the outcomes
  • teaching students how to work collaboratively and fostering classroom environments where questioning and camaraderie in learning are valued
  • teaching and empowering students to ask for assistance when needed, and making it clear that every person needs assistance at some point
  • teaching students how to reference sources in their own work across disciplines
  • providing students with examples of good referencing and poor referencing
  • assessing students on their ability to reference and providing feedback
  • collaborating in teacher teams to ensure that referencing standards are clear
  • providing the school community with clear expectations for academic honesty and consequences for academic dishonesty

Academic Dishonesty: What It Is. What It Is Not

Academic dishonesty is more than just cheating on a test or copying a few lines of text into an essay.  Academic dishonesty occurs whenever you misrepresent your own work or whenever you help someone else to misrepresent their work.  Below you will find four categories of academic dishonesty followed by a short description and one example.  The following descriptions and examples are not an exhaustive list:

  • Plagiarism – a student has copied explicit words, overall ideas, or data found in informational sources without providing appropriate citation (for example: inserting a chart you found online in a presentation without citing the source
  • Copying – a student has copied the work of a peer, including homework, classwork, and exam answers (for example: looking over a tablemate’s shoulder and writing what they do is copying, not working together)
  • Collusion – Knowingly allowing a peer to copy work or actively sharing answers during independent work (for example: moving your test to the right side of your desk so the person next to you can see the answers you wrote)
  • Misconduct – Claiming ignorance of any academic honesty guidelines as an excuse for failure to comply; falsifying or misrepresenting data (for example: reporting false lab data in order to prove your hypothesis correct or incorrect)

Procedures for Reporting, Recording and Monitoring Academic Dishonesty 

We have found that some students do not take full advantage of their own work and resources because they are concerned about violating the academic honesty policy.  These are actions that are considered good student skills, not academic dishonesty. When in doubt, speak with an adult in the building:

  • Using your class notes and/or previous homework as a reference to study for a test or complete current homework. (Please do this – it’s why teachers have you take notes!)
  • Studying with a classmate by quizzing each other.
  • Talking through homework problems by explaining your thinking and asking your classmate to explain his or her thinking.
  • Using model and mentor texts provided by teachers to better understand how to craft your own writing.Procedures for Reporting, Recording and Monitoring Academic Dishonesty
  • Instances of plagiarism, collusion, and misconduct will be immediately reported to administrators and test coordinators.  
  • Administrators and/or test coordinators will require the reporting person to write a statement, including the reporter’s name and date of report.
  • Parents/Guardians of the accused student will be informed of the allegation of academic dishonesty.
  • Administrators will investigate the allegation of academic dishonesty.  The investigation will include a conversation with the accused students and the opportunity for the accused students to write a statement.
  • Students who are accused of academic dishonesty have the right to provide a response to the allegation and provide supporting witnesses.  Students accused of academic dishonesty will also be asked to provide a written statement before consequences are given.
  • Administrators will provide consequences consistent with this policy and in line with the discipline policy as outlined by the New York City Department of Education.
  • The school will maintain a central record of each incident and the consequence. This will help ensure consistency between situations and also help target possible trends among student behavior.

If it is determined by the administration or teachers that a middle grades student has engaged in academic dishonesty, the following will happen for the first and second offenses only:

  • A parent-student-staff meeting will be convened. The purpose of this meeting will be to ensure that the school and family are clear on the school’s expectations for academic honesty, as well as supports that were provided to the student prior to the incident.  The student will explain why he or she chose to copy, plagiarize or engage in collusion.  During this meeting, staff will attempt to determine if there are any skills deficits that contributed to the student’s decision to engage in academic dishonesty. 
  • The student will not receive a grade for the work.
  • The student will be required to complete the assignment again, with any supports needed, for a grade of 85% at most.

If a middle school student engages in academic dishonesty a third time, he or she will receive a Principal’s Suspension, which does go on his or her record.

If an upper grades student engages in any form of academic dishonesty, the following will happen as a result of the third offense:

  • Students who engage in any form of academic dishonesty will receive an IB level of 0 for the work in question.
  • The student will complete the assignment, or a compensatory assignment, in order to demonstrate his or her mastery of the skills and understandings that were meant to be assessed on the original assignment.  The assignment will be ungraded, however the student will receive feedback on their work.
  • The student will receive a 1 day principal’s suspension.  During this suspension, the student will complete a written reflection pertaining to his or her choices and the IB Learner Profile.  The student will identify ways that he or she can begin to repair the trust that has been broken.
  • The student will have a report of academic dishonesty recorded on his or her transcript, which is provided to colleges and universities in the application process.   

Again, we strongly encourage students to seek help from the teacher if there is any confusion about citing another person’s work or if he or she does not understand class lessons or assignments.

Understanding Turnitin Similarity Score Index Reports – Upper Grades

Clinton’s IB Diploma Programme uses Turnitin.com to verify the originality and integrity of students’ writing. Students in 11th and 12th grade are required to submit all writing through Turnitin.com. Teachers provide registration information at the beginning of each semester. 

For each assignment, Turnitin generates a Similarity Score Index in which “Papers submitted to Turnitin may be compared against billions of internet documents, archived internet data that is no longer available on the live web, a local repository of previously submitted papers, and subscription repository of periodicals, journals, and publications” (Turnitin.com). 

The Similarity Score Index Report is feedback for students and verification for teachers. We encourage students to review their Similarity Reports before final submission of their papers. More information can be found here: https://guides.turnitin.com/01_Manuals_and_Guides/Student_Guides/Turnitin_Classic_(Deprecated)/17_The_Similarity_Report

Here are a few things to keep in mind with Turnitin Similarity Score Index Reports:

  • Direct quotes, even when cited, are counted in the similarity percentage. However, when cited properly, they are not considered academically dishonest. 
  • If a paper has a high similarity percentage based on direct quotes from primary and/or secondary sources, this may mean that there is not enough original writing in the paper. We recommend that students revise these papers, so that the majority of the paper contains their original ideas. 
  • Pay close attention to any similarities that are not quotes. 
  • If a source you used shows up in the Similarity Score Index, review that section of your paper and possibly revise.
  • Ideally, students’ papers should show a green Similarity Score Index.
  • If you have questions about how to interpret the Similarity Score Index, ask your teacher!

Sources

Carroll, Jude. Academic Honesty in the IB. International Baccalaureate Organization, October 2012.

http://blogs.ibo.org/positionpapers/files/2013/02/Academic-honesty-in-the-IB.pdf

“The Similarity Report”. Turnitin LLC, 2018, https://guides.turnitin.com/01_Manuals_and_Guides/Student_Guides/Turnitin_Classic_(Deprecated)/17_The_Similarity_Report. Accessed 25 July 2018.