Middle School Plagiarism Policy

Academic Integrity: what it is and why it is important

Academic integrity, scholastic honesty, is essential for the assessment of student learning and the evaluation of teaching practices. We educators need to know what a particular student and a particular class have learned and the extent to which our curriculum and instruction is sound. Academic dishonesty is an obstacle to this intent. Academic integrity is violated when a student obtains credit for, or is evaluated on, work that is not his or her own.

The consequences of academic dishonesty, especially cheating and plagiarism

The two most common forms of academic dishonesty that we encounter in the classroom are cheating and plagiarism. Every student must be informed by both the school and the individual teacher as to what constitutes academic dishonesty and the consequences of such. When cheating or plagiarism occurs, it is important that the incident be recorded, appropriate school staff and the student's parents be notified, and a grade of F or zero be assigned. Depending on the seriousness of the offense, punishment could range from zero for that particular piece of student's work, to F for the entire course, or to suspension from class.

Explanation of plagiarism

Plagiarism is using someone else's words, thoughts, or ideas as ones own. This someone else could be another student, a parent, or an author of printed or electronic material. The words or ideas of another must be properly documented whether they are in the form of a quotation, a paraphrase, or a summary.

Anti-plagiarism strategies

Plagiarism is not just the concern of the teacher in the classroom. It is part of academic integrity and as such is the concern of the entire educational staff, students, and parents. We must educate students properly about plagiarism, instruct them in such a way as to prevent them from plagiarizing, and inform them of how plagiarism is detected. See Robert Harris's "Anti-Plagiarism Strategies for Research Papers" at http://www.virtualsalt.com/antiplag.htm for a brief and insightful discussion of this topic.