Tri-Cities Prep expects a high quality academic performance from every student, commensurate with his/her ability. Another even greater concern, however, is that every student see the tremendous importance of honesty and integrity in these academic pursuits. It is the school’s sincerest hope that everyone understands the fact that NO grade, test, lab report, or paper is more important than one’s personal integrity.
Students are not to copy homework, plagiarize, violate testing procedures, or enable another student to do so. In addition to classroom consequences, infractions shall be reported by the teacher to the Academic Dean.
It is by following the voice of conscience and choosing to be upright, honest and good that one becomes a person of integrity. At some times the voice of conscience is clear. It tells us that it is dishonest to forge a signature on a test, absence note, progress report, etc., and that it is dishonest to cheat on quizzes, tests, and on class exams. Such cheating may include:
- leaving books or notebooks open during a test period
- using unauthorized study notes
- writing answers on desk tops, or on hands, legs, arms and other parts of the body
- looking on another’s test paper
- talking with another student during a test period
- writing down answers copied from others when tests are handed in
- talking with students from previous class periods in order to get test information
During tests and quizzes, avoid turning around, looking toward other students’ papers, talking, etc. You do not want to give the impression of cheating.
There are also clearly dishonest actions on written assignments such as:
- turning in a paper which has been composed by another student
- handing in a paper for credit that has already been graded in another class, without the approval of the teacher
Cheating in any form is clearly dishonest and not acceptable.
If a student is caught “cheating” he/she will receive a 0 for the assignment. The incident will be reported to the Academic Dean for possible disciplinary measures.
It is dishonest to plagiarize. At times our conscience readily recognizes plagiarism.
Tri-Cities Prep defines plagiarism as the following:
Plagiarism is the use of words, ideas, or information of another without informing the reader/listener of the source of these words, ideas or information.
Such instances include:
- papers or passages of papers which are copied verbatim (word-for-word) from primary and secondary sources
- papers that are copies of a fellow or former student’s work
If we quote a source word-for-word, we should always place this quote within quotation marks. Then we should attribute the quote to its source by identifying the author, work, publisher, date, and location of the quote through some sort of documentation (e.g. footnote, endnote). We must do both: the quotation marks tell that “these are not my own words or ideas;” the attributing tells us whose words or ideas they are.
Another type of plagiarism that needs to be addressed is un-attributed paraphrasing and summarizing. Paraphrasing and summarizing involve more than changing one or two words. They recount another’s ideas in your own words and your own style. It may or may not be shorter than the original work, for the purpose is not so much to condense as to retell a work in your own words and style. Thus it should be evident that even here, one needs to attribute the ideas to their source, for while the text is mine [these are my words], it is at the same time not mine [these are not my ideas].
Any time you do not attribute information to a source, you are committing plagiarism. One must document all sources used in composing a paper, report or presentation and acknowledge when a particular idea stems from another source. Both the complete documentation (e.g., a bibliography of sources) and the specific documentation (e.g., a footnote) are essential to avoid the suspicion of plagiarism.
Often, teachers advise students to cooperate and work together. In science classes, it is commonplace for students to work with lab partners and get the same data. In foreign language classes, students are encouraged to assist each other in acquiring new language skills in dialogues and written exercises. When does working together cross the line into dishonest action? When can I no longer state with integrity, “This is my work.”?
We hope that our students will first listen to their consciences and that the prodding of the voice of conscience will tell them when an action is dishonest. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. At Tri-Cities Prep, we wish to foster the development of conscience in these “blurry” areas. We firmly believe that the judgment of an action’s rightness or wrongness is a crucial step in the development of a healthy conscience. So let it be said, it is dishonest:
- to copy answers when working together
- to copy another person’s work with minor changes
- to stop trying to figure out a problem on one’s own and simply to write down another person’s solution
These are instances when working together has crossed the line into dishonest behavior. Such dishonesty is in essence a capitulation: I have refused to learn any more on my own. I have given up on my potential to learn and chosen the easy way out. At Tri-Cities Prep, we do not in any way support this type of behavior.
One solution is made clear in this example from the science classroom: when working on laboratory research, students work with partners. All lab data should be shared with my partner, but after that our joint work stops. Each of us should then process and calculate the data individually. Thus our lab reports will never contain verbatim results.
In the areas of working together on homework, lab reports and the like, always talk with your teachers. Find out what is acceptable and what is not. Do not assume that what might be acceptable for one teacher will be acceptable to another.