Academic integrity means being able to stand by your work as your own and attributing any and all contributions--help, language, ideas, images, etc.—to their original sources. Academic integrity is the foundation upon which learning is built. Concord Academy’s three-part mission of love of learning, common trust, and striving for equity position academic integrity squarely at the heart of our institution. Not only is academic integrity essential to an individual’s growth and learning, but it is also core to a trusting and equitable community.
Learning and turning in correct work are not always the same thing. Internal and external pressure to “get things right” can lead to the feeling that correct answers are more important than learning. At its foundation, though, education is about learning, not about getting things right. Cheating, plagiarism and shortcuts often result from students wanting to “get things right,” but they do so at the cost of learning. This is one reason why we take academic integrity so seriously: cheating gets in the way of learning.
All of us experience moments of pressure to “get things right” in which we are unsure we can do so. We encourage you to choose a response to this pressure that prioritizes learning over getting things right. Constructive responses include asking for help, inquiring about extensions or retakes, or turning work in late or incomplete. These responses reflect the commitment to learning we value in CA students.
Cheating also compromises your integrity and erodes trust within the CA community. Common trust is at the core of our community and institution. This is the second reason we take academic integrity so seriously: character and trustworthiness are valuable assets to each individual and the community as a whole. Breaches of integrity damage the fabric of our community.
What is plagiarism?
Plagiarism involves claiming another person’s writing or ideas as your own. Here are some examples of plagiarism:
- Taking all or part of an essay from another student and signing your own name to it.
- Copying work from another student.
- Using material—words, images, statistics, graphs, etc.—from a book, website, online document, video, or any other medium and incorporating it in your own work without proper citation (e.g. quotation marks, footnotes, or other acknowledgment).
- Buying a paper from someone/someplace or receiving unacknowledged editing help from a professional editor, a tutor, a parent, or other source.
- Collaborating on homework, tests, labs, or essays when a teacher has indicated that no such collaboration should take place.
- Using the basis of an argument or idea found in a source without attribution, even if the exact words of the argument are not used.
- Intentionally or unintentionally using phrases, arguments, or ideas picked up from other sources. A plagiarized phrase may be as few as two words long!
- Not giving credit for another person’s words, graphs, drawings, or other intellectual activity. You must give credit for all parts of your work that come from other sources. If you have any doubts at all, you should err on the side of over-acknowledging.
How do you avoid plagiarism?
- You must give credit when you paraphrase another person, especially if the other person’s ideas are radical, new, complex, or more clever than those you can legitimately claim. Common knowledge such as famous dates (July 4, 1776), basic theories (gravity), mottoes (“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”), etc. do not need to be assigned credit.
- You must keep careful track of the sources you use as you prepare any presentation of your work — essay, slide show, graphic, performance, etc. — to be able to cite where material came from; you should distinguish between sources and mark them as you are taking notes.
- You must not consult CliffsNotes, SparkNotes, Wikipedia, or similar summaries without your teacher’s permission.
- You must clear collaboration of any kind in advance with your teacher. It is your responsibility to be clear on rules for homework, take-home tests, long-term projects, films, etc.
- When taking tests and quizzes, you must not use material from books, other students, any electronic device, or other notes unless specifically given permission by your teacher.
What are other examples of academic dishonesty?
Cheating on tests, quizzes, projects or homework; lying to or misleading teachers or peers; and omitting the truth in the academic setting are also forms of academic dishonesty.
How does Concord Academy respond to academic dishonesty?
Claiming another person’s thought or idea as your own is as serious as taking another person’s property, and honest behavior is core to scholarship and the Concord Academy community. The discovery of dishonest behavior may lead to a Dean’s Warning and/or a meeting of the Academic Discipline Committee. Students who plagiarize, cheat, or lie may be suspended or dismissed from Concord Academy.
Additional important guidelines
The “no pencil in hand, no fingers on keyboard” rule
When helping a student, those providing assistance must do so verbally and in general terms. When parents/tutors/peers actively edit a student’s work they are interfering in the dialogue between teacher and student. This can be a difficult challenge, particularly for parents, but it is an essential part of learning at CA. Students are responsible for ensuring that third parties do not actively edit their work. Exceptions to this rule may occur at the specific direction or invitation of the teacher.
Honesty and accuracy in the college process
When you submit your college applications, you will type your name agreeing to all of the conditions put forth by the Common App (aka, the “fine print”). Included in this language is the statement that all of the material contained in the application is your own original work and that everything you have stated in your application is true. Don’t take chances; have confidence in your ability to write a strong application independently and have faith that your accomplishments speak for themselves and do not need to be embellished. A number of institutions do random “audits” of incoming students’ applications and will revoke students’ admission if/when they find dishonesty has occurred. Students can also face discipline from the school if they submit work that is not their own.
Students are urged to ask for help if they feel unable to complete their own work.