Simply put, academic integrity means that students do their own work at all times. Academic integrity is the heart of education, and is not just a matter of rules or doing the right thing. Learning is a process that involves making mistakes, and mistakes, imperfect, or incomplete work often result in powerful learning experiences. Substituting someone else’s work, time, and effort in place of one’s own derails the learning process in a way that is antithetical to CA’s academic goals.
It is the school’s hope that students come to value academic integrity, errors, and explorations as highly as their teachers do. To help in that quest, several resources have been included here for students and families as they study at CA. Faculty members are a student’s best interactive resource—whenever there is uncertainty, students are encouraged to ask questions!
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.
What Is Plagiarism and How Do You Avoid It?
Plagiarism involves claiming another person’s writing or ideas as one’s own. Here are some examples of plagiarism:
- taking all or part of an essay from another student and signing one’s own name to it;
- copying any work from another student’s test;
- using material: words, images, statistics, graphs, etc., from a book, website, online document, video or any other medium and incorporating it in one’s own work without proper citation (e.g. quotation marks, footnotes, or other acknowledgment); proper citation includes using quotation marks when an author’s exact words are used;
- buying a paper from a research company 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 clearly 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;
- unintentionally using phrases or arguments picked up from other sources; the fact that plagiarism wasn’t intended does not make plagiarism OK. Carelessness in note-taking can result in plagiarism.
Honesty and Accuracy
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.
Other essential guidelines:
- Whenever a student uses another person’s words, graphs, drawings, or other intellectual activity, he or she must give credit. If a student has any doubts at all, they should err on the side of over-acknowledging;
- When a student paraphrases another person, especially if the other person’s ideas are radical, new, complex, or more clever than those the student can legitimately claim, they must give credit;
- Students must keep careful track of the sources they use as they prepare any presentation of their work — paper, slide show, computer image, performance, etc. — so it is clear where material came from; students should distinguish between sources and mark them as they are taking notes;
- Students must not consult CliffsNotes, SparkNotes, Wikipedia, or similar summaries without their teacher’s permission;
- Students must clear collaboration of any kind in advance with their teacher. It is each student’s responsibility to be clear on rules for homework, take-home tests, long-term projects, films, etc.;
- When taking tests and quizzes, students must not use material from books, other students, any electronic device, or crib notes;
Each academic department at CA will elaborate on this policy, and each student must be sure to ask questions about departmental and individual teacher policies.
How Does Concord Academy Respond to Plagiarism?
Claiming another person’s thought or idea as your own is as serious as taking another person’s property. The discovery of such behavior may lead to a Dean’s Warning and/or a meeting of the Academic Discipline Committee. Students who plagiarize may be suspended or dismissed from Concord Academy.
Students are urged to ask for help if they feel unable to complete their own work.