Academic Integrity Policies

This is the time of season when schools rollout academic integrity policies to inform students. If you are one of these schools, please don’t just think of this as a checkoff activity. It’s something that we as educators must continue to address and educate upon for all of our students throughout the year. This blog can give you all the help you need for that!

To get you started, here is a great handout prepared by my colleague and presented to students at my new school. It’s a nice, concise document that covers many of the themes I’ve talked about through the years. Special thanks to Todd Gonzales of Gems American Academy for his hard work in preparing this document. Think of it as a good example and practice what you preach by giving credit to Mr. Gonzales if you use it in your school or classroom.

Academic Honesty Policy

 Our Mission

******* provides a rigorous academic program to our international learning community. As a selective international school, our mission is to inspire, educate, lead and innovate.  In our **** learning community we….

  • Inspire through a well-balanced educational experience that celebrates cultural diversity.
  • Educate through high academic standards, global values and unique approaches to learning.
  • Lead through cutting edge learning tools, environments and experiences.
  • Innovate through creativity, inquiry and a common desire for a better future.


We strive to inspire, educate, lead and innovate within a culture of kindness that promotes success for all.

We believe that:

  • Each student is a unique individual with equal potential to make a positive contribution to our school community.
  • It is important to instill an enthusiasm for life-long learning in each student along with the skills and dispositions necessary to prepare them for the challenges and changes which will be faced in their future.
  • Our students must develop the skills and understandings that will enable them to become responsible, contributing citizens of the global community.
  • Learning and the GAA experience are improved when parents are actively engaged in the learning of their children.


**** is committed to academic honesty and we expect all our students of the secondary school to submit work that is authentic and properly referenced. As a school we encourage principled practice in our students and are committed to providing them with the necessary guidance to be aware of what academic honesty entails.

What is academic honesty?

As defined by the IBO, academic honesty is a principle informed by the attributes of the Learner profile. Academic honesty serves to promote integrity and engender respect of other peoples’ work and ideas.





Academic dishonesty and malpractice:


The definition of academic dishonesty is wide but it covers the following:

  • Plagiarism: taking work, words, ideas, pictures, information or anything that has been produced by someone else and submitting it for assessment as one’s own.
  • Exam cheating: communicating with another candidate in an exam, bringing unauthorized material into an exam room, or consulting such material during an exam in order to gain an unfair advantage.
  • Duplication: submitting work that is substantially the same for assessment in different courses without the consent of all teachers involved.
  • Falsifying data: creating or altering data which have not been collected in an appropriate way.
  • Collusion: helping another student to be academically dishonest by allowing one’s work to be copied by another student and submitted as his/her own.
  • Recycling Fraud: reuse of significantly similar or identical work from oneself without citation or acknowledgement.

Prevention of malpractice:

As a school committed to IBO, we have adapted many ways to prevent malpractice:

  • Student workshops: The Librarian, in collaboration with the IB Coordinator, will provide workshops to the students where students are explained the meaning of plagiarism and are taught ways of preventing it. They will be taught MLA format for appropriate citing of work. ·Teachers and librarians are encouraged to follow closely the research done by the students and guide them in using appropriate research skills that will enable them to analyze the material thus avoiding copying.
  • The Diploma teachers will use the ‘turnitin’ to check all final assignments for academic integrity.
  • The IB Coordinator will work closely with the teachers and librarians to create a timeline for all major assignments and assessments which will be posted on managebac.
  • At the beginning of the grade 11 year, parents will be encouraged to attend an information session on academic honesty.





Procedures for investigating academic dishonesty:

  • The teacher will express concerns about the work that has been handed by the student to the IB Coordinator.
  • Together, they will investigate the matter which will include a discussion with the student and a written statement.
  • after investigation, it is found that the malpractice was not deliberate, the student will be given guidance and support in order to avoid such errors in future followed by a second chance to submit the work.
  • If the investigation reveals intent to engage in academic dishonesty, the work will not be graded, a record will be kept and the parents will be notified. The school reserves the right in such cases to withdraw a student from the IB Diploma Programme.
  • If academic dishonesty is detected in work submitted as internal or external assessment, the work will be retained by the school, the IB will be informed an N Grade will be awarded, thereby barring the award of an IB Diploma. Subject teachers will issue cover sheets for all such assessments that students will sign to acknowledge this consequence.
  • School administration may be involved as needed during the consequence phase.


Students should recognize that they are ultimately responsible for their own work and that the consequences of any breaches of the standard of academic honesty will be theirs alone. They should speak to teachers regularly about their work and show drafts at various stages in the production process. They should ask teachers for advice if they are at any time unsure of what they have done in relation to referencing sources. At GAA, we expect our students to show integrity and develop into principled learners and we do our best to guide them. Any breach of the academic honesty policy will be taken very seriously.

Consequences of academic malpractice:

As a school we recognize the IB stand on malpractice and we will do everything required to avoid this difficult situation. We are aware of the regulations by IB concerning malpractice which states that a student will receive a ‘N’(not graded) in the subject where the malpractice has occurred, subsequently the student will not receive his/her diploma and can re sit for the diploma after 6 months. In more serious cases where there has been breach of the regulations especially during the exams, the IB will deny the student the right to enter any future examination session. (General regulations-28.5-28.8)



Student Academic Honesty Pledge

I, _______________________________________ have read and understood the GAA Academic Honesty Policy for IB Diploma.  I promise to abide by the spirit and the substance of the academic honesty policy as an enquiring and principled student.  I am committed to the highest standards of academic honesty and I understand the seriousness of engaging in academically dishonest practices.  I act at all times with the high standards of integrity expected at GAA and promise to seek guidance from the school in any situation where I am unsure how to proceed in an academically honest manner with my work.




Signed  ………………………………………….. Student                   Date …../……./………..




Signed  ………………………………………….. Parent                     Date …../……./………..




University of Oxford on Plagiarism

Here is a great page from the University of Oxford on plagiarism. It’s mainly informational, but it does a great job of succinctly describing plagiarism, types of plagiarism, and how to avoid it. One more tool/example for teachers.

What Parents Need to Know About Plagiarism

Any teacher will tell you that it is a good idea to get parents working with you rather than against you as their child’s teacher. This post from the Washington Post explores what parents should know about plagiarism. This blog has explored a myriad of issues concerning student plagiarism–how to instruct about, how to help prevent or limit, how to deal with student cases, how to create temptation free classrooms, how to train fellow teachers, etc.–but how to help parents understand the issues hasn’t been covered. Please read the article and think about ways a teacher can help parents understand the gravity of plagiarism and how to help their student understand and avoid it in their work.

A Teacher Discusses How To Use Turnitin

Check out this great article on how a teacher uses turnitin to facilitate improved student writing. The article does a great job taking the reader through how to use turnitin. Turnitin is of course a writing tool not a solve all plagiarism checker.

*While I have been named a Turnitin Global Innovator Honorable Mention for my work in class and this site, I have no obligations financial or otherwise to speak highly of turnitin. I just find it’s a great tool as a teacher!

TurnItIn Announces New Tool that Combats “Contract Plagiarism”

Check out this post on Plagiarism Today. The post takes a look at a new tool coming for TurnItIn that goes after students purchasing papers from essay mills–quite a plague in academia today. According to the article, “Turnitin has announced that it is working with seven universities to create a new tool . . . Entitled Authorship Investigation  [which] aims to detect when a student’s writing changes drastically and help spot potential cases of contract cheating” (Plagiarism Today). This could make an extremely useful tool that much stronger. 

Harvard University Guide to Using Sources

Harvard has had its fair share of plagiarism cases (see Harvard Student Commits Plagiarism Loses Book Deal). In the last few years, the Harvard College Writing Program has focused on decreasing student plagiarism through student education. The Harvard Guide to Using Sources is the fruit of that effort. It is a one-stop website for tips on avoiding plagiarism, proper citation methods, using and evaluating sources, and many other helpful tips to use to avoid plagiarism.

Along with this great resource, they have developed two online quizzes that help students consider plagiarism scenarios. Quiz 1, Using Sources, Five Scenarios, helps students “work through examples based, in part, on real academic honesty cases. Upon [completion] of the tutorial, [the student] will be acquainted with the most common misunderstandings about academic integrity, and will know more about how to integrate sources responsibly into your writing” (Guide Website). Quiz 2, Using Sources, Five Examples, is “based on passages from real student essays, and illustrates problems with summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting sources. By taking the tutorial, [the student] will gain a deeper understanding of the most common forms of plagiarism and a solid sense of how to use sources effectively” (Guide Website).

At the beginning of each quiz, the student can enter an email address and have the results sent to that address. So, a teacher can request students email their results directly or require a screen shot of their results to ensure student completion.

This resources is a great resource for teachers who wish to introduce plagiarism issues to their students and then check understanding through the online quizzes.