Here’s a great site that includes all sorts of information (similar to this one!) for teachers. I especially like their videos. There’s lots to explore, but what I’ve found so far is that most the videos are for educators, specifically, how to educate students about plagiarism. Check it out and let me know what you think.

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 …../……./………..



A Review of Anti-Plagiarism Practices

It’s the start of another school year, and the fourth year of! My classes are up and going as I am sure many of yours are. At the start of the year, when things are getting crazy, it is easy to overlook the importance of establishing anti-plagiarism classrooms where academic integrity is a foundational principle. Take the time to do so! It will benefit you in the long run. Here’s a great website with a quick summary of some great practices you can implement in your classrooms:

My favorite tips (some of which I have seen for the first time) are these: Education World: Put an End to Plagiarism in Your Classrooms

  • Don’t simply assign a paper and wait for the final version. Set deadlines for research notes and bibliographies, for outlines, and for rough drafts. Check the work in progress
  • Explain to students that you will check any questionable sources or uncited material. Tell them to keep their notes and printed Web pages until they’ve received their final grades.
  • Require that students submit a signed “letter of transmittal” with their reports. In the letter, have them reflect on the research and writing process and explain what they learned.
  • Avoid assigning general topics for research papers. Papers geared toward narrow topics specific to your own curriculum are less likely to be available online. Make your assigned topics as interesting as possible, so students will be more likely to want to do the work themselves.

Check out the other tips on the website, and, good luck this year in establishing plagiarism-free classes!



School Plagiarism Policies

This week, I rewrote our school handbooks plagiarism policy. Rewriting the policy gave me some time to think about how to describe plagiarism, its consequences, and how to avoid it succinctly.  Below is the rewritten policy. What do you think can be improved upon? Does your school have a detailed plagiarism policy in the school handbook? If so, does it look like mine, or is it something different?


In 2010, a business professor at Rutgers University, Donald McCabe, completed a survey of 14,000 university students.  The students were asked if they had ever copied sentences into their papers from outside sources without giving credit to those sources. Forty percent of those students admitted to copying others work and claiming it as their own (  The survey, issued though the Center for Academic Integrity, matched other surveys given around the world that all revealed similar data. Cheating on papers is a rampant issue in schools.  This form of cheating, known as plagiarism, is a serious problem.

One of the worst decisions a student can make is the decision to plagiarize their homework, class work, or class assessments. At QSIS, students are taught that the act of plagiarism is an act with serious consequences.

Plagiarism is defined in Webster’s New World Dictionary as “[the stealing] or [passing off] as one’s own, the ideas, writings, etc. of another.” Plagiarism is academic dishonesty; it is cheating. Examples of plagiarism are, but are not limited to:

  • Copying specific ideas of an individual author or source; or copying large portions of exact words from any source without both giving proper citation and using quotation marks;
  • Paraphrasing (re-writing using different words) or summarizing (completely re-writing a passage or section) another person’s unique and non-common-knowledge ideas found in any source, without giving proper citation;
  • Downloading or purchasing papers, copying and pasting information from the Internet or electronic sources;
  • Cutting and pasting from any source without citation;
  • Intentionally making other people’s ideas appear to be your own by any means.”

According to researchers at Penn State University, plagiarism is wrong because “when you commit plagiarism, you hurt yourself and the community in the following ways: 1)You deny yourself the opportunity to learn and practice skills that may be needed in your future careers; 2) You invite teachers to question your integrity and performance in general; 3)You commit fraud on teachers who are evaluating your work; 4)You deprive another author due credit for his or her work; and, 5)You show disrespect for your peers who have done their own work” (see

Because all violations of Academic Integrity strike at the very core of the nature of the school, the response to plagiarism and cheating is extreme, including the possibility of redoing all outcomes of that course, failing the assignment and/or unit, becoming ineligible to participate in extra-curricular clubs and sports (e. g., Model United Nations, National Honor Society, Roots and Shoots, Student Council). If you are a Secondary 4 student, you may also be required to write a letter to universities explaining your actions.

Because there are different degrees of plagiarism, each act of plagiarism and the appropriate response to the act will be discussed with the teacher of the class, a member of the administration, and another faculty member. The student will then be notified by their teacher about the response. The act of plagiarism by the student will be kept on file for one year. Should the student commit further acts of plagiarism, the consequences will become more severe.

If you have any questions about plagiarism, helping your students avoid plagiarism, or plagiarism checking tools, please contact QSIS.