Academic Honesty & Integrity

I was interested to read this recent article, that talks of how the research and analysis by turnitin (we use this software for our IB Diploma programme) reveals changes in the way that cheating and plagiarism is happening:

Eschoolnews article

Like many of the bad things that people may get tempted to do to themselves, there are two levels at which you can deal with them. Here, turnitin is a response to the symptoms. An attempt to police the world of plagiarism, to set up a deterrent that will keep some students away from it and to catch other offenders. However, you can also think in terms of the symptoms and causes and what might be done to alleviate them.

When one considers the terrible price to be paid from academic dishonesty – the ignominy and shame if you get caught, the diminished self respect if you get away with it – there have to be some pretty deep reasons why young people would still take the risks. Somewhere, I can’t help finding a connection with the ‘irrelevance’ in large parts of what children are learning, the fact that the connections have not adequately been made for them between exercising academic rigour in learning and future success in a knowledge driven world.

Thus, we may always have no choice but to ‘punish’ the perpetrator when we catch them as a deterrent to others who could be tempted, but at the same time we do need to acknowledge that some of the blame lies with ‘the system’ and we must continue to work towards a system in which no student would feel the need to use unfair means.

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One Response

  1. Yes, working on the symptoms and causes is prime-most in tackling this issue of plagiarism. At an early age, driven by the fear and pressure surrounding any test, be it academic or non-academic, children do try and take the easy way out. By “punishing” the wrong-doers, we are simply replacing one fear with another.
    As a college student, I was shocked to see how easy it was for the students to copy and cheat without a pang of guilt. Those who didn’t do it become outcasts and were even ridiculed for their “saintly” behaviour.
    I don’t know how it starts, but I guess it stems from the focus on gaining marks rather than gaining knowledge. If only children were taught to focus on learning more, rather than worrying about who got that perfect 10. . .

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