plagiarism question?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education Archives' started by irisheyes, Aug 24, 2006.

  1. irisheyes

    irisheyes Rookie

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    Aug 24, 2006

    I'm going to be assigning a research paper this year and wondered what is the best way to deal with plagarism.

    My last experience I ran into trouble with the students because although I had the rules in writing in a handout and even had the students read it out loud, the notice against plagarising on the board, and me reminding them again before they turned in their papers, there were still students who did it anyway. When I flunked them, I had parents calling, the principal called me in for a "chat", and I went home frustrated and angry. The students used the internet and either didn't want to give the credit, didn't know how, or didn't want to admit that 90% of the paper was from works of someone else.

    Do I give them an option to make corrections? Do I not give them a zero but instead give them a 50% for writing the paper? Need some help here. This is my second year and I want to have a better year than last. No, I don't have a mentor this year and none last year. Thanks for your help.

    Sorry for the grammatical mistakes, but I'm talking like I write. Too much stress to grade my own work. LOL:)
     
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  3. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Aug 24, 2006

    Plagiarism is stealing. The same kind of stealing as taking money out of a register till is stealing. Write out a definition of plagiarism, explain what will happen if someone tries it, and make each student sign it. Make copies to give to any parent who tries to rationalize it, although any parent who would support stealing of any kind is a pretty poor parent. At least this way, the students can't plead ignorance.

    Plagiarism is one of my biggest problems at the college level. You might also inform your students that in college, we expel people for plagiarism. And nothing Mommy or Daddy can say will make one whit of difference.

    Yes, even those "innocent" little thangs whut didn't know no better.

    Because, you know, they DO know better and they know it at a much younger age than many people realize.

    Grrrrr, I loathe people who plagiarize ALMOST as much as I loathe parents who defend a cheating, rotten child.
     
  4. miss_elphie

    miss_elphie New Member

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    Aug 24, 2006

    plagiarism response

    Hey,
    My advice is to take the time to teach students what it means to cite and practice it with them. If they still don't cite in their final drafts, I would (if we're talking middle school) give them a day or two to resubmit with corrections. If this is high school, I think you are right to give them an F for that paper, especially after you've specifically taught them the skill.
    I am also starting my second year teaching. Good luck to both of us!
     
  5. irisheyes

    irisheyes Rookie

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    Aug 24, 2006

    When I failed one student in my first year, I had a parent come to conference and ask if the student could redo his paper with the material in question notated correctly. I told him I would allow this, but the student would have to take at the very best a full letter grade down from what he would've received. I told him the student was fully aware of what he was doing (he was in an honors 11th grade class private school). The student also had to write me an essay on the reasons why plagarism was wrong for no grade and an apology for his actions. I often wondered if this was the right thing to do. I understand we shouldn't dissuade real learning and I'd like to feel this student did learn a very valuable lesson for his future work in college.

    The principal really questioned how I taught the plagarism issue. When I told him, he still wanted to believe I somehow missed something. (I had very little administrative support). At the time I was there at this school, I found out much later, didn't enforce any discipline. If a parent complained, the teacher would be in the wrong.

    As a side note and a true story, I had another student fail on his own--no work, missed classes, failed tests. At the semester grades, I failed him. The principal called me in his office to question my grades on a couple of students, this one in particular. I explained to him how he earned his own grade-F. He pointed to the grade I had written and told me to really rething that grade. When I tried to explain this student didn't do anything, he again told me to rethink the grade. So I did--changed it to a D. I lost a lot of respect for the principal that day (this was before the research paper incident btw).

    I learned just recently that during the time I was there or the year before 26 teachers left this school. I also left after that year and took a sabatical, blaming myself for the bad year I had. Now I realize it was me in that it was my first year and I made first year mistakes, but the bulk of it wasn't me after all. Sorry this so long, but I needed to vent.
     
  6. wunderwhy

    wunderwhy Comrade

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    Aug 24, 2006

    I'm sorry to hear that your school isn't upholding high standards of academic integrity. Am I right that you are at a different school now?

    At my school plagiarism is an honor code violation. Plagiarism on the research paper results in an automatic three day suspension. I too make it very, very clear what plagiarism is. I include it on my expectations sheet which parents must sign at the beginning of the year. One time a mother claimed that her son didn't know what it was, and I said, "But both you and he signed a paper saying that you did know what it was on September 4th." That shut her up.

    I use my judgment as to whether or not to turn a student in, give a full zero or partial credit, or give a second chance. I had an honors student break my heart last year because about one half of her paper was adapted from two websites, and there was nothing clearer in the world than my stance on plagiarism. She had never missed a day of school and then had to serve a suspension. She also received a zero on the biggest assignment of the year. I felt sorry for her because I know that her motivation was anxiety over doing well (this was her only honors class, and she often stayed late asking me if she was doing the work correctly), but I had made plagiarism crystal clear.

    Another thing you can do is make correctly citing sources a big chunk of the grade. That way if the administration is unsupportive, you can at least give zero credit for that part.
     
  7. Music Doc

    Music Doc Habitué

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    Aug 24, 2006

    Plagiarism is also part of our honor code at school. You cheat, you get caught, you fail.
     
  8. Ann2006

    Ann2006 Cohort

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    Aug 24, 2006

    At my new school, plagiarism = failing. It's clearly stated in our school's handbook and on the student/parent/teacher compact they sign.
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Aug 25, 2006

    Any paper I've ever given has been math, so it's fairly easy to pick out plagiarism:

    I have the child meet me after school. I give him his paper, ask him to re-read the passages in question, one at a time, then paraphrase them.

    I've never had a kid able to do it, or a parent follow up afterwards.

    I can see how it would be a whole lot harder in other subjects though!
     
  10. wunderwhy

    wunderwhy Comrade

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    Aug 25, 2006

    Another idea . . . make your assignments difficult to plagiarize directly. I came up with a rather ambitious research paper topic last year, and although it was more history related than English related, it required that each student answer the same question with his or her own topic. As far as I know, there wasn't anything else out there on the internet exactly like it, so students couldn't plagiarize too well.

    That said, last night I found a website where maybe three students from my school were posting homework assignments for other students to use. I found two from my class, both of which where just exercises to get them to think and were only graded for credit. How disappointing! So no matter how hard we try, there will always be the temptation and attempt to cheat.

    Am I correct that you have changed schools since last year? If so, I hope that the new administration will be more strict about plagiarism. That's their job. And then yours is to determine how egregious the instance of it is and mete out the consequences you see fit.
     
  11. english9teach

    english9teach Rookie

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    When working with seniors for their Senior Research Project last year, I had a PowerPoint presentation that covered how the paper was graded, my expectation and plagarism. In the PowerPoint, I gave examples and showed the students how to cite a source. I made it a VERY BIG DEAL. I told my students on several occasions that I would be "Googling" thier work. I still got plagarized work, but when I gave them their grades I didn't hear a word.
     
  12. Cole

    Cole Companion

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    Aug 25, 2006

    We send a notice home just before the research paper is done to outline the dates things are due, and to tell the parents that plagarism will be an automatic zero.

    we send 2 copies home...one to be kept at home and one to be signed and returned.

    that way if someone throws a fit, we have the signature saying they knew the consequences.
     
  13. Teacher 218

    Teacher 218 Rookie

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    I teach the senior research paper as well. Plagiarism is in the school code of conduct, so when I have caught kids in the past, the principals have supported me 100%. Some kids don't seem to really know how to take notes without copying, so the first thing I do is teach paraphrase and summarize. I also teach them that when they take notes, they should read the piece as many times as they need to, and then write down the things that they remember as important. Then they can go back and get any quotes that are just too good to pass up. It seems every year, though, I find more Plagiarism. They don't realize that it's easy for me to find it. The Internet is both a blessing and a curse.
     
  14. lisap

    lisap Companion

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    Good suggestions. I have a few to add:

    1. teach what plagiarism is
    2. identify the consequence (being that it is in the handbook isn't enough, it needs to be discussed, even signed off on by parent like one suggestion.)
    3. Do a practice lesson:
    - find a source (funny or serious)
    - have students highlight a pre selected section with you
    - show them two versions, one that is plagiarized, the other with appropriate documentation or paraphrasing.
    4. Have students practice doing their own paraphrasing and documentation
    5. I would also recommend having spaced out deadlines for each step of the research process
     
  15. mrsnoble116

    mrsnoble116 Companion

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    Aug 27, 2006

    teach them how to cite and why you should cite. Maybe you can take a paper one of them wrote, and take credit for it. Talk to the person ahead of time and make a class skit out of it.

    I use this http://citationmachine.net/?g=4 for personal use, maybe you can show the kids.
     
  16. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    I skimmed through this thread, and I don't think I saw the suggestion I will offer (if it's there, sorry). A tip that I picked up has been to require students to do their initial research and make notes in point form only. From there, they are to construct their own sentences and write ups and they have not choice but for it to be all their own since you had to approve the point form notes and if they hand that in with their final product, you can compare them to make sure it's consistent. Of course, they shoud still cite where they got the info in addition to this, but it's a pretty good strategey to help prevent plagiarism.
     
  17. ArtTeacher13

    ArtTeacher13 Rookie

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    Aug 28, 2006

    My gf teaches 10th grade English, and does research papers with her students. Her school has the students all submit their papers through a website called turnitin .com . With turnitin.com she can automatically see what percentage of the paper was plagiarized from online sources, and what the sources are. She gives each class a demonstration of the website and how well it picks up the plagiarism, and it really cuts down on the amount of copying she sees.
     

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