Cheating and Plagiarism Policy
(Date this policy was last reviewed: April 2017)
Deliberate cheating or plagiarism is seen in a serious light. It is part of the education process to ensure that learners understand the ethical implications of plagiarism and cheating. It is also important to educate learners regarding the implications of deliberate dishonesty within the framework of the school’s Christian ethos.
Plagiarism can be defined as submitting work that contains contents developed by someone else as if it was developed by yourself, i.e. not giving proper acknowledgement to sources. This could include close paraphrasing and the use of images. The term is usually used in the context of tasks and projects and could happen due to negligence or be accidental.
Cheating also entails submitting work of another person as if it is your own. This term is generally associated with tests and exams and is unlikely to happen by accident or due to negligence.
EDUCATING REGARDING PLAGIARISM AND CHEATING
It is the responsibility of the school to educate learners in order to prevent plagiarism and cheating. As such, the following measures are in place:
- Information on plagiarism and proper referencing techniques in Grade 8 and Grade 9 (Life Orientation teacher)
- Talk by Grade Head in Grade 8 and Grade 9 on plagiarism and cheating
- Reminder of plagiarism and referencing techniques every time a project or task is issued (by teacher of that learning area)
- Reminder of seriousness of cheating and consequences before each test and exam
Should the school fail to properly enforce one of the above strategies, learners will still be liable for their actions, particularly relating to cheating in tests or exams.
CHEATING IN OFFICIAL TESTS AND EXAMS
Cheating in official tests or exams includes any action, regardless of whether it was successful, to help another learner or obtain help from another learner or source. Note that a deliberate action to help another learner is thus also considered cheating.
This transgression is seen in a serious light and will be dealt with on a disciplinary level by the Grade Head. The Grade Head will inform the parents or guardians of the learner and also inform the headmaster.
Where it is beyond any doubt that a learner cheated in a test or exam, the learner will receive zero marks for that particular test or exam or for the section in which the cheating occurred. Parents or guardians should be informed as soon as possible and this must be reflected on the learner’s report. Teachers should still mark the paper and give zero marks for the sections affected by the cheating of the learner. This mark should also be kept on record as it may be used to calculate a learner’s year mark. This will be decided on in consultation with the headmaster as the school recognises that there are different levels of seriousness when it comes to cheating.
If a learner accidently sees work of another learner during a test, or realises that he has a source of information with him, the learner should report this to the invigilator immediately. The invigilator should make a note of what was reported to him or her on the question paper of the learner.
PLAGIARISM IN PROJECTS OR TASKS
The school recognises that there are different levels of seriousness when it comes to plagiarism. On the one extreme, whole sections of content could be copied from the internet and submitted as if it is the learner’s own work. On the other extreme, a learner may accidently fail to recognise a source for an image used. This spectrum of transgressions has to be taken into account.
If it is clear that a learner has deliberately plagiarised large chunks of work, the learner may receive zero marks for the entire project. Teachers should also mark the project and only give zero marks for the affected content and keep record of this mark for possible use in the compilation of the year mark.
Learners may be granted an opportunity to re-do the project, but can only obtain a maximum of 60% for a project that had to be redone.
When setting up marking rubrics, teachers should include marks for proper referencing techniques used. Should a learner fail to use proper referencing techniques, but is not deliberately plagiarising, he will forfeit only the marks on the rubric. Learners may also be penalised in other parts of the rubric, e.g. for “scientific correctness of report” should the teacher deem it necessary.
Teachers are required to be fair and consistent when it comes to penalising for plagiarism. Where uncertain, teachers need to consult with colleagues to arrive at the best possible answer.