The Issue: A culture of academic dishonesty There have been several recorded incidents of students at the highest level

(IB Diploma for 16 to 18 year olds) not being awarded final grades due to academic dishonesty. This issue has also recently been raised in a range of year group and departmental meetings. This issue has been rippling through the informal channels of my educational community for several years. The school perspective:  Has the requirements of information literacy and the associated referencing skills embedded within the ATL skills of the MYP     Has identified academic honesty within the secondary school discipline policy Has clearly defined academic honesty and the components of plagiarism and collusion within the school handbook Promotes itself as being both high achieving and academically rigorous Academic honesty posters are placed in all year 12 and 13 homerooms and study areas

From the teacher perspective:  Openly suspect that levels allocated do not accurately reflect certain students’ abilities    Teachers who have identified academic honesty issues have not seen the existing disciplinary policy enforced consistently Many different in-class strategies have been developed to combat this issue A fragmented timetable with parallel classes makes common assessment testing impossible

Parent perspective:  Some parents’ cultural and/or educational backgrounds do not see academic honesty as an issue of concern   Parents expect unrealistically high grades based simply on the fact that their child attending a ‘prestigious’ school Additional tutors are paid to guarantee student success

Student perspective:  For the most part they do not comprehend the moral weight of the issue     Feel that being caught does not impact their integrity Are aware of other students who have succeeded through dishonest methods so they feel that it is acceptable High school students are aware of peers no gaining an IB diploma due to issues of academic dishonesty Tools to support academic dishonesty (tutors/ internet/ organizational knowledge e.g. past papers) are readily available

The different, and often mutually exclusive, perspectives on academic honesty quite possibly explain why this issue continues to exist even though some efforts have been made to combat it. For this reason, we must consider all stakeholders’ in order to move forward in developing a shared understanding of the issue. Only then will any changes proposed stick to reflect a true cultural shift. It is important that there be an opportunity for all teachers to voice their opinions on an issue through a shared forum (this could be on-line) and to potentially get involved with a future academic honesty work group. This also provides an opportunity to raise awareness of and highlight the urgency of the issue. Although not an issue which all teachers will have time to be more greatly involved in, yet it is vital that a truly representative core team is formed with a remit to further consider this issue and develop school wide solution strategies. Although members of the team may feel they have a full understanding of the issue, and may even have their own class developed solutions, it is important that time is taken to identify the underlying elements of this issue by utilizing the iceberg model. This also provides an opportunity for clarification of shared terms and opinions. Input from student council members and potentially from a parent sub-group (in my school this is a group called NIPTA, the NIST International Parent Teacher Association). Once the issue has been fully explored the team can further research and develop strategies to support each of the stakeholders. The next stage of this change requires the clear communication of the issue to the stakeholders to provide suitable buy in of any newly suggested strategies. For teachers, a staff meeting would provide a suitable forum to highlight the benefits for teachers and include best-practice suggestions of in class strategies and evidence that the school is also making changes to support these changes. Parents can have the issue explained within one of the regular NIST Learning Community Seminars. The most important communication will be to the students. Here it is vital to recognize the differences of the issue between middle and high school students but also to install skills that are transferable. Year groups can be educated (preferably with active moral dilemma style scenarios) on the issue. This will then be constantly and consistently consolidated though teacher actions and expectations. It is important that a process for monitoring change is identified. Change could be tracked though such indicators; as numbers of continued offenders or the number of teachers using on-line academic honesty detection programs e.g. This monitoring also provides a tool to continue to highlight the importance of the changes and to identify late adopters who need additional support. The creation of a new changed culture would be represented by a fuller understanding of the issues of academic honesty, where strategies to encourage a positive and proactive approach are utilized by all stakeholders. Crucially students will feel more empowered to express themselves and less students will be required to use academically dishonest methods. It is important all changes are justly evaluated by sub-groups from each stakeholder to identify what positive changes have occurred and what further issues or additional changes need to be considered.

Assessment of Learning – Summative Assessment EDL 607 – Site Based Leadership Neil Commons
Academic Honesty Action Plan Goals Action Strategies Supporting evidence of achievement or of progress towards achievement of the goal Correlation of collected evidence Academic Honesty (AH) team meetings arranged Completed iceberg model Completed iceberg model Completed iceberg model Completed article prompt sheets Expected date of action completion Person/ Group responsible for achieving the goal Neil Commons (NCo) NCo

Gather opinions Form a working party

Create an on-line questionnaire Provide sign-up opportunity Subject of AH team meeting Subject of NIPTA sub-group discussion Subject of house representative meeting discussion Independent research and feedback of AH team member AH team meeting outcomes Secondary staff meeting time Before start of academic year staff meeting Academic honesty NCLS Year level meeting with academic honesty theme (A4 or F4) Tracking numbers of academic honesty issues recorded/ use of Small stakeholder meeting to identify and reflect on change

End of October 2012 Mid November 2012 End of November 2012 End of January 2013 End of January 2013 End of February 2013

Identifying underlying elements – teachers/ school Identifying underlying elements - parents Identifying underlying elements - students Research issue

AH Team

SMT/ AH Team

Student leadership coordinator AH Team

Develop strategies Communicate to teachers Re-communicate to teachers Communicate to parents Initial communication to students

Explicit strategies for stakeholders Teachers making use of developed strategies New teachers are introduced and others reminded to strategies Meeting complete with additional support information available All year levels

End of April 2013 End of May 2013 (Year 13 students
have departed so lighter teaching loads)

AH Team AH Team

Early August 2013 End of August 2013 End of August 2013 AH Team/ SMT

Year level coordinators

Monitoring related indicators

Academic honesty issues reduce/ use increases Collation of meeting outcomes

End of November 2013


Evaluate change

End of November 2013


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