Academic Honesty Policy

Fairfax County Schools encourage students to demonstrate the ability to work interdependently within groups to increase productivity and achieve common goals. Students should act responsibly and ethically. To develop academic honesty in all students, FCPS views cheating and plagiarizing as unacceptable behaviors that have moral and legal implications. Cheating is violating established rules and codes of ethics. Plagiarizing is falsely claiming authorship. Cheating and plagiarizing are serious offenses. 

I. Guidelines 

Teachers have the responsibility to: 

  1. Teach or review the correct use of sources and citations when assigning work. 
  2. Structure conditions during testing to alleviate the possibility of cheating. 
  3. Specify the types of collaboration that are discouraged and those that are encouraged. 

Students have the responsibility to: 

  1. Avoid situations that might contribute to cheating or plagiarizing. 
  2. Avoid unauthorized assistance. 
  3. Use sources in the prescribed manner. 
  4. Document borrowed materials by citing sources. 
  5. Avoid plagiarism by using quotation marks for statements taken from others, by acknowledging information and ideas borrowed from any source, and by consulting faculty members about questionable situation. 
  6. Avoid “cutting” and “pasting” from computer text without proper attribution. 

II. Implications 

Students who violate “the spirit or the letter of the law” as regards cheating, and plagiarizing must accept responsibility for their actions and the accompanying consequences. 

Consequences may include: 

  • A parent-student-administrator conference. 
  • A lowering of the grade or receiving an F for the assignment. 
  • An alternative assignment or recompletion of the original assignment. 

Academic Honesty Policy at Twain Middle School 

The Academic Honesty Policy is in place at Mark Twain Middle School (MTMS) to reinforce our mission, vision, and values. MTMS empowers all students to pursue the highest academic standards and engage in interdisciplinary learning by striving to exemplify the characteristics of the FCPS Portrait of a Graduate. We foster an environment where our students are able to embody the IB Learner Profile by becoming critical and creative thinkers who make ethical decisions in our global society. 

MTMS believes that all students can learn and be successful, given the appropriate supports, and that it is important to help students learn from their mistakes and failures. To be successful, MTMS feels it’s important to instill the value of academic honesty in our students and ensure that everyone understands their responsibilities and expectations from FCPS in the above section, as well as the additional responsibilities and expectations from MTMS below.

Teacher Responsibilities: 

  1. Be very clear and concise with students about what constitutes an academic honesty violation. 
  2. Ensure students understand when they it is okay for them to collaborate with others and when they must work on their own. a. Give instruction on legitimate partner and group collaboration – ensure students understand all involved must be contributing and working together. 
  3. Provide students with instruction about cheating and plagiarism throughout the school year, particularly when working on essays, projects, or assessments. 
    • Provide examples and scenarios for discussion. 
    • Provide students with the definitions provided by IBMYP literature for academic honesty, cheating, and plagiarism.
    • Academic Honesty – an authentic piece of work based on one’s original ideas and the work of others being fully acknowledged 
    • Cheating: 
      • Collusion – supporting another student in gaining an unfair advantage on assignment (i.e. allowing them to copy your work) 
      • Any behavior that gives a student an unfair advantage or affects the result of another student (i.e. using notes when not allowed, copying another student’s work, etc.) 
    • Plagiarism – representing the ideas and work of another person as your own; using the ideas or words of another person without properly citing them
      • Teachers will instruct students on the proper and acceptable way to cite research and other people’s ideas and words in their work (i.e. using footnotes, having a works cited page, using MLA format, using APA format, etc.) 

    4. Teach students the difference between summarizing and copying straight from the text. 

    5. Help students learn from their mistakes when an act of cheating or plagiarizing occurs. 

Student Responsibilities: 

  1. Ask staff for clarification if unsure whether an action would be cheating or plagiarizing in a certain situation. 
  2. Pay attention to and internalize all instruction from staff about plagiarizing, cheating, and academic honesty. 
  3. Notify a staff member if you become aware of a situation where cheating or plagiarizing has occurred. 

Administrator Responsibilities: 

  1. Support teachers in addressing academic honesty violations. 
  2. Support teachers with educating students about academic honesty. 
  3. Track student violations of cheating and plagiarism in order to identify trends and patterns that need to be addressed. 

Parent Responsibilities: 

  1. Support students in adhering to the MTMS Academic Honesty Policy. 
  2. Be familiar with the MTMS Academic Honesty Policy and what constitutes cheating and plagiarizing.

In the event that a student is suspected of violating the Academic Honesty Policy, he/she has the following rights throughout the situation: 

  1. The student has the right to explain his or her actions.

  2. The student has the right to have a parent, teacher, and/or administrator present when discussing the incident.

  3. The student has the right to ask for further clarification if unclear about why certain actions are considered cheating or plagiarism.

  4. The student has the right to demonstrate his/her knowledge and skills by completing the assignment without cheating or plagiarizing. 

If a student violates the Academic Honesty Policy and engages in an act of cheating or plagiarizing, the parent, student, school counselor, and administrator must be informed. In addition, the student may receive any of the following consequences: 

Student Consequences:

1st Offense:

  • Parental notification.
  • Teachers will conference with student about academic dishonesty.
  • Student will redo the assignment/assessment. The teacher will follow the guidelines in the class syllabus when awarding a grade to the assignment. The teacher has an option of assigning a grade of 0%.
  • Student will accept responsibility in a letter of apology to the teacher.
  • Student will receive a discipline referral for documentation.

2nd Offense:

  • Parental notification.
  • Student will receive a 0% on the assignment/assessment on which they cheated.
  • Student will accept responsibility in letter of apology to the teacher.
  • Student will meet with an administrator and sign a behavioral contract, effective for the remainder of the school year, which outlines the next level of consequences should the student violate the Honor Code a third time.
  • Student will be removed from any honor societies and/or class office for the remainder of the school year.
  • Student will receive a discipline referral for Administrative Detention.

3rd Offense:

  • Parental notification.
  • Student will receive a 0% on the assignment/assessment on which they cheated.
  • Student will accept responsibility in a letter of apology to the teacher.
  • Student will receive a discipline referral; serve a one day in-school suspension for cheating and for failing to comply with the behavioral contract
  • Further consequences for each offense will be determined in a case-by-case manner by the administrator – dependent on the disruption to the academic process and the student’s needs and history of academic honesty violations.  The goal in every situation is to ensure that the student is learning from his/her mistakes in an effort to maintain an environment that fosters growth, academic integrity, and the characteristics of the IB Learner Profile.

Each year, the Instructional Council will review the policy to ensure that it is still relevant and up-to-date, in accordance with IB, FCPS, and state guidelines. 

Academic Honesty Policy at Edison High School 

At Edison High School, as a part of the Fairfax County Public Schools community and the International Baccalaureate Program, students are expected to follow a set of values and skills that promote personal integrity and ethical behavior as outlined in Portrait of a Graduate. As part of developing the IB Learner Profile attribute of principled, Edison students will “act with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness and justice” (IBO). Edison High School fosters an environment where students, in their various academic contexts, “take responsibility for their actions and consequences” (IBO). 

Fairfax County Schools encourage students to demonstrate the ability to work interdependently within groups to increase productivity and achieve common goals. Students should act responsibly and ethically. To develop academic honesty in all students, FCPS views cheating and plagiarizing as unacceptable behaviors that have moral and legal implications. Cheating is violating established rules and codes of ethics. Plagiarizing is falsely claiming authorship. Cheating and plagiarizing are serious offenses. 

Academic Misconduct includes: 

  • Plagiarism 
  • Collusion 
  • duplication of work 
  • any other behavior

Education, support and guidance 

Edison High School will provide teachers with professional development concerning maintaining fairness and consistency when dealing with academic honesty. Edison High School will provide students with: 

  • Character education 
  • definitions of terms from IB Academic Honesty Guide, 
  • scenarios of academic honesty and dishonesty in class to promote discussion. 
  • Advisory period lessons understanding purpose, violations, consequences 

In addition, Edison High School will provide parents with information about expectations and consequences and examples of helpful and not helpful student support. 

Student, Parent, and Administrator Responsibilities 

Students will. . . 

  • Participate in school-wide academic honor code instruction 
  • Sign statement of compliance with the school-wide academic honor code policy 
  • Clarify his/her confusion regarding relevant classroom research practices (in-text citations, secondary source citations, etc.), and collaboration guidelines with teachers 
  • Collaborate with peers responsibly and fairly 
  • Submit formative and summative assessments that adhere to the honor code policy including avoiding study aids where prohibited, avoiding copying other student work, and avoiding permitting dishonest acts from peers 
  • Report observed cases of cheating 
  • Contribute to an honest academic environment: behave responsibly and honestly during assessments, avoid discussions/activities that give an unfair advantage to other students during or outside of class 

Teachers will. . .

  • Actively instruct, clarify and re-teach the use of research practices, as they apply to class assignments (gathering research, recording research, distinguishing between summarizing, paraphrasing and direct quoting, etc.) prior to submission of assessments 
  • Instruct, clarify and re-teach effective and honest practices regarding the access and use of varying modes of relevant information students access in the academic context 
  • Clarify consequences for violations of the honor code policy prior to submission of all summative assessments, or assessments which may have a significant impact on the student’s mark 
  • Use plagiarism checking software (such as Turnitin.com, SafeAssign.com) programs as part of the classroom procedures governing both formative and summative assessments 
  • Support, maintain, and monitor an atmosphere that adheres to the honor code policy during assessments in the classroom 
  • Adhere consistently to the procedures and consequences that the honor code policy outlines 
  • Provide opportunities for students to practice and learn how to use other people’s work in support of their own. 
  • Instruct students to be aware of honor code procedures and how to avoid misconduct. 

Parents/Guardians will. . . 

  • Support the school’s policy outside of school by discussing with student(s) activities and attitudes that adhere to the honor code policy 
  • Support the procedures and consequences of the honor code  
  • Ensure that the student(s) submit their own work 

Administrators will. . . 

  • Ensure that all faculty, students, and parents have knowledge of the EHS IB Academic Honesty Policy 
  • Create and sustain a school-wide environment that encourages adherence to and enforcement of the honor code policy 
  • Facilitate dialogue and reflections between students, parents, and teachers about the Academic Honesty Policy 
  • Enforce and follow up consistently with student(s) regarding honor code policy violations and administer Behavior Contracts where necessary 

Rights of the student and consequences 

Students Rights: 

  • A student has the right to seek counsel about aspects of academic dishonesty from a teacher, counselor, or administrator. 
  • A student has the right to receive credit/recognition for their own work. 
  • A student has the right to be in an environment free from collusion or behaviors that provide students unfair advantages over others. 
  • A student has the right to learn in a safe environment without fear that others have an unfair advantage. 
  • A student may ask for clarification when learning aids (web, cellphone, outlines, notes, etc.) can be used. 

Student Consequences: 

1st Offense: 

  • Parental notification. 
  • Teachers will conference with student about academic dishonesty. 
  • Student will redo the assignment/assessment. The teacher will follow the guidelines in the class syllabus when awarding a grade to the assignment. 
  • Student will accept responsibility in a letter of apology to the teacher. 
  • Student will receive a discipline referral. 

2nd Offense: 

  • Parental notification. 
  • Student will receive a 0% on the assignment/assessment on which he/she cheated. 
  • Student will accept responsibility in letter of apology to the teacher. 
  • Student will meet with an administrator and sign a behavioral contract, effective for the remainder of the school year, which outlines the next level of consequences should the student violate the Honor Code a third time. 
  • Student will meet with the IB coordinator for further counseling about remaining in IB should there be additional Honor Code violations. 
  • Student will be removed from any honor societies and/or class office for the remainder of the school year. 
  • Student will receive a discipline referral for Administrative Detention. 

3rd Offense: 

  • Parental notification. 
  • Student will receive a 0% on the assignment/assessment on which he/she cheated. 
  • Student will accept responsibility in a letter of apology to the teacher.
  • Student will receive a discipline referral; serve a one day in-house suspension for cheating and for failing to comply with the behavioral contract. 
  • Student offenses will be turned over to the IB coordinator for further consequences/counseling. Student may be removed from the IB Programme. 

The consequences for each offense will be determined in a case-by-case manner – dependent on the student’s needs and history of academic honesty violations. The goal in every situation is to ensure that the student is learning from his/her mistakes in an effort to maintain an environment that fosters growth, academic integrity, and the characteristics of the IB Learner Profile. 

Each year, a committee of instructional leaders will review the policy to ensure that it is still relevant and up-to-date, in accordance with IB, FCPS, and state guidelines. 

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