Paying For Plagiarism

Paying For Plagiarism

One thing students and teachers both  have experience with is cheating.  As an English teacher and former administrator, I’ve had to handle my fair share of plagiarism.  Consequences typically range from receiving a zero to potential expulsion if it happens at the university level.  One web site, www.plagiarismadvice.org, is trying to ensure consistency and give universities a reference point if they are issuing consequences for plagiarism.

They have created a point system to help school officials decide what type of consequence is necessary for cheating.  For example, if a first-year student fails to cite part of their paper, they would score 280 points on the site, meaning they should receive a warning and a “zero” on the assignment.  Each scenario is awarded points then given potential consequences.

According to Inside Higher Education, universities will be able to compare the tariff against their own systems, which researchers hope will lead to greater consistency in the penalties applied at various universities.  One issue with such a system is that the main excuse for plagiarism is ignorance.  Students typically say, “I didn’t realize I was plagiarizing.”  Some schools have issued preemptive measures to ensure students are well aware of plagiarism prior to starting the school year.

A study released in January of 2010 showed that “a relatively short Web tutorial about academic integrity and plagiarism can have a significant impact on whether students plagiarize, with the greatest gains (for integrity) coming among student groups that are statistically more likely to plagiarize — which are those with lesser academic credentials.”

The lesson to be learned here for all educators is to be pro-active when it comes to educating students about plagiarism.  Once students are not able to claim plagiarism ignorance, it will be easier to issue consistent consequences.