Social Studies Department Academic Integrity Statement

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Hunter College High School Social Studies Department Statement on Academic Integrity
Revised September 2014
Teaching students to be honest, conscientious and responsible scholars is a fundamental goal of
the Social Studies Department. We ask students to subscribe to the values of the broader
academic community, and require them to follow the codes of conduct established by the
department and the school.
Genuine scholars prize learning for its own sake. They can take pride in work that is completed
due to their own honest effort. By following academic rules they legitimately earn the trust of
their teachers and their fellow students. Academic inquiry is furthered by adherence to these
rules.
Genuine scholars realize that dishonest acts are corrosive because they undermine relations
between teachers and students, unfairly penalize honest efforts, and encourage more unethical
behavior. Failing to follow academic rules is risky behavior that can result in significant penalties
and damage to a student’s reputation.
All work that is completed by a student should be the product his or her own efforts. It is
unacceptable for a student to copy the work of others, to misrepresent the work of others as
his or her own, or to act dishonestly in completing a test or written assessment.
Exams
Exams are designed to assess and further student learning. They provide information about
what has been learned by a class, and which students need support. Cheating on an exam or
sharing information about questions invalidates it as an effective instrument, and unfairly
disadvantages other students.
A student will be acting unethically if he or she
 uses or has access to notes or any electronic devices during exams.
 looks at another student’s answers during an exam.
 helps another student to cheat during an exam.
 shares or accepts information about questions from students in another class.
A student who cheats on an exam or helps another student cheat will receive a “zero” on the
assessment and will be subject to school disciplinary action.
Homework assignments
Written responses and note-taking assignments are designed to prepare students for the next
day’s lesson and teach writing skills. Copying written work or notes is prohibited. A student
who has copied his or her work will receive a “zero” on the assignment. A student who has
allowed his or her work to be copied will also receive a “zero.”
When may students work together?
Please be attentive to your teacher’s guidance on this question when he or she gives an
assignment.
Your teachers will often ask you to collaborate in completing an assignment. In class, you may
be asked to work in groups to develop ideas, answer questions, and analyze documents. Your
teacher may ask you to work together at home on assignments or may ask you to review a
peer’s research paper. You may go to the Writing Center to get help from another student with
a writing assignment or research paper.
It is also acceptable, and often fruitful, for students to work together and discuss assigned
reading material, or to study together in preparation for an exam. If a student does not
understand material or a specific assignment, it is appropriate for a student to ask a classmate
for help in understanding the material or the questions posed by a teacher.
But it is counterproductive to student learning and unacceptable for one student to give
another his or her written assignment for the second student to copy or paraphrase.
It is also not recommended that students depend upon study guides created by one or a few
individuals. When students do this they are avoiding the type of studying that would be most
effective, and gambling on the judgment, knowledge, and expertise others.
Plagiarism
Teaching students how to research and write a scholarly paper is one of the primary aims of the
Social Studies curriculum. Essential to that project is training students to frame an academic
argument, with evidence, in their own words. It is critical that, in completing such an
assignment, students carefully document what they owe to the authors whose work they read.
The Latin word “plagiare” means “to steal.” Plagiarism can include the theft of the labor, ideas,
and language of scholars. It may be the result of purposeful deception or of sloppy efforts
during the research and writing process.
A student who has been found to have plagiarized all or part of his or her research paper will
receive a “zero” on the assignment. He or she risks failing the course, and will be subject to
school disciplinary action.
According to the American Historical Association’s Statement on Standards of Professional
Conduct, plagiarism is “the expropriation of another’s work, and the presentation of it as one’s
own … Plagiarism can also include the limited borrowing, without sufficient attribution, of
another person’s distinct and significant research findings or interpretations ... Plagiarism takes
many forms. The clearest abuse is the use of another’s language without quotation marks and
citation. More subtle abuses include the appropriation of concepts, data, or notes, all disguised
in newly crafted sentences … Borrowing unexamined primary source references from a
secondary work without citing that work is likewise inappropriate. All such tactics reflect an
unworthy disregard of the contribution of others.”1
Any piece of information and any idea in your paper that is not common knowledge should be
footnoted. Your teacher should be able to trace any material in your essay back to its source.
It is vital that the writing presented in a paper is the student’s and that it reflects the integration of
material from multiple sources. Copying another author’s language without quotation is plagiarism.
It is also not acceptable to make use of the organization and language of a text and to simply
change a word or phrase here and there. A person who did that would still be stealing (taking
language and ideas that an author has worked for years to prepare) and misrepresenting his or her
work (or lack of work).
Footnote or endnote citations must be accurate. If they are not correct, the student has
misrepresented the origin of the information or ideas in the paper. This puts the credibility of
the whole paper and the author in doubt. In such a situation, it will be impossible for an
instructor to distinguish between merely sloppy work and premeditated deception.
In order to avoid plagiarizing, students should be extremely careful in their note-taking and
paraphrasing of material from their sources. All Hunter students have a copy of A Pocket Guide
to Writing in History by Mary Lynn Rampolla. Chapter six of that text provides further guidance
about different types of plagiarism and how students may avoid it.
1
American Historical Association. Statement on Standards of Professional Conduct. (Washington, DC: American
Historical Association, 2011), 16-17, accessed September 1, 2014,
http://www.historians.org/Documents/Statement-on-Standards-2011_FINAL.pdf
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