Academic Honesty

As we know one of the issues which should be taught at school is academic honesty. As a research based school, we encourage our students to expand their knowledge by doing research related to the topics of the books especially in science and individuals and societies. The students get acquainted with the concept of ownership of work, citation, reference, plagiarism and academic honesty and also the importance of properly conducted research and a respect for the integrity of all forms of student work in the MYP. Students learn key ATL skills such as paraphrasing instead of simply copying a passage and substituting a few words with their own and then regard this as their own authentic work. Furthermore, SIS raises students’ consciousness of well constructed collaboration which deter collusion.

SIS school encourages academic honesty by:

• discussing appropriate help regularly with parents

• Ensuring parents and learners understanding of the meaning of the learner profile value of academic honesty

• making clear what will happen if submitted work is not the learner’s work.

Teachers encourage honest, creative, critical work by:

• creating inquiry-based assessment tasks: a request to “Write about Mars” can seem to be an invitation to copy from sites like Wikipedia but creativity is encouraged by tasks that use information to solve a problem such as “Suppose you were organizing tourism to Mars, what would you need to find out and how would you market etc…”

• designing assessment criteria that value and reward the work required, rather than only the result

• Teaching ways to acknowledge others: learners can learn to use quotation marks to mark others’ words or describe what help was useful and why


• Teaching reflection on the learning process: reflective writing about sources as in “When I read about xxx, I thought….” values learners’ hard work rather than stressing formal citation or demonizing copying.

• tracking the use of resources and others’ work and by applying their developing approaches to learning skills

• using appropriate ways to signal use of sources: acknowledgment is likely to be informal and general, for example, “I agree with what it says in [names book] about …”. Use of bibliographies, quotation marks and reflective commentaries on others’ work are likely to develop in complexity during the course of the program.

According to IB, a safe and encouraging learning environment in which students can explore ideas and make visible the development of their own thinking will support academically honest behaviors and help to instill the values and principles that lie behind such behaviors. The attributes of the learner profile are important in nurturing such an environment. This guide will support schools, teachers and parents in providing such a learning environment and in helping students of all ages be academically honest in all their studies. Academic honesty is part of being “principled”, a learner profile attribute where learners strive to “act with integrity and honesty” as we question, inquire and act (IB learner profile in review: Report and recommendation (April 2013), page 21).

The relationship between the teacher, student achievement and the learning process is a critical part of the MYP, so it is natural to develop academic honesty in positive ways that stress respecting the honesty of all student work and recognizing the shared benefits of properly conducted academic research.

MYP approaches to learning skills are particularly relevant to academic honesty given the clear links to students’ developing competencies in self-management, research and communication. In some MYP subject groups (as well as MYP projects); students are introduced to the importance of the process journal as a tool that promotes academic honesty. Both the personal project and the community project require students and supervisors to note their meeting dates and the main points discussed, and to declare the academic honesty of their work. SIS teachers are responsible for guiding and supporting students in the development of academic honesty in ways that prepare them for further study. As students gain experience in the MYP, they can develop the understanding and behaviors necessary to avoid pitfalls in formal high-stakes assessments as well as externally assessed coursework and culminating projects.

Students may sometimes be tempted to plagiarize work because they are unable to cope with the task that has been set for them. They may recognize content that is relevant but may not be able to paraphrase or summarize, for example. To promote the development of conceptual understanding in students, SIS teachers take responsibility to set meaningful tasks that can be completed either independently or with the appropriate amount of scaffolding. Making the process of inquiry visible should be integral to all teaching and learning in IB programs.

Learners often assume it is acceptable to copy others’ work without acknowledgment, perhaps stitching together chunks of others’ (unacknowledged) texts into a more or less coherent whole. Many see no problem with relying on the help of parents or fellow learners. As they develop their own writing skills, IB writers often think that changing a few words transforms someone else’s text into “my own work”. All of these are examples of plagiarism but most are not deliberately dishonest. It takes time to grasp that an acceptable paraphrase, for example, must restate the ideas and show that the writer has understood what the original author has written. Learning to master this complex task requires practice and a study of examples. The link between using others’ work and demonstrating individual achievement, and the ease, speed and mind-boggling reach of technology mean that IB World Schools need to take care that learners do not use plagiarism and/or collusion with fellow learners in order to bypass the hard work of learning. They also need to prevent learners from doing so to gain unfair advantage.

According to The American-based Centre of Academic Integrity plagiarism occurs when someone uses words, ideas, or work products attributable to another identifiable person or source: - the representation


•Without attributing the work to the source from which it was obtained


• In a situation in which there is a legitimate expectation of original authorship


• In order to obtain some benefit, credit, or gain. (Fishman 2010)


For most MYP assessments, students are expected to work independently but with appropriate support from teachers and other adults, although there are many occasions when collaboration with other students is an important part of the learning process.

Academic misconduct includes:

Plagiarism: the representation, intentionally or unwittingly, of the ideas, words or work of another person without proper, clear and explicit acknowledgment

Collusion: supporting academic misconduct by another student, as in allowing one’s work to be copied or submitted for assessment by another

Duplication of work: the presentation of the same work for different assessment components any other behavior that gives an unfair advantage to a student or that affects the results of another student (falsifying data, misconduct during an examination, creating spurious reflections).



The same can be said about involving learners in actively considering how others’ ideas contribute to their own understanding. It is plagiarism if writers do not show where they have used identified sources of ideas and words; it is not plagiarism if the learner has his or her own ideas about something and did not realize that others have had similar ideas in the past. That is a learning issue.

Academic honesty is a fundamental and important value for IB programs and it is central to a constructivist-learning approach. Across all IB programs, at all levels, students must be creative, independent and principled learners and they must show they are working in this manner in explicit and transparent ways. However, responsibility for the integrity of their conduct, and especially for avoiding collusion and plagiarism, cannot rest with individual learners. Since misunderstanding of plagiarism is widespread and opportunities for finding and using others’ work in ways that breach IB values are now greater than in the past, there is a need for explicit attention to requiring and supporting honest academic work. Interventions and activities in this position stress awareness, being explicit about expectations, developing students’ skills, providing opportunities for discussion, and providing detailed guidance to learners where formal citation is expected. Overall, learners, teachers and schools as a whole share responsibility to ensure that actions are integrated and consistent.

SIS expects the students to meet the academic honesty expectations of the IB. All students should know that the breaches are considered serious. Deliberate cheating must, of course, be managed but so too should breaches caused by misunderstanding as they undermine the accreditation of learning. Schools apply penalties that reflect the learner’s developing understanding of how to use others’ work. If the student’s breach is intentional, he/she will face the consequences of the action by the rejection of his/her term project.

How to avoid plagiarism

• Credit all the sources you use, even if you have paraphrased or summarized.

• Clearly distinguish between your work and the source being used (using quotation marks, indentation or a similar method).

• Use a style of referencing that is appropriate for the subject. (Ex using systems such as MLA)

Style guides in common use in the academic world include the following.

  • MLA (Modern Language Association)
  • APA (American Psychological Association)
  • Harvard
  • Chicago/ Turabian
  • CSE (Council of Science Editors)
  • ISO 690 (International Organization for Standardization