Tuesday, January 24, 2006

I am absolutely APPALLED.

Last week, I gave an extra-credit assignment: do research on a dead famous person, or rewrite a fairy tale. It was due today.

Eighteen students turned in a research/biography paper.

FIFTEEN of them were either directly plagiarized or copied NEARLY word for word (It's pretty clear when there are words like 'tenure' or 'assiduous' sprinkled in there, from kids that can hardly write a five-paragraph essay correctly).

I am utterly incensed and am trying to figure out how to punish the children adequately. This cheating came from all three of my classes, from smart children to the...less-high-achieving.

I will certainly give them no credit at all; I am thinking about actually lowering their grades.

Certainly I will bring this to the AP and Principal. This is completely unacceptable!

My dear colleagues: any experience with this? Any suggestions for powerful punishments? Please help.


Sj said...

I'm going to have to answer right away that I don't know what should be done.. I was faced with my students obviously cheating on a final exam in College. I let them finish the test though cause there were 2 different versions. As soon as the paper came in I marked it and the student failed horribly. Every question he had wrong was the right answer on the other student's page. Priceless. But I wonder..what would have happened if I found no errors. (It was my first time teaching and I was sure of what I would do but when it came ot it wasn't sure at where to draw the line..)

I'm with you in wanting to see what others answer about this one?

ms. frizzle said...

It's a problem with extra credit assignments... in my experience, you give an interesting assignment, but you don't provide as much support/structure as you normally would... they don't know how to do it, and while they want the extra credit, they don't see it as a "big" project... so they plagiarize or turn in crap. I would gather them all during lunchtime and just talk to them. Ask them how they went about doing the papers. Highlight the parts of their writing that clearly aren't theirs. And explain clearly why this is not going to result in extra credit.

Don't lower their grades. And be wary of really open-ended extra credit projects in the future.

Nancy said...

Sometimes, a lot of kids don't know they are plagiarizing. They think they are quoting. I would go over it with them, tell them they need to re-do and if it happens again, then the consquences will be swift and severe. Sometimes, its just a matter of education...they are just clueless and don't know.

Dr. G. said...

Well you have an opportunity to teach them something, that is, what it means to turn in your own work, and why turning in someone else's work is of no value to them. Using your mind to create something new expands the world's knowledge. Copying others work is lying and trying to inflate your own worth without creating anything new. I'd explain that in college the same stunt will get them expelled and in the working world it will get them fired. Plus, it is immoral, if that counts.

You asked about lurkers a few days back and I had nothing to say, but I do read pretty regularly. Keep up your good work. I like what you are doing, and what you say about it.

Anonymouph said...

Wow...I've been a little out of the blog loop for the last few days. Sorry I missed this one! Back when my class actually had access to the computers at school, this was a CONSTANT PROBLEM. I figured out that our kids are not only allowed but encouraged to plagiarize in other classes. Teachers get kudos from administration because kids are creating pamphlets and PowerPoints, but none of the information contained in them is actually the result of any thinking on the kids' parts. Instead, its the direct result of Copy and Paste. If I am ever able this semester to get my kids on some computers during the school-day (not looking likely at this point), I'm going to do an entire lesson on how NOT to plagiarize. They just don't even know that it's wrong. I'm not saying your kids are completely innocent in this matter, but if they're like my students, they're just following the expectations of a teacher before you who was less concerned about her kids doing any actual learning.

It's great that this concerns you and you're going to address it. Good luck, Jules!