Academic Honesty Policy

Being “principled” is a key attribute in the IB Learner Profile where learners strive to “act with integrity and honesty” (IB Learner Profile). Being principled is a key component of exercising academic honesty. Academic honesty is defined by the IB as “A set of values and skills that promote personal integrity and good practices in teaching, learning, and assessment.” At Mechanicsville High School, all IB stakeholders support this ideal wholeheartedly and strive to instill and reinforce the qualities of honesty, integrity and ethical practice in our students and staff members.

It should be the goal of each IB student and teacher to promote and model academic honesty, create authentic work and acknowledge the words, thoughts, and contributions of others whenever necessary. We understand that students come to us with varying prior knowledge regarding what is considered malpractice, so it becomes the job of the IB stakeholders to communicate and model ethical practice for students and reinforce the expectations related to academic honesty.

The purpose of this document is to define academic malpractice, to identify the roles of students, parents/guardians, teachers and the school, and to outline the consequences of malpractice.

Academic malpractice is defined by the IB as behaviors that may result in a student gaining an unfair advantage over another student in an assessment component to include class assignments and formal IB assessments. Formal IB assessments include internal assessments and external assessments (written sssignments, the extended essay, TOK papers, and written exams. Examples of academic malpractice outlined in the document Academic Honesty (IBO) will be clearly defined for and communicated to students each year, beginning in ninth grade, and include:

  • Plagiarism: the representation, intentionally or unwittingly, of the ideas, words or work of another person without proper, clear and explicit acknowledgment in the form of appropriate citation.

  • Collusion: supporting malpractice by another candidate (allowing work to be copied or completing work and submitting it for another student)

  • Duplication of work: this is defined as the presentation of the same work for different assessment components and/or diploma requirements.

  • Other behaviors that result in a student gaining an unfair advantage or affect the result of another candidate which may include:

    • copying student work at any time

    • fabricating data

    • possession of unauthorized material of any kind during classroom and formal IB Diploma Program assessment/examination

    • altering or forging signatures and/or dates or falsely reporting information such as CAS activities, grades, number of hours spent on a lab, etc.

    • using unauthorized web sites without permission, such as online translators, and other resources such as “short cuts” to satisfy the assignment’s objective.

School Responsibilities include the following:

  • developing a school culture that promotes and encourages good academic practice among all teachers and students.

  • communicating the school’s Academic Honesty policy to parents

  • communicating the school’s Academic Honesty policy to each student upon entering the ninth grade and continued reinforcement each year thereafter.

  • re-addressing the Academic Honesty policy in eleventh grade as students enter the Diploma Programme, and specifically addressing ethical practice as it relates to the IB curriculum and related IB assessments.

  • posting and sharing of the General Regulations: Diploma Programme and ensuring that all parents/guardians have a copy of the document and understand the information.

  • ensuring that all students understand the following, as outlined in the publication Academic Honesty:

    • Academic Honesty is defined as the creation of an authentic piece of work/intellectual property.

    • Examples of Academic Malpractice include plagiarism, collusion, duplication, of work, or any other act that leads a student to gain an unfair advantage over another student

Teacher Responsibilities include

  • giving guidance to students related to conducting research, properly citing sources, developing appropriate time management skills and study skills, and developing academic writing proficiency.

  • providing opportunities for students to practice and to learn how to use other people’s work in support of their own, ensuring that students understand the consequences if found guilty of academic malpractice.

  • teaching awareness of what defines misconduct and the procedures that are implemented at signs of misconduct.

  • confirming by the teacher that, to the best of his/her knowledge, the work is the authentic work of the candidate before it is sent to IB for marking or moderation. Teachers are therefore expected to detect plagiarism, collusion, or duplication of work. Use of Safe Assign software is one tool used to identify instances of plagiarism. 

  • communicating the school’s Academic Honesty policy to each student upon entering the ninth grade and continued reinforcement each year thereafter.

  • re-addressing the Academic Honesty policy in eleventh grade as students enter the Diploma Programme, and specifically addressing ethical practice as it relates to the IB curriculum and related assessments.

  • openly communicating with students and parents when issues of academic misconduct arise.

Student Responsibilities include:

  • ensuring that all work, including the IB Internal Assessments and IB External Assessments (Written Assignments, Extended Essay, TOK assessments, etc) , is the authentic product of the student

  • appropriately citing sources

  • collaborating only when permission is granted - recognizing that collaboration means that each person is responsible for contributing to the assignment.

  • acknowledging collaborators whenever work is done in groups by indicating the names of group members on each paper.

  • using internet resources only when given permission and acknowledging online sources appropriately in accordance with HAN Acceptable Use Policy and Copyright Laws.

  • asking for clarification whenever expectations are unclear so as to avoid unintentional malpractice.

  • recognizing that giving answers to another student is also academic malpractice. 

  • acting in a principled way by reporting incidences of academic misconduct by others or ourselves.

Parent/Guardian Responsibilities include:

  • model ethical behavior

  • encourage students to take responsibility for their own authentic work

  • be aware of the subject teachers expectations and the consequences of academic malpractice.

  • encourage students to seek out teachers if they are having trouble with assignments rather than resort to academic misconduct

  • initiate conversations with their students that focus on learning over grade success. 

  • be aware of the Mechanicsville High School Academic Honesty Policy, the IB General Regulations, and the Hanover Academic Network Acceptable Use Policy (for use of computers & internet) , which are posted on the school’s website.

  • support the teachers and the school as decisions are made regarding instances of academic malpractice.

Procedures - Reporting, Recording and Monitoring

Mechanicsville High School has adopted a policy of consequences that considers that students are young people who make mistakes. It is important to recognize that students understand what they have done, why it is unethical, and that repeated offenses lead to stronger consequences. (These are cumulative offenses, across all classes).

Student Rights include:

  • fair and respectful treatment when instances of academic malpractice are suspected, to include respecting their confidentiality.

  • having a parent/guardian or teacher present in any discussion that occurs over this incident.

Procedure for Addressing Malpractice

  • When malpractice is observed or suspected, the teacher has a discussion about the incident with the student to explain his/her observations and the consequences for the honor code violation.

  • If the student does not agree with the teacher’s assessment of the situation, or if the teacher wishes to seek additional advice, he/she may report the incident to an Assistant Principal.

  • After the issue has been resolved the records will be kept in a central location to ensure consistency and to highlight general trends with particular students.

  • The following consequences will be applied across subject areas:

First Offense:

  • 0% on the assignment (at the teacher’s discretion).

  • Conference with the student, teacher, and parent/guardian.

  • Detention

  • The student will write a reflective essay on this choice and their experience. The reflection will include at least three IB Learner Profile traits.

Second Offense

  • 0% on the assignment.

  • Conference with the student, parent/guardian, teacher, and counselor..

  • The student will write a reflective essay on this choice and their experience. The reflection will include at least three IB Learner Profile traits.

  • May result in an office referral.

  • Honor societies, if applicable, will be informed and will act according to their policies.

Third Offense

  • 0% on the assignment.

  • Conference with students, parent/guardian, teacher, counselor, and administrator.

  • Shall result in an office referral.

Any subsequent incidences of cheating will warrant more severe action.

Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2021 Intrado Corporation. All rights reserved.