The principle of academic honesty is the cornerstone of all TMS schools. In all our actions, we encourage students towards a life governed by the values of honesty and personal integrity. The policies and procedures in this document are informed both by the school values, vision and mission and the TMS learner attributes.
Aim of the Policy
As an education provider, we take out role in managing our students’ assessment very seriously. To realise our ambition to have robust and visibly rigorous assessments at TMS, we embrace the need to have an academic honesty policy which will provide the foundation for promoting students’ personal integrity and help us manage the integrity of the work they produce on their courses. Also, by focusing on academic honesty we aim to ensure that all TMS students have a fair and equitable opportunity to demonstrate accurately their learning from their studies.
What is Academic Misconduct?
Academic misconduct refers to actions or intentions to act that can result in a student gaining an unfair advantage in the assessment of their learning. Examples of academic misconduct include, but are not limited to:
- Plagiarism refers to students representing another person’s words or ideas without clear and precise acknowledgement. Such plagiarism can be either intentional or unintentional. In instances where work is translated (for example, from Urdu into English), where the work of the original author is not recognised (cited) is also considered to be plagiarised. Accidental or unintentional omission of a reference is still considered as plagiarism.
- Collusion is another form of academic misconduct in which a student helps another with the completion of work or an assessment activity. This is most often the case in schools where a student allows their work to be copied by another and which is submitted for assessment.
- Other examples of misconduct include:
- Taking unauthorised material (e.g. course notes, textbooks, study notes etc.) into an examination. This is the case whether the student uses the material or not
- Behavior that disrupts an examination or may distract other students and talking with another student during an examination
- Duplicating work presented for assessment (i.e. presenting the same work for different assessments)
ALL teachers at TMS share the responsibility of reinforcing best practices and teaching proper research skills. TMS teachers are expected to:
- Support and act on the School’s policy on good academic practice and provide students with advice whenever necessary
- Provide instruction and support in research and study skills, and be available to offer advice and guidance to students
- Give specific requirements as well as written examples of proper citation of a variety of sources
- Structure assignments to encourage the development of students’ own ideas through problem-solving, comparison, precise hypothesis, analysis etc.
- Provide an evaluation structure for students’ written work that includes planning and the evaluation of sources, and reflects the need for students’ work to be authentic. The formative assessment structure should include:
- the evaluation of sources
- planning for written work
- personal critique or analysis
- evidence of higher thinking or alternative solutions to the issue under discussion
- Mark regular class and homework assignments that are not being submitted, taking into account each student’s use of, and acknowledgement of, sources.
- Guard against what might be described as “academic negligence”. In other words, teachers must warn students about the consequences of being careless when recording sources, or displaying a disregard for the origin of material within their work.
- Observe the same procedures as students. All teachers should epitomise good academic practice and act as role models for students.
At TMS we expect the student to take responsibility for handing over work for assessment, ensuring that is entirely their own, and where necessary, they have used appropriate methods and checks to ensure that the words or ideas of others are fully acknowledged in the work submitted.
We expect that all students will clearly reference in the work they are submitting for assessment, all materials they have directly used (e.g. quotations). This includes text extracts (whether sentences, parts of sentences or whole paragraphs) as well as diagrams, graphs, charts or any other images. This includes all materials from all sources – along with written texts (e.g. books, magazines etc.), this includes materials from the internet and other electronic media (e.g. websites, blogs etc.), and audio materials (e.g. interviews, podcasts etc.)
Students must acknowledge the work of others in any way that is agreed with the teacher setting the assessment activity. The means for crediting the work of others can include, but should not be seen as limited to, any of the following:
- Individual citations written into the body of the student’s text
- The use of footnotes
- Placing the author’s name and date of publication within the text in parentheses (brackets).
- Mark regular class and homework assignments that are not being submitted, taking into account each learner’s use of, and acknowledgement of, sources.
Work which a student submits for assessment and which contains content that can be considered as ‘common knowledge’ (i.e. “knowledge known by everyone”), does not need to be referenced in the work. However, it is the student’s responsibility to ensure that sufficient checks and tests are made as to the consideration of ‘common knowledge’.
The school’s leadership has the responsibility for establishing processes and procedures that support, and a school culture that actively encourages, academic honesty. TMS coordinators and School Heads are expected to:
- Know the regulations and instructions as provided within this policy that govern the conduct of examinations
- Inform staff and students through various media what constitutes examination/ assessment malpractice and how it can be prevented
The following actions are reflective of academic dishonesty and are subject to disciplinary action by the teacher:
- Using dishonest, deceptive or fraudulent means to obtain or attempt to obtain credit for academic work
- Using notes, aids, or another student’s assistance to complete a test, a project or other assignment in a way other than that expressly permitted by the teacher. Unless otherwise directed by the teacher, students should accomplish all assignments individually
- Looking at another student’s test, answer sheet, or other materials
- Talking during a test. The teacher cannot be expected to determine the content of a private conversation between students, therefore, all talking during tests is considered cheating
- Copying from or allowing another student to copy from a test, homework or other course work which is not intended to be collaborative in nature
- Tampering with an instructor’s records of grades or scores
- Accessing, deleting, modifying, transferring, or receiving of computerised files without authorisation of the teacher. Although a student may authorise another student to copy or transfer electronic files, this action is considered cheating if undertaken without teacher permission.
Principles for Dealing with, and Consequences of, Academic Misconduct
In every case where a student’s academic conduct is questioned, the teacher/coordinator/ Head must ensure that the student is treated fairly and all matters of the academic misconduct are consistently dealt with according to policy. There should never be any delays in dealing with academic misconduct. It is important that matters are dealt with in a timely fashion. Ideally, such cases should also be managed in a way that ensures further learning for the student.
Practical steps taken in each case of misconduct include the following:
- Investigation of misconduct
- Student(s) conference with the teacher regarding the incident
- Referral of the academic misconduct to the School Head
- Parent(s) contacted by the teacher and/or Coordinator/ School Head
- Conference with the student, parent(s), teacher and Coordinator
- Further education – additional instruction on the rationale behind conventions of scholarship and the necessity for absolute honesty in the presentation of written work
- In particular where there is collusion between students or where a student duplicates a submission of work, additional support for students should be provided regarding good study habits and effective time management
- In prevent cases of exam misconduct it is important to clearly articulate BEFORE the examination of the rules of exams and the consequences for breaking the rules
- Planning for sharing the concepts and practices of academic honesty with students, faculty and parents.
The following are examples of academic dishonesty:
- Plagiarism— submitting someone else’s words, ideas, or research as if they were one’s own without acknowledging the source
- Using unauthorised notes or other aids in a test, or copying from or being influenced by another student’s work during a test
- Giving unauthorised aid to another student
- Allowing another student to copy or use one’s test, paper or homework
- Use of help on homework or take-home tests that is beyond the limits specified by the teacher
- Use of translating software, including those found on the Internet, or translations of texts studied in class, without the permission of the teacher
- Submitting the same work for credit to more than one teacher unless both teachers give their permission.
In all instances, where a student is submitting or undertaking assessments, the following steps should be followed in dealing with academic misconduct:
- FIRST TIME VIOLATION: Failing grade for the assessment and an opportunity to re-submit work; guidance and tutoring on meeting the TMS requirements for academic honesty
- SECOND VIOLATION: After a first violation, it is expected that students would not unintentionally, or through being misguided, submit a piece of work that fails to meet the TMS academic honesty expectation. In this instance, the student is to be given a fail grade for the subject in the session of submission of the work
- THIRD VIOLATION: At this point, it is to be considered as repeated dishonest behaviour and treated accordingly. A fail grade must be given for the school year and a disciplinary letter given to the student with a copy being sent to the student’s parents outlining the infraction, an explanation of the consequences and the courses of action available to the student
- FOURTH VIOLATION: The student is to be removed from the school roll.
Conventions for Citing and Acknowledging Original Authorship
All TMS students are required to know the correct methods of properly attributing sources whenever necessary. This means students will be taught to acknowledge their sources in an age appropriate manner.
Roles and Responsibilities:
The Librarian works in collaboration with teachers to develop the research skills that are required for good study.
Teachers should explain the intentions and spirit of this policy to students. Teachers should do this clearly and simply. In particular, when a teacher is explaining academic honesty to students, it should always be done in the context of specific work that they are asking students to do for an assessment. Teachers should also be models of good practice when it comes to the presentation of work in class.
Teachers should address all instances of academic dishonesty immediately they are suspected. All teacher are expected to enforce this policy in all instances, and without exception.
All teachers are responsible for helping students develop their research skills. This means ensuring that, as part of regular tuition and practice in class, students are provided with opportunities and resources to practice and maintain levels of academic honesty in their work. This means that all teachers should take time to speak to students about academic honesty in all phases of the writing process (i.e. pre-writing which includes researching, planning; writing which includes drafting; and importantly during post-writing activities which include proof-reading and editing). The teacher must see this as an opportunity to facilitate learning rather than evaluate a student’s performance.
It is advised that teachers should take time to revise with students their understanding of academic honesty regularly during a school session, as considered by the school Head to be appropriate.
Coordinators in schools should ensure that academic honesty and dishonesty are explained to teachers and fully understood by all teachers, giving examples of both good practice and bad practice in work across all subjects being taught. The coordinator should be seen as the focal person in cases where academic dishonesty is suspected. As such, the coordinator has a role to investigate the instance of suspected academic dishonesty, and must ensure that records are maintained and approaches are used to ensure that any investigation is seen to be transparent and fair. Any recommendations made by the coordinator to the School Head regarding a suspected case of academic dishonesty, should be presented clear and with accurate and verifiable evidence.
All students are expected to uphold standards of academic integrity across all aspects of the school environment to the level that teachers expect from their work. This requires students to be honest and truthful about their work. Therefore, it is the student’s responsibility to be fully aware of this policy and to understand the differences between different types of academic dishonesty. If a student is unsure, then it is expected that s/he will ask for support and guidance from a teacher.
The student is also expected to ‘live’ the spirit of this policy, and to refrain from academic dishonesty and acts of cheating, in completing any tests or quizzes, projects, essays and reports, homework assignments or in-class assignments. No assignment is exempted from this policy.
Parents should speak to their children about the need to be honest and why it is important to be so in terms of academic progress. The parent is expected to adopt the philosophical wholesomeness of this policy and uphold the spirit and the letter of it by reviewing it with his or her child and encouraging the child to practice academic honesty throughout their years of study at TMS
Monitoring of Academic Honesty
If a teacher suspects a student of engaging in any form of academic dishonesty, whether cheating, collusion or plagiarism, and therefore being in breach of this policy, the teacher should take the matter immediately to the school coordinator or, in the absence of the coordinator, the School Head.
Once the coordinator has been made aware of the case, the teacher must inform the student, specifically detailing the concerns regarding the work of the student and highlighting the instances where academic dishonesty has occurred. The student must be informed at this point that the matter has been passed to the school coordinator for further investigation.
Any student who is suspected of engaging in any form of academic dishonesty must be given the opportunity to respond to the allegation and provided ample opportunity to discuss the matter with the teacher(s) concerned.
If, after a thorough investigation of the case, the coordinator thinks that work submitted by the student contravenes the intentions for academic honesty defined by this policy, the coordinator must next make a clear judgement as to the intentionality of the act by the student. A student’s intended or unintended lapse in academic honesty must be a clear annotation to any notes and the recommendation of the coordinator when making a recommendation to the School Head about dealing with the case.
For a first violation, an unintended act of academic dishonesty can be described as an ‘academic infringement’ so that the student is given a warning and no further action is taken. In such cases, the student’s future work should be carefully checked. Furthermore, but only if time within the school schedule permits, before the assessment deadline for the work and for a case of academic infringement ONLY, the student should be allowed to resubmit another piece of work in its place. If there is insufficient time for the student to produce new work, he or she should not receive a grade for that assessment.
If the coordinator’s investigation provides clear and substantiated evidence of academic dishonesty, then the guidelines listed in this document must be followed, without exception.
For any violation of this policy, the student will have their parents contacted and the incident must be placed in the school records.