• What We Practice Concerning Academic Honesty

    Thomas Jefferson High School

    Lucille M. Brown Middle School

    (Revised June 2018)


    The IB Programmes at Thomas Jefferson High School and Lucille M. Brown Middle School strive to develop a sense of one’s own work in the context of the larger world. Integrity and honesty are inherent in the formation of academic honesty for students and the larger learning community. Characteristics from the IB Learner Profile, namely Principled and Communicators, form the foundations of our beliefs concerning academic honesty, as does policy set in place by Richmond Public Schools, which states: “Students shall not cheat, plagiarize or knowingly make false statements with respect to any assignments or tests.” (S.C.O.R.E.: Student Code of Responsible Ethics, 2017-2018. p. 23)

    Our approach to academic honesty ensures that students:

    • Develop the necessary skills in note-taking and documentation to cite sources when necessary. Students are required to cite sources when they are directly quoting source material, when they are paraphrasing someone’s ideas, and when they are summarizing the ideas of others. Students are also required to follow documentation guidelines contained in the MLA handbook with the inclusion of any components required by IB.
    • Develop a sense of themselves as honest individuals and scholars by signing the honor pledge on work submitted for a grade.
    • Have opportunities to discuss with teachers what defines cheating and plagiarism and what constitutes good academic practice. Class discussions pertaining to academic honesty are expectations for each subject area and are to be a routine practice for all grades and subject areas. Honor pledges are posted in each classroom and serve as a visual reminder to students.
    • Understand the concepts of intellectual property and intellectual discourse and to be able to participate in each through acceptable practices.

    Our approach to academic honesty ensures that students do not:

    • Participate in cheating, plagiarism, collusion or any other form of malpractice as described in the IB General Regulations without consequence.
    • Use unauthorized electronic devices or other unauthorized aids during examinations for any purpose.
    • Violate any procedures, willingly or unwillingly, for IB examinations.

    In our schools, teachers, coordinators, and administrators model good academic honesty practice and strive to develop an awareness of good practice in age-appropriate and developmentally-appropriate ways. Initially, we must help students understand and distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate practices. Then we must empower them to make critical choices about their behavior.


    With that in mind, examples of cheating/ malpractice include but are not limited to:

    • Not citing sources in researched material (i.e. the omission of a bibliography, copying word for word without quotation marks and attribution, copying unique phrases from a source without quotation marks and attribution, leaving off citations for paraphrased or summarized material, using incorrect citations or false bibliographic information, etc.)
    • Presenting someone else’s work as your own or failing to give appropriate attribution to a source work
    • Giving your own work to someone else
    • Copying / sharing homework
    • Cutting and pasting directly from the internet without appropriate documentation
    • Copying / sharing answers during a test
    • Misrepresenting data in an experiment
    • Using an electronic device to obtain information during a test
    • Observing someone cheating and remaining silent
    • Using unauthorized materials, tools, resources, or apps for an assignment or test
    • Making false claims or representations about an assignment in order to gain unfair academic advantage
    • Completing another student’s assignment for them
    • Any other deceptive means of completing an assignment, including means specific to a subject area such as using an online translator in an acquired language class.

    When an incidence of cheating occurs, the following processes will be followed:

    For incidents of cheating in the classroom, the teacher will:

    • Conduct a student/teacher conference about the incident.
    • Give no credit for plagiarized work or work completed under other conditions of malpractice.
    • Call parents to explain what has occurred and participate in a discussion with the parent.
    • Give the IB coordinator a copy of the assignment that was copied or plagiarized and a brief written description of the incident.
    • Write a referral, include copies of the documentation given to the coordinator, and submit the referral to the appropriate administrator who will then determine further consequences based upon the described circumstances and the policies of Richmond Public Schools, which lists:

    “Depending on the seriousness of the violation, the student may not receive credit for the particular piece of work, the course, or may be subject to out-of- school suspension. A student found using a mobile telephone or any unauthorized device during any testing situation will have the device immediately confiscated and will lose the privilege of using said devices for the remainder of the school year. Test results may be rendered invalid in this situation.” (S.C.O.R.E.: Student Code of Responsible Ethics, 2017-2018, p. 23)

    n.b. Future updates to Richmond Public Schools policy regarding Academic Honesty and consequences for violations will supersede the procedures quoted in this document.

    Academic Malpractice and Work Meant to be Submitted to IBO

    Students should note that under no circumstances will work found to have been completed through malpractice be submitted to the IBO for scoring or moderation. Diploma Programme students should also note that failure to submit any course component for scoring disqualifies the student from receiving a score in that subject and from being eligible to earn the IB Diploma.

    For incidents of cheating during an IB examination, invigilators will:

    • Notify the IB Coordinator immediately.
    • Follow all regulations as described in the “Conduct of the examinations” documents or the most recent policies published by IBO.
    • Report the incident to the appropriate administrator.

    Use of Plagiarism Detection Software

    Thomas Jefferson High School utilizes turnitin.com as one tool for checking the authenticity of student writing. High school students should submit essays, papers, lab reports, and other written assignments to turnitin.com to create a report that allows the teacher to verify that citations have been used where needed. Teachers may determine whether to limit the number of submissions a student may make of any one assignment based on the type of assignment and expectations for students’ level of independence in citing.

    Plagiarism detection software cannot detect all issues with academic honesty. Teachers at both schools continue to be the best line of defense against plagiarism because they are familiar with their students’ strengths and weaknesses in self-expression and writing. Teachers have proven effective in identifying plagiarism and locating source material. Furthermore, the school has concerns about the ability of any software product to detect plagiarism that has been disguised by the latest bots. Better that teachers remain vigilant than to entrust such an important function solely to software whose function is repeatedly targeted.

    The school recognizes the trust that this decision places in its teachers and remains committed to developing the capacities of all teachers as language teachers (see Language). The coordinators, administration, and staff will continue to identify topics related to language teaching and maintaining academic honesty for professional development.


    What We Practice Concerning Academic Honesty will be periodically reviewed by a focus group lead by the IB coordinators and made up of teachers, administrators, and stakeholders to keep it current with RPS and IB regulations. This document should be read and reviewed in conjunction with other current documents, including practices for assessment, language, inclusive education, and school board policy, including the most current school board regulations for student behavior.