Academic Honesty Policy

Philosophy on Academic Honesty

Fairfax County Schools encourage students to demonstrate the ability to work interdependently within groups to increase productivity and achieve common goals. Students should act responsibly and ethically. To develop academic honesty in all students, FCPS views cheating and plagiarizing as unacceptable behaviors that have moral and legal implications. Cheating is violating established rules and codes of ethics. Plagiarizing is falsely claiming authorship. Cheating and plagiarism are serious offenses.

As a member of Fairfax County Public Schools, Mount Vernon High School, and Whitman Middle School adhere to the guidelines, regulations, and policies set forth by the district. Implementation of the Academic Honesty Policy at Mount Vernon High School Whitman Middle School

The Academic Honesty Policy is in place at Whitman Middle School to reinforce our mission, vision, and values. Whitman empowers all students to pursue the highest academic standards and engage in interdisciplinary learning by striving to exemplify the characteristics of the FCPS Portrait of a Graduate. We foster an environment where our students are able to embody the IB Learner Profile by becoming critical and creative thinkers who make ethical decisions in our global society.

Our partnership believes that all students can learn and be successful, given the appropriate supports, and that it is important to help students learn from their mistakes and failures. To be successful, Whitman Middle School feels it’s important to instill the value of academic honesty in our students and ensure that everyone understands their responsibilities and expectations from FCPS, as well as the additional responsibilities and expectations from our schools, which are explained below.

Student Responsibilities:

  • Submit all assignments/assessments that adhere to the academic honesty policy and honor code.
  • Contribute to an honest academic environment: behaving responsibly and honestly during assessments and in-class activities, and avoiding discussions/activities that would give other students an unfair advantage.
  • Avoid cheating by completing one’s own work and not permitting others to copy their work.
  • Avoid plagiarism by using quotation marks for statements taken from others, by acknowledging information and ideas borrowed from any source, and by consulting faculty members about questionable situations.
  • Use sources in the prescribed manner.
  • Notify a staff member if you become aware of a situation where cheating or plagiarizing has occurred.

Teacher Responsibilities:

  • Be very clear and concise with students about what constitutes an academic honesty violation.
  • Ensure students understand when it is okay for them to collaborate with others and when they must work on their own.
    • Give instruction on legitimate partner and group collaboration – ensure students understand all involved must be contributing and working together.
  • Provide students with instruction about cheating and plagiarism throughout the school year, particularly when working on essays, projects, or assessments.
    • Provide examples and scenarios for discussion.
    • Provide students with the definitions provided by IBMYP literature for academic honesty, cheating, and plagiarism.
      • Academic Honesty – an authentic piece of work based on one’s original ideas and the work of others being fully acknowledged
      • Cheating:
        • Collusion – supporting another student in gaining an unfair advantage on assignment (i.e. allowing them to copy your work)
        • Any behavior that gives a student an unfair advantage or affects the result of another student (i.e. using notes when not allowed, copying another student’s work, etc.)
      • Plagiarism – representing the ideas and work of another person as your own; using the ideas or words of another person without properly citing them
        • Teachers will instruct students on the proper and acceptable way to cite research and other people’s ideas and words in their work (i.e. using footnotes, having a works cited page, using MLA format, using APA format, etc.)
  • Teach students the difference between summarizing and copying straight from the text.
  • Teach or review the correct use of sources and citations when assigning work.
  • Structure conditions during testing to alleviate the possibility of cheating.
  • Help students learn from their mistakes when an act of cheating or plagiarizing occurs.

Administrator Responsibilities:

  • Ensure that all stakeholders have a voice in the development of school-wide policies.
  • Publish and make available the Academic Honesty Policy to community members.
  • Support teachers in addressing academic honesty violations.
  • Support teachers with educating students about academic honesty.
  • Track student violations of cheating and plagiarism in order to identify trends and patterns that need to be addressed.

Parent Responsibilities:

  • Support students in adhering to the Academic Honesty Policy.
  • Be familiar with the Academic Honesty Policy and what constitutes cheating and plagiarizing.
  • Help to create and contribute to an honest academic environment.

Student Rights:

In the event that a student is suspected of violating the Academic Honesty Policy, he/she has the following rights throughout the situation:

  • The student has the right to explain his or her actions.
  • The student has the right to ask for further clarification if unclear about why certain actions are considered cheating or plagiarism.
  • The student has the right to demonstrate his/her knowledge and skills by completing the assignment without cheating or plagiarizing.
  • If a violation occurs, the student has the right to have a parent, teacher, and/or administrator present when discussing the incident.

Consequences for violating:

If a student violates the Academic Honesty Policy and engages in an act of cheating or plagiarizing, the parent, student, school counselor, and administrator must be informed. In addition, the student must accept responsibility for their actions and the accompanying consequences: 1st Offense

  • Parent notification.
  • Teacher-student conference and review of Academic Honesty Policy.
  • Discipline referral is written for records.
  • Student will have the opportunity to redo the assignment/assessment or complete an alternate assignment/assessment.
  • This does not apply to externally assessed work.

2nd Offense

  • Parent notification.
  • Administrator-IB Coordinator-Parent-Student conference and review of Academic Honesty Policy.
  • Discipline referral and Administrative Detention.
  • 0% will be given on the assessment/assignment in violation or student will be given the opportunity to complete an alternate assignment/assessment.

3rd Offense

  • Parent notification.
  • Head of School-Parent-Student conference and review of Academic Honesty Policy.
  • Discipline referral and suspension.
  • 0% will be given on the assessment/assignment in violation.
  • Student will be removed from any honor societies and/or class office for the remainder of the school year.
  • School personnel must document the violations in any letters of recommendation or records.

The consequences above are guidelines for violations of the academic honesty policy and all situations involving academic dishonesty are viewed on an individual basis. The goal in every situation is to ensure that the student is learning from his/her mistakes in an effort to maintain an environment that fosters growth, academic integrity, and the characteristics of the IB Learner Profile.

Reviewed and Updated The academic honesty policy is to be reviewed annually by teachers and staff at both Mt. Vernon and Whitman Middle and updated as needed. Written by Nate Beard and Koli Short - IB coordinators at Mt. Vernon and Whitman Middle, March 2017. Reviewed by . . . IC Council on June 7, 2017 Approved by . . . IC council on June 7, 2017 Made public on . . .Dec. 1, 2017