Thursday, June 07, 2007


I caught a student plagiarizing her major end of term project. It was a fluke really. She copied it from another student who took the same course with a different teacher first semester. I just happened to mention it to the other teacher and she remembered it and was able to produce the copy.

Wanna know what's frustrating?

Our board, by direction of the ministry, now has a "no zero" policy. Yep, that's right. First kids couldn't "fail" a grade, now they can't get zeros.

This brainchild is part of a philosophy that I actually agree with. Some students (who have learning issues) should be given as much time as needed to work on an assignment. Legally, we make accommodations for that. But there is the belief that there are so many kids that are not identified that we should give them all the benefit of the doubt and allow them to continue to resubmit their work as often as needed until the get the mark they want.

(say what you want, it is an unfortunate reality that I somewhat, but not completely agree with, but have to live with)

The ministry is now directing that students should be marked for learning, not behaviour. OK, I get that. Learning is one issue, behaviour is another. No problem there.

I spoke with the student, let her know that she needs to redo her project, and gave her the lecture on plagiarism. I then took this to the Vice-Principal (who even commended me on how progressive I am [this is a brand new policy]) hoping that she would deal with the behaviour of plagiarism. (detention, community service, suspension perhaps?)

This is the one V-P who I can usually trust to deal with the kids in an extremely fair, yet firm way. Can you see where this is going?

Yep. She called the cheater into her office and explained that she had to redo the project (yep, had that one covered) and how wrong it was to plagiarize (check 2) and that she was disappointed in the behaviour (no shit!). That was it. Done. No more discussion.

She called the other girl in who gave the work to be copied and did the same thing.

So, yeah, basically the behaviour wasn't dealt with AT ALL.

So now I have this kid who is graduating high school (oh yeah, she a grade 12 student), perhaps going on to University or College, and has really not learned any lesson on stealing someone else's work and calling it her own.

Basically now with this new policy, the same discipline that we have for students who don't hand in their work (nothing and allow them to hand it in whenever they wish) is the same discipline for students who plagiarize. Is not one behaviour far worse than the other?? Not according to the Ontario Ministry of Education...

Good luck professors.


At 11:41 p.m., Blogger Grace H. Walker: said...

That's outrageous. Somewhere down the line we have become too soft.

I like your blog. I'm a teacher too.


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