Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Academic Honesty

Understanding the Importance of Academic Honesty

SPH’s vision includes “Godly Character,” which calls for students to be honest in all actions, whether they are in the academic, co-curricular or service fields of our school. Therefore, encouraging students to be truthful in their academic work is integral to our school. Philippians 4:8 states, “. . . whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”

This is very much in support of the IBO Learner Profile where students who are ‘principled’ are described as acting with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness, justice and respect for the dignity of the individual, groups and communities. They take responsibility for their own actions and the consequences that accompany them.

The responsibility for producing authentic work is shared among the community of learners. However, it must be clear that whenever an individual (or group) authors a work, it must be produced with integrity, by exemplifying the best possible scholarship, including careful research and writing (correct grammar, punctuation, expression and spelling) and the appropriate acknowledgement of all sources. Particular responsibility rests with the subject teacher to ensure that authentic work is understood and modeled. Nevertheless, the student has the final and ultimate responsibility for academic honesty. Students are encouraged to take pride and care in the production of all school work, including writing and presentations.

Understanding What Academic Honesty Means

Any behavior that results in a student gaining an unfair advantage on any assessment component does not conform to academic honesty expectations. The following are what it takes to act with academic honestly.

  • The production of ‘authentic’ pieces of work which:
    • contain the candidate’s individual and original ideas
    • fully acknowledge the ideas and work of others
    • use the candidate’s own language and expression (Academic Honesty 2009)
  • Proper conduct in relation to all aspects of examinations
  • The protection of all forms of intellectual property – which include forms of intellectual and creative expression, as well as patents, registered designs, trademarks, moral rights and copyright

Any other behavior is called “malpractice”.

Whose Responsibility is Academic Honesty?

Ensuring academic integrity is a shared responsibility between students, parents, teachers and the school.

The Role of Student

Ultimately, the student is responsible that all work submitted is authentic. This includes:

  • Ensuring that all submitted work adheres to the Academic Honesty Policy.
  • Submitting work through Turnitin when requested to do so
  • Complying with all school deadlines and the Assessment Policy
  • Sign and submit an authenticity and consent form for the relevant work.

It is the student’s responsibility to engage openly and honestly with the review process if academic misconduct is suspected.

The Role of Parents/Guardians

Parents and guardians play an important role in ensuring academic honesty by:

  • Understanding and taking an active interest in ensuring the academic honesty of their child’s work
  • Ensuring that their child maintains regular attendance at school and completes all set tasks and tests at the scheduled time, rather than attempting to gain an unfair advantage.
  • If a tutor has been hired for their child, encourage and remind their child to ensure that submitted work is their authentic product.

The Role of the Teacher

All teachers should help to strengthen academic honesty within the school community by providing opportunities for students to practice and learn how to produce work that is academically honest. Some examples include:

  • Modeling academic honesty for their students, especially by honoring the intellectual property of authors and artists.
  • Teaching referencing and providing support so that students grow in their ability to reference accurately
  • Devising assignments that promote student planning and the evaluation of sources, thus reducing the likelihood of students plagiarizing
  • Making use of plagiarism detection software such as Turnitin to detect plagiarism, and using it as a teaching tool to help students modify their work.
  • Confirming, to the best of their knowledge that all student work submitted for assessment is authentic work.
  • Providing meaningful feedback on submitted work
  • Bringing any suspected cases of academic misconduct to the attention of the MYP/DP Coordinator and assisting him/her in any investigation.

The Role of the School

At the beginning of the year the school will ensure that:

  • This policy is discussed with all teachers annually
  • Students and parents will be informed of the process for investigating academic misconduct and the consequences of being found guilty of academic misconduct

Candidates will be notified of the rules for “Conduct of Examinations” prior to exams exam sessions.

Types of Malpractice

SPHLV and the IBO recognize that there are several different types of malpractice. Below each of these are defined, according to the IBO Academic Honesty Guide (2009), with several examples, where appropriate. The examples provided are for explanatory purposes and are not intended to be exhaustive.

A. Plagiarism: the representation of the ideas or work of another person as the candidate’s own

a. Not using quotation marks

  • When you use someone else’s words, always put them in quotation marks and cite the source within the body of the text as well as in the literature cited section.
  • If you include a quote, you must use the exact words of the author or it is considered to be a “misquote”.

b. Not citing the source of information

  • All information/ideas that are not part of general knowledge that you obtained from someone else must be cited (within the sentence containing the information and in the literature cited section) even if you used your own words.
  • Also note that translating a passage into another language and then using the translated version in your work without acknowledging the original source is also plagiarism.

c. Paraphrasing that is too similar to source

  • It is plagiarism to use someone else’s sequence of sentences and just change a few words.
  • Read your sources of information, synthesize the material in your head, and then write what you know in your own unique way.

Deliberate versus Accidental Malpractice:  Although accidental plagiarism (academic infringement) will attract a less harsh penalty than deliberate plagiarism, nevertheless the penalties are still significant. Students need to ensure they know how to cite works appropriately. Students and teachers should pay careful attention to section 5 of this policy.

B. Collusion: supporting malpractice by another candidate

a. Allowing your work to be copied or submitted for assessment by another candidate

b. Knowingly signing-off on another student’s falsified assessment. For example, fitness test results

Collusion versus Collaboration:  Collaboration involves working together with other students. There are occasions where collaboration with other candidates is permitted or actively encouraged. Nevertheless, unless specifically permitted by the teacher for assessments that are not part of the internal assessment for the course, the final work must be produced independently, despite the fact that it may be based on the same or similar data as other candidates in the group. This means that the abstract, introduction, content and conclusions/summary of a piece of work must be written in each candidate’s own words and cannot therefore be the same as another candidate’s.

C. Duplication of Work: the presentation of the same work for different assessment components and/or diploma requirements

D. Any other behavior that gains an unfair advantage which may include but is not limited to

  • Taking unauthorized material into an examination
  • Misconduct during an examination such as:
    • looking at another student’s paper
    • communicating with another student
    • accessing unauthorized material in a bathroom break
    • stealing examination papers
    • using an unauthorized calculator during an examination
    • not complying with the invigilators’ instructions, particularly with regards to the end of the exam
  • Falsifying a CAS or SA record
  • Fabrication of data
  • Being absent from school to miss an assessment or to give oneself more time for completion of an assessment

When and What Should I Reference?

There are four different situations in which referencing is required:

  • direct quotations
  • paraphrased or summarized presentation of original or unique ideas (indirect quotes)
  • quantifiable data (facts and statistics and dates)
  • visual material and maps (both their content and/or design)

Unless otherwise specified all students should use MLA format for all work submitted. If a different referencing style is preferred, individual subject teachers will provide instruction on which style of referencing to use in their classes.