Introduction

  • A core value of Falmouth High School, where we seek to maintain high expectations, high standards, and no excuses, is the intolerance of Academic Dishonesty in any form. Academic Dishonesty undermines both the integrity of the perpetrator(s) as well as that of the school as a whole. At Falmouth High School, we recognize that students are often under immense pressure to get school work done and to achieve high grades, and as a result, students may resort to cheating in a variety of ways.

    Falmouth High School strives to promote and emphasize the importance of individual integrity and ethics with the goal of reducing the level of stress and unhealthy competition in the school by shifting peer pressure away from cheating and the temptation to get top grades through any means possible and towards honest, ethical behavior in the pursuit of learning.

    Without exception, Falmouth High School students are expected to understand that dishonesty on tests, quizzes, papers, projects, assignments, and homework constitutes cheating and is an extremely serious matter.

    Academic Dishonesty is unfair to the students who earn their marks through their own hard work and effort, and undermines the integrity of grades.

    Academic Dishonesty destroys the trust between teachers and students. 

    Academic Dishonesty is unacceptable at Falmouth High School.

    At Falmouth High School, we believe that students learn best by doing their own reading, writing, test taking, projects, research, and assignments. Accordingly, it is imperative at Falmouth High School that we educate students and make our rules regarding Academic Dishonesty perfectly clear.

    In plain and simple terms, Academic Dishonesty is cheating.  Cheating, including plagiarism, is the act of taking someone else’s work and presenting it as your own, as well as the provision of unauthorized assistance to another student. Falmouth High School recognizes that there is a difference between being honest when confronted and bringing oneself forward, voluntarily subjecting oneself to consequences. We acknowledge that the latter involves a higher degree of personal responsibility and integrity. Truthfulness, even in the face of social pressure, is one of the values Falmouth High School most wishes to establish.

    Academic Dishonesty consists of offering and/or receiving information under circumstances when such offering and/or receiving such information is prohibited, and includes, but is not limited to the following:

    1. Copying and/or offering homework verbally, in written form, or by electronic means or obtaining homework answers from answer guides in texts.
    2. Copying and/or offering answers on tests, quizzes or other assignments verbally, in written form, or by electronic means.
    3. Pressuring other students to cheat.
    4. Paying someone else money or any other form of payment to do work for you and/or accepting such payment to do work for another student.
    5. Bringing in and/or using unauthorized information during class time, including information stored in a phone, watch, calculator or other electronic device.
    6. Having anyone, including parents/guardians or tutors, complete assignments and submitting the work as one’s own.
    7. Presenting collaborative work as independent work.
    8. Fabricating data, information, or sources; attempting to pass off fabricated material as original work.
    9. Submitting images and/or documents in whole or in part from the Internet or other sources without citation of the source(s), effectively claiming the work of another as one’s own.
    10. Using another’s ideas without proper citations.
    11. Using an individual’s personal statements without citations.
    12. A student’s name on a paper is regarded as an assurance that the paper is original and is the student’s own work. Therefore, the submission of any work copied from another student will be considered Academic Dishonesty.
    13. Consulting Spark Notes, Cliffs Notes, or other similar summaries or book guides without a teacher’s specific authorization, whether in print or electronic form, may be considered Academic Dishonesty. Students are reminded that their teachers are here to help students overcome reading and writing challenges, and that there are no short cuts to becoming better readers and writers.
    14. To be clear, it is emphasized that Academic Dishonesty includes the facilitation of Academic Dishonesty – in other words, a student who helps or attempts to help another student engage in Academic Dishonesty will be deemed to have engaged in Academic Dishonesty themselves, as well. Examples of this include but are not limited to the following: Student A gives Student B a specific answer to a homework assignment when Student A knows that such assistance is prohibited; Student A shares their lab report with Student B for Student B to submit when Student A knows that such sharing is prohibited; Student A shares one of their papers or essays with Student B and Student B submits it as their own when Student A knows that such sharing is prohibited – in each of these circumstances, both Student A and Student B will be deemed to have engaged in Academic Dishonesty.
    15. The rules regarding Academic Dishonesty apply to all work, including drafts and outlines that are submitted prior to a final submission.

    Academic Dishonesty may be accomplished by any means whatsoever, including, but not limited to, the following:  fraud, duress, deception, theft, talking signs, gestures, copying from another student, unauthorized collaboration, and the unauthorized use of study aids, memoranda, books, electronic programs, data, or other information.

    Plagiarism is cheating and constitutes a form of Academic Dishonesty. Plagiarism involves copying another’s work and submitting it as if it were the original work of the student. Presenting as one’s own, the words, the work, the ideas or the opinions of someone else without proper citation and acknowledgement constitutes plagiarism, as does borrowing the sequence of ideas, the arrangement of material, or the pattern of thought of someone else without proper citation and acknowledgement. Plagiarism is commonly defined as the use of another person’s thoughts and ideas – whether taken from a paper, speech, article, film, music, image, or online source – whether intentionally or accidentally, in whole or in part, and presenting it as your own work. Whether a source is copyrighted or not, printed or recorded, or a paper prepared by another student, if it is used without citing and recognizing the source, plagiarism has been committed. Simply put, plagiarism is the act of using another person’s words or ideas without giving credit to that person.

    In order to be found to have committed an act of Academic Dishonesty, it is not necessary for the school to prove that the student intended to commit the act. In this regard, Academic Dishonesty can occur accidentally when, for example, a student cites information incorrectly or forgets to cite it at all – this will still be considered plagiarism. A student’s intent or lack thereof to cheat and/or commit plagiarism is not a defense to a claim of cheating and/or plagiarism.

    Test Dishonesty is cheating and constitutes a form of Academic Dishonesty. Test Dishonesty is the use of any means not specifically accepted by the teacher to obtain answers to a test or quiz. Test Dishonesty includes giving, receiving, passing or using in any way information about a test or quiz, whether in oral, written, gesture, or electronic form. The unauthorized use of cell phones, watches and/or other electronic devices which store information during tests or quizzes will be considered cheating.

    Academic Dishonesty Consequences:

    First Offense:

    • The student will be notified of the violation.
    • The parents/guardians will be notified of the violation.
    • The student’s guidance counselor and assistant principal will be notified of the violation.
    • Honor societies will be notified of the violation.
    • The student will receive a zero on the assignment involved, and may not be allowed an opportunity to make-up the assignment.
    • An “Academic Dishonesty 1st Offense Warning” will be documented in PowerSchool.
    • Additional consequences may be considered – e.g., loss of student leadership positions, and loss of candidacy for or membership in Falmouth High School Honor Societies.

    Second Offense:

    • The student will be notified of the violation.
    • The parents/guardians will be notified of the violation.
    • The student’s guidance counselor and assistant principal will be notified of the violation.
    • Honor societies will be notified of the violation.
    • The student will receive a zero on the assignment involved, and may not be allowed an opportunity to make-up the assignment.  
    • If the second offense occurs in the same course as the first offense, additional consequences in that course may be imposed.
    • The student may be ineligible for awards.
    • The student may be ineligible for scholarships.
    • An “Academic Dishonesty 2nd Offense” will be documented in PowerSchool.
    • Additional consequences may be considered – e.g., loss of the privilege to participate in school activities, loss of student leadership positions, and loss of candidacy for or membership in Falmouth High School Honor Societies.

    Third & Subsequent Offenses:

    • The student will be notified of the violation.
    • The parents/guardians will be notified of the violation.
    • The student’s guidance counselor and assistant principal will be notified of the violation.
    • Honor societies will be notified of the violation.
    • The student will receive a zero on the assignment involved, and will not be allowed an opportunity to make-up the assignment.
    • If the third offense occurs in the same course as one of the prior two offenses, the student’s grade for the quarter will be lowered by one full letter grade.
    • If the third offense occurs in the same course as both of the prior two offenses, the student will receive an F in the course for the semester, potentially impacting graduation and athletic eligibility.
    • The student will be ineligible for awards.
    • The student may be ineligible for scholarships.
    • An “Academic Dishonesty 3rd Offense” will be documented in PowerSchool.
    • The student will lose any student leadership positions held.
    • The student will not be considered as a candidate for Honor Societies.
    • The student will have membership in Honor Societies rescinded.

    Regardless of whether it is a student’s first or subsequent offense, all students who are found to have committed an act of Academic Dishonesty will be required to take a course and pass a test on Academic Dishonesty.

    All offenses are cumulative across subject matters/courses and throughout school years, from freshman through senior year.  For example, an initial infraction freshman year in English would qualify as a first offense, a subsequent infraction sophomore year in social studies would constitute a second offense, a subsequent infraction junior year in math would be the third offense, etc.

    Falmouth High School recognizes that there are different forms and degrees of Academic Dishonesty – e.g., a student who submits as their own a paper that the student has copied and pasted verbatim in its entirety from an online source vs. a student who copied and/or paraphrased two sentences from an online source without proper quotation or citation. Consequently, each alleged offense will be determined on its own merits and facts and on an individual case by case basis, fully respecting the professionalism and discretion of the teacher(s) and administrator(s) involved.

    In order to prevent misunderstandings, at the beginning of each course, each teacher will clarify what constitutes an act of Academic Dishonesty in their class.  This should include an explanation of:

    • The extent to which collaboration or group participation is permissible in preparing term papers, laboratory exhibits or notebooks, reports of any kind, tests, quizzes, examination, homework or any other work.
    • The extent to which the use of study aids, memoranda, books, data, or other information is permissible to fulfill course requirements.
    • Guidelines on what constitutes Test Dishonesty.
    • Guidelines for what constitutes Plagiarism, including requirements or citing sources.

    The Falmouth High School website has helpful information and resources regarding cheating and plagiarism – please visit the website at https://www.falmouth.k12.ma.us/Page/1038.

    Academic Dishonesty Process:

    Findings of Academic Dishonesty are taken seriously at FHS and are not made lightly. They will be made with all due process protections on a case by case basis with full consideration of all relevant facts and circumstances.

    If a student disputes a teacher’s finding of academic dishonesty, the following process applies: Student, with a parent/guardian if so desired, shall meet with the teacher and the respective department head, and, if requested, the grade level assistant principal.

    If the student wishes to appeal the decision reached as a result of this meeting, the student must submit the appeal in writing to the principal.

    Academic Dishonesty Information and Resources:

    Plagiarism FAQ’s

    How do I know that I have plagiarized?

    If there is an idea, two sentences, or item in your paper or project that you didn’t create and have not cited (given another source credit for), you have plagiarized.   When your name is on a paper you turn in, you are stating that anything in that paper that you have not cited, is your idea/intellectual property. Failing to alert the reader to what is not your idea is lying.

    Does this happen accidentally?

    Sometimes. However, accidental plagiarism is still plagiarism.

    How does it happen accidentally?

    When you cite information incorrectly, or forget to cite it at all, it is plagiarism.

    But what’s the big deal?

    The big deal is: Plagiarism is cheating. When you plagiarize, another person’s work is being evaluated in your name. It is unfair to other students who have worked hard on their projects and presented their own ideas. It is theft of intellectual property, which is the same as downloading a movie or stealing an iPod. It is, in fact, illegal in the state of Massachusetts.

    Ok. How do I avoid plagiarism?

    1. Give yourself plenty of time to work on your project. You need time to ask questions, clarify assignment requirements, do the research, rewrite, and understand the material with which you are working.
    2. Take thorough notes. Be careful with your analysis. Make sure you note which information you are getting from what source. The era of “copy and paste” makes it easy to take the information that you want to use in your paper or project, but it also makes it easy to forget from where it came. WRITE THE SOURCE DOWN! (Tip from the pros: When you find information you want to use, paraphrase it --even if you want to use it in a quotation – and cite the source, even if paraphrased. Paraphrasing the idea forces you to summarize and interpret the idea in your own words. If you have trouble paraphrasing the author’s argument, you don’t understand it. Period. Stop and ask for help. Don’t cut and paste it to read over later in the hopes that two weeks from now, when you’re putting together the project, it will magically make sense to you.
    3. Cite your sources, correctly. Anytime you use someone else’s work (whether a direct quote, something you have paraphrased, a graph, facts, images, etc.) indicate this with a citation. Citations tell us what is your work and what belongs to someone else.

    Do I have to cite EVERYTHING?

    No. There are two types of things you do NOT need to cite.

    1. Your ideas, your thoughts, your graphs, your images, your films, your analysis, your summaries, your interpretations, are all yours to use as you please.
    2. You do not need to cite information that is considered common knowledge.

    What is common knowledge?

    There are two kinds of common knowledge.

    1. Facts: the fact is mentioned in five reliable reference sources and is well known in your culture.

    Examples: George Washington was the first U.S. President/There are 50 states in the United States of America/Santiago is the capital of Chile/Bears hibernate in winter.

    1. Folklore and urban legends:

    Examples: Rip Van Winkle/the story about the man who wakes up in a tub full of ice with a note on his chest telling him to call 911—his kidneys have been removed and are now for sale on the black market!

    Still not sure if it’s “common knowledge?” CITE IT!

    WARNING!! Some believe that anything that appears on the internet is “common knowledge.” This is FALSE! You need to cite any information you find based on the guidelines here.

    What DO I cite?

    Someone else’s written, spoken, or documented work. Anything you have paraphrased or quoted.

    Any information that is NOT common knowledge

    When in doubt, CITE IT! Better safe than sorry.

    Proper Citation Online Tutorial:

    Rutgers University, University Libraries. “The Cite is Right” Online Tutorial and Quiz with a Game Show Format:

    http://library.camden.rutgers.edu/EducationalModule/Plagiarism/

    **The foregoing rules regarding Academic Dishonesty were adapted from the George Mason University Honor Code, as well as the Student Handbooks at Brookline High School, Lexington High School, Wellesley High School, and Falmouth High School.

Last Modified on July 16, 2019