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Avoiding Plagiarism for FCPS Faculty & Students: Academic Integrity in FCPS

This LibGuide contains information and resources for faculty and students to learn about plagiarism and how to avoid it.

FCPS Academic Integrity Basics

Academic Integrity Defined:

Academic integrity is behaving honestly with regard to your classwork.

Basic values that demonstrate academic integrity:

  • Fairness
  • Honesty
  • Respect
  • Trust
  • Responsibility 

Academic Dishonesty

Frederick County Public School's Policies & Procedures for Cheating and Plagiarism are found within the FCPS Calendar Handbook, which is given to every FCPS student and is also located on the FCPS Calendar Handbook and Information webpage (see "Cheating" or "Plagiarism" in the index at the back of the Calendar Handbook).

In addition, every school publishes a Student Handbook which may have additional information about cheating, plagiarism, and academic integrity, which can be found on every school website. 

Here is the full text of the FCPS policy: 

Cheating and Plagiarism Defined:

The nature of the schooling experience demands the highest standards of integrity on the part of all involved. Cheating is disseminating or receiving answers, data or other information by any means other than those permitted by the teacher as part of any academic exercise. Plagiarism is deliberately presenting work, words, ideas, theories, etc. derived in whole or in part from a source external to the student as though they are the student’s own efforts. In addition, any incident of such behavior will be subject to the guidelines of Regulation 400-08 (see "Cheating" and "Plagiarism" on pp. 7-8 in section H on "Responsibility for Maintaining Public Decency and Ethical Behavior").

 

The FCPS Calendar Handbook and many school Student  Handbooks also outline student responsibilities when it comes to cheating, plagiarism, and overall academic integrity. A summary is as follows:

Student Responsibilities: 

  • Understanding the definition of cheating and the types of conduct that are deemed unacceptable.

  • Refraining from cheating, plagiarizing, facilitating academic dishonesty, abusing academic materials, stealing, or lying.

  • Reporting every instance in which the student has knowledge that academic dishonesty has taken place

Consequences for Violating Academic Integrity

Most penalties are determined by the teacher, administrator, and the academic guidelines laid out by the district and school. Check with your individual instructors and read the syllabus to learn about the specific penalties of each class.

Minimal consequences may include: 

  • Letter grade mark down for the assignment
  • Zero on assignment
  • Letter grade mark down for the course
  • Parent Contact by Teacher
  • Referral to Administration 
  • Educational Activity

Other possible consequences may include: 

  • Academic Probation
  • Referral to Honor Societies/Possible Dismissal
  • Administrative Disciplinary Consequences (Up to and Including Expulsion)

Real-world consequences for violating academic integrity:

The ideas behind academic integrity do not only apply to schoolwork.  Employers expect their employees to perform their jobs with fairness, honesty, respect, and responsibility to deserve the employer's trust. 

Here are just a few non-grade-related reasons to practice academic integrity:

  • Failing a college course due to academic dishonesty means money and time wasted
    • If the course was a required course, then you'll need to pay to take the same course again.
  • Copying someone else's work = not learning something yourself
    • If your employer sees a course on your resume and/or transcript, they will assume you learned the content and can use that knowledge/skill on the job.

 

Are FCPS Teachers Checking for Plagiarism?

In a word, yes.

While FCPS does not subscribe to an official plagiarism detection tool at this time, there are many methods of detection, including free online software and simple Google checks to find matching phrases, all of which may be employed by FCPS faculty.

Teachers are also alerted to the possibility of lifted material when they observe mismatched fonts and other formatting oddities within the body of a student paper. In addition, language and sentence structure not typically used by a student in written pieces may also prompt the use of plagiarism detectors. 

See Plagiarism Detectors for a  list of free online plagiarism detectors for faculty and students. 

TIP: If you’ve correctly cited all the sources you used, then you do not need to use a plagiarism checker before submitting your paper to your instructor. However, if you want to be sure that you didn’t forget to cite anything, then you can use a plagiarism checker yourself.

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