Academic honesty is a requirement for all schools, teachers and students in IB programmes and must be developed across the curriculum as part of a school’s approach to learning. From an early age, students can be taught in the Primary Years Programme (PYP) to recognize ownership of work and attribute accordingly. As students gain experience they can be taught a range of academic honesty skills so that by the time they meet externally validated assessment in the Middle Years Programme (MYP) or the Diploma Programme (DP), they have well-developed skills and can avoid pitfalls.
MYP students should learn key Approaches to Learning (ATL) skills such as citing and referencing, and be given opportunities to make mistakes and learn from them so that they are well prepared for further studies after the MYP.Academic honesty must be seen as a set of values and skills that promote personal integrity and good practice in teaching, learning and assessment.
All MYP students must understand the basic meaning and significance of concepts that relate to academic honesty, especially intellectual property and authenticity. However, a conceptual understanding alone is not sufficient; students must have the knowledge and practical skills to apply such concepts to their work.
Collaboration may be loosely defined as working together on a common aim with shared information, which is an open and cooperative behaviour that does not result in allowing one’s work to be copied or submitted for assessment by another. Collusion occurs when a student uses fellow learners as an unattributed source.
An authentic piece of work is one that is based on the student’s individual and original ideas. Therefore, all assignments for assessment, regardless of their format, must wholly and authentically use that student’s own language, expression and ideas.
Where the ideas or work of another person are represented within a student’s work, whether in the form of direct quotation or paraphrase, the source(s) of those ideas or the work must be fully and appropriately acknowledged.
Although the IB defines plagiarism as the representation of the ideas or work of another person as the student’s own, this definition alone does not provide students with sufficient information or guidance on what constitutes plagiarism and how it can be avoided. Students must receive guidance on when and how to include acknowledgments in their work. Similarly, the practice of paraphrasing is an ATL skill that must be taught so that students do not simply copy a passage, substitute a few words with their own and then regard this as their own authentic work. When using the words of another person, it must become habitual practice for a student to use quotation marks, indentation or some other accepted means of indicating that the wording is not their own. Furthermore, the source of the quotation (or paraphrased text) must be clearly identified, along with the quotation, and not reside in the bibliography alone. Using the words and ideas of another person to support one’s arguments is a fundamental part of any academic endeavour, and how to integrate these words and ideas with one’s own is an important skill that should be explicitly taught as an ATL skill.