It has unfortunately become obvious to the teachers and directors at Scholars Online that some students and even some parents are confused about what constitutes appropriate use of resources in completing assignments or taking exams. In an age where students have easy access not only to online encyclopedias, but to illegally or imprudently published answer keys and applications that do the work for them, we are seeing more and more inappropriate use of resources, which is simply cheating and plagiarism. We are publishing this policy statement so that our students and their parents will be able to adhere to the highest principles of academic integrity, without which we cannot maintain the trust required in any academic community at any level, or recognize the true achievements of our students.
Academic integrity basically means that one accepts all responsibility for his or her own actual efforts at scholarship, whether in pursuit of new information (research) or mastery of a subject (education). Because acquiring mastery of a subject or the tools of critical thinking requires one to develop and practice thinking, reasoning, composing, calculating, and explaining ideas and positions, and to undergo periodic evaluations of progress against some common standard, a student cannot substitute the work of others as his or her own for any assignment, or circumvent the standards imposed for any reason.
Cheating undercuts the whole point of education, which is learning to do something yourself. It involves lying to your peers, your teacher, and yourself about the work you have actually done for a course.
Scholars Online recognizes as cheating any actual or attempted practice of fraudulent or deceptive acts, whether for the purpose of improving one's own grade or not, or any encouragement or assistance provided to another student engaged in such acts. To cheat means intentionally to misrepresent the source, nature, or other conditions of academic work, or to cooperate with someone else in such misrepresentation.
We also recognize plagiarism as a specific form of cheating that consists of the misuse of the published or unpublished works of others by misrepresenting the material as one's own work.
Cheating includes (but is not necessarily limited to):
Please note that in some states, it is a misdemeanor to use email, social networking sites, or other online means (this includes the Scholars Online chat and Moodle environments) to impersonate someone. Civil penalties may be added to those of the academic institution in these states.
Plagiarism includes (but is not necessarily limited to):
In order to protect the reputation of Scholars Online, its accreditation status, and the reputation of its students and just recognition of their accomplishments, teachers are obligated to notify the administration if they have strong suspicion of cheating or proof of cheating. The administration independently reviews all suspect student work, and contacts students and parents to clarify discrepancies, before making a final determination.
Depending on the nature of the offense, students may be required to take zero credit on an assignment or an exam, zero credit for the course, or may face suspension or expulsion. Students on scholarship may also face the loss of future scholarship options if they persist.
A student suspended for cheating or plagiarism may return to class only with the approval of the administration and the teacher, after formal apology has been made to all teachers and students in all affected courses. He or she will receive no credit for work done for the course to that point.
A student expelled for cheating or plagiarism will lose all credit for all courses on the transcript, whether suspect or not, and forfeits all payments for tuition and fees for courses in which the student is currently enrolled. If the student is on scholarship, Scholars Online will require that the scholarship amount be restored to the scholarship fund.
In preparing this policy, we have reviewed the definitions of academic integrity, cheating, and plagiarism, as well as the policies for handling cases of academic dishonesty, at a number of colleges, universities, and public and private high schools. The provisions of this policy are in line with the academic standards and penalties recognized at all levels of education, public and private.
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