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Whole class plagerism?!?!

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Bonnie23, Nov 1, 2016.

  1. Bonnie23

    Bonnie23 Occasional commenter

    I'm in an utter nightmare with this one and I think my first initial thoughts are overwhelming me and I don't know how to deal with the situation.

    I've basically marked my Year 10 controlled assessment tonight and out of a class of 20, 15 of them have been caught with plagerising issues. For some it's the whole work, for others it's small areas but with the level of students that have plagerism I am completely freaking out for lack of a better term.

    I cannot submit this work for moderation, the whole group would be under threat.

    I marked their work a few weeks back and told them to make improvements; there weren't many issues with plagerism then. However now it seems that each of them have decided that the easier route is to plagerise; this isn't the odd sentence for some, it's huge amounts of work from websites. Their task is to do research on different things but they have taken that the wrong way.

    I have two groups of Year 10, one has absolutely no issues, one is full of plagerism. The plagerism group are significantly lower ability but as I'm a new teacher to them I feel like they are pushing their boundaries to an extreme.

    Their behaviour is under control but their attitude towards work seems to have come from a teacher they had last year who they completely walked over.

    Does anyone have any strategies for dealing with this? I'm even worried to tell my HOD because I'm worried I'll come under fire and this will be my fault.

    Right now I feel like a failure.
     
  2. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    Tell your HOD. You need the support and a dept. policy behind you to tackle this.
    My strategy with plagiarism on that scale is to show them the websites side by side with their work. I also do a lot of work with referencing and sources so they know what counts as research and what is plagiarism.
    Good luck.

    Should add - it's not your fault and you're not a failure.
     
  3. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    speak to your HoD. I do not know the rules of your controlled assessment but allowing them to make changes sounds to me like bending of the rules. Again, not your fault, often the process undertaken by a centre. Precisely the reason why i am glad it is gone. It has always been questionable.

    The plagiarism isn't your fault though.
     
  4. install

    install Star commenter

    Yes - tell your Hod @SLouise91 - and at least you have realised.

    Your HOD will be able to check the rules. It may be possible to do a different controlled assessment with a completely different title - if it is, your HOD should do it under the strictest of conditions.

    Your HOD will also need to decide what punishment / warning each of the students should receive and how this happened. For all you know - other groups may be doing this too, so let your HOD know.

    Honesty is the best policy.
     
  5. jago123

    jago123 Established commenter

    When is the deadline for these controlled assessments? I would inform the HoD immediately. They need to be aware of this and you could make the whole situation worse if you hide it from them.
    Next lesson with the group, explain that the previous assessments are invalid due to plagiarism and that all students will need to re-complete this.
     
    bevdex, les25paul and sabrinakat like this.
  6. Bonnie23

    Bonnie23 Occasional commenter

    They don't get sent off until summer of Year 11 so 2018 however we have multiple controlled assessments to do and we need to draw a line under it at some point.

    Thank you for all of your advice so far. It has been really helpful and reassuring
     
    emerald52 likes this.
  7. Thespirit82

    Thespirit82 New commenter

    If they have been allowed to take it away and improve then it is no longer 'controlled' - there shouldn't be any opportunity for plagiarism?

    Did they have exam computer log ins to complete the work on?

    I think you need to speak to your HOD asap and if this is standard centre practice, it isn't your fault.
     
    DYNAMO67 likes this.
  8. CandysDog

    CandysDog Occasional commenter

    It is worth pointing out, given the accusations made against the original poster, that controlled assessment task taking has different levels of control. While in many subjects, such as English, task taking is (was) done under high control (effectively exam conditions), other subjects have a lower level of control, which allow redrafting and some checking by the teacher. Given we don't know the subject, we cannot judge. We do know that this subject still has controlled assessment in 2018, which increases the chance of this being a subject with a lower level of control in the task taking of CA.

    In terms of the actual plagiarism, I agree with everyone else that involving the head of department is the way to go.
     
  9. emerald52

    emerald52 Star commenter

    Teach them how to reference. Website A says xxxxx however this is contradicted by website B when it states yyyyyy. It would appear that the most likely case is źzzzz.
     
    dzil and pepper5 like this.
  10. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Brilliant advice emersld52. That can be taught in year 7. A whole lesson given to it and some examples for them to keep.
     
    emerald52 likes this.
  11. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    You need to deal with it in a calm, professional manner, not freak out over it. First, document clearly the problem with examples. Don't seek to find blame e.g. their last teacher that they walked all over - that is unsubstantiated guesswork. Then email it to the HoD, with a brief summary in a few sentences, then request a meeting so you can all discuss and decide the way. Minute the meeting. Your freaking out is not the way I'd expect a professional to act and helps no one solve the problem.
     
  12. Skeoch

    Skeoch Lead commenter

    Lots of good advice here. Do check the regulations carefully with the Specification and I'd suggest you involve the Exams Officer as well.
    If these CAs are plagiarised you can't submit them and the candidates can't sign them as being their original work. So an alternative CA will need to be done, I would think. This CA could be used as a training and learning process so everything is not lost.
    In your discussions you'll need to consider the effect on CAs in other subjects, so there will need to be some sort of communication to colleagues; this best comes from SLT or the Exams Officer. There will also need to be communication to parents: best to be upfront about things like this rather than waiting for the rumour mill to get going and then having to go for damage limitation. Again SLT or Exams Officer, although you and HoD may well end up drafting the announcement.
    In discussion well worth establishing the development of this issue - if one group got it right, where did the second group get the idea of plagiarism from, and how was it propagated? Might be useful so that you can prevent or discourage recurrence.
    Also on locking the stable door, worth considering what training is given to candidates, what documents they are given as reminders, and what training is given to staff. In the latter case, both prevention and detection.
     
    pepper5 likes this.
  13. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    This could be dangerous for you if you do not take this to your Exams Officer or even Head of Centre (usually the Head). Plagiarism is clear malpractice (see the first document in http://www.jcq.org.uk/exams-office/malpractice) which must be reported to the exam board. From the link I give above, "Failure by a centre to notify, investigate and report to an awarding body all allegations of malpractice or suspected malpractice constitutes malpractice in itself." You can't hide behind telling your HoD and letting them carry the can.

    Perhaps the offence is not as serious as I am suggsting, but it is not your place to decide this. I suspect that some schools would go for the rap on the knuckles route and try to keep it quiet, and this will work some of the time, but it only needs one person who knows about it (a parent, perhaps) to spill the beans and we could then be talking about some people losing their careers.

    This is not your fault. At my school, students being entered for public exams were given a lecture on examination ethics and the consequences of malpractice. But, you could be in trouble if you don't report it. Possibly even if you do take it higher and the school does nothing.
     
    Laphroig likes this.
  14. Skeoch

    Skeoch Lead commenter

    Good points Piranha. But as the work is not yet submitted, it's sort-of in limbo and isn't (yet) malpractice: it would be as soon as submitted. I remember years back having to ask advice from the Subject Officer at the Awarding Body as we'd detected some plagiarism prior to submission. The guidance given at the time was not to submit the work, to allow alternative material to be submitted, and not to notify formally. I can't be sure that this is still the right advice. Incidentally the candidate concerned did have some alternative material which was (as far as we could tell) not plagiarised; it happened to be low-scoring, but was submitted. On another occasion only one piece of work was available and was clearly plagiarised; advice was to withdraw the candidate from the subject, which was done, again ahead of submission and no report sent to the Awarding Body.
     
  15. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    You might be right, @Skeoch, but I suspect that given this was being marked prior to moderation, then it had been submitted by the candidates. Submisison occurs when the work is presented for marking, not when the marks are sent in. If the candidate hands in plagiarised work, they are attempting to cheat. See the top example in section 5.10, when the school noticed plagiarism and reported it. In the first example you mention, the awarding Body was consulted - I think this should happen here. It is the only way the OP and the school can protect themselves against something really nasty happening.
     
  16. emerald52

    emerald52 Star commenter

    I'm not sure this is cheating rather a misunderstanding of academic conventions. For a low ability child they feel that they have found the information therefore have done the work. They have be made aware it is someone else's work. It is a lack of training in referencing.
     
  17. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Yes, it may well not been deliberate cheating, but handing in plagiarised work for marking does, as far as I can see from the regulations, amount to malpractice. Ignorance of the rules is not deemed to be a valid excuse - see the second example under section 5.10 of the link I gave earlier. The exam board may be lenient (should be, in my opinion) but it is their decision, not that of the school.
     
  18. CandysDog

    CandysDog Occasional commenter

    Plagiarism only needs to be reported to the exam board if it is detected after a student has signed the cover sheet (as that is when the student is formally stating that the work is his/her own).

    If plagiarism is detected prior to the sheet being signed, it does not need to be reported to the exam board.

    The exact rules are on pages 27–28 of the JCQ's controlled assessment regulations.

    Given the students concerned are half a term into Year 10, it is highly unlikely they have signed the cover sheets, so this will be an internal matter for the school.
     
    ValentinoRossi and emerald52 like this.
  19. CaptGrimesRetd

    CaptGrimesRetd Occasional commenter

    You simply must inform HoD. If you don't and someone else discovers the plagiarism, then at the very best you will look daft and at the worst there could be all sorts of accusations. Tell them - after all they earn money to sort out things like this.
     
  20. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    When I taught, mass use of websites as 'work' merely got the kid a very low mark for inability to state own thoughts and poor referencing/arguing skills. This is incredibly common with low ability sets.

    If the work is that poor (and evidently 'lifted' from websites) you may need to just tell the group 'it aint good enough and we need to start from scratch' and show them what is needed, many kids actually think a mass copy and paste job actually constitutes a valid piece of assessment!
     
    emerald52 likes this.

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