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Academic Integrity

This page is designed to help students gain access and knowledge on how to avoid common forms of plagiarism/cheating.

Pennridge High School

Plagiarism/Academic Integrity Guide

Plagiarism is a form of cheating. When you plagiarize, you take someone else’s words or ideas and present them as your own. This can occur by copying or sharing work, failing to cite sources properly (see MLA guide), or misrepresenting someone else’s words, work or ideas. Plagiarism can occur intentionally or unintentionally and at varying degrees of severity.

 Plagiarism/cheating at PHS includes, but is not limited to, the following:

-Copying/sharing work or assignments inappropriately or without teacher approval (i.e. hallway, study hall, lunch etc.)

-Using “cheat-sheet” during a test or sharing answers after the test (includes use of cell phones or other media)

-Using in-text citations but omitting a Works Cited page (unless otherwise directed)

-Use of assistive technology without approval (i.e. computation, translation or literary web sites)

-Copying, cutting, pasting, paraphrasing and/or summarizing incorrectly

-Using copyrighted images or music as one’s own or without citation


 How can you avoid plagiarism/cheating?

-DO NOT share your work unless approved by the teacher

-Use appropriate and approved sources (i.e. library issued Research Brochure/Pamphlet)

-Ask for help; seek guidance 

-Manage time and long-term assignments

-Complete assignments early

-Utilize tutoring, writing lab, or extra time with teacher(s)

-Use PHS web site/online resources for avoiding plagiarism



 Consequences for plagiarism/cheating at PHS include:

-Zero or reduced credit

-Redo of the assignment

-Detention (regular or SMD)

-Withdraw failure from class, suspension/AIP, or expulsion

-Suspension from extracurricular activities or sports

-Parent/teacher/administrative conference

-Academic Integrity Panel hearing


 If you plagiarize/cheat or are suspected of doing so…

-Be prepared to provide all materials/assignments in question

-Meet with teacher and/or administrator


 If the plagiarism/cheating issue is NOT resolved between the teacher and student(s)…

-Referral to Academic Integrity Panel

-Academic Integrity Panel Hearing

-Determination from Academic Integrity Panel regarding Plagiarism and Disciplinary Consequences


Plagiarism and its consequences are contained in the student handbook.

All students and parents must sign a letter, which states that you have received a student handbook/user agreement and reviewed it.

Signing this letter indicates you are aware of the plagiarism policy at Pennridge High School


Strategies for Avoiding Plagiarism

  1. To avoid plagiarism, PURPOSEFUL or INADVERTANT, you MUST give credit, which means you MUST use quotation marks and/or accurate parenthetical documentation whenever you use

ü  another person's wording, idea, opinion, or theory

ü  any facts, statistics, graphs, drawings--any pieces of information--that are not common knowledge

ü  quotations of another person's actual spoken or written words

ü  paraphrase/summary of another person's spoken or written words


  1. Put in quotations everything that comes directly from the text, especially when taking notes.


  1. Paraphrase, but be sure you are not just rearranging or replacing a few words.   Instead, read over what you want to paraphrase carefully; cover up the text with your hand, or close the text so you can't see any of it (and so aren't tempted to use the text as a "guide").  Write out the idea in your own words without peeking.


  1. Check your paraphrase against the original text to be sure you have not accidentally used the same phrases or words, and that the information is accurate.


5.    Check your source for accurate page number(s) and citation information.


Much of the preceding material is adapted with minor changes with the kind permission of Lisa Kurz (Indiana University) and Jane Bronfman (Capital Community College).


Helpful Information on Plagiarism


What is Common Knowledge?

ü  Common knowledge: facts that can be found in numerous places and are likely to be known by a lot of people. 

(Example: John F. Kennedy was elected President of the United States in 1960.) 

This is generally known information. You do not need to document this fact.


ü  However, you must document facts that are not generally known and ideas that interpret facts. 

(Example: According the American Family Leave Coalition's new book, Family Issues and Congress,           President Bush's relationship with Congress has hindered family leave legislation (6).) 

The idea that "Bush's relationship with Congress has hindered family leave legislation" is not a fact but an interpretation; consequently, you MUST parenthetically document (AKA cite) your source.

What is Quoting and Paraphrasing?

Quotation: using someone's words. When you quote, place the passage you are using in quotation marks, and document the source using MLA format.


Example: According to Peter S. Pritchard in USA Today, "Public schools need reform but they're irreplaceable in teaching all the nation's young" (14).

Paraphrase: using someone's ideas, but putting them in your own words. This is probably the skill you will use most when incorporating sources into your writing. Although you use your own words to paraphrase, you must still acknowledge the source of the information.  Carefully review the following examples of paraphrasing.


The original text from Elaine Tyler May's "Myths and Realities of the American Family" reads as follows:


Because women's wages often continue to reflect the fiction that men earn the family wage, single mothers rarely earn enough to support themselves and their children adequately. And because work is still organized around the assumption that mothers stay home with children, even though few mothers can afford to do so, child-care facilities in the United States remain woefully inadequate.


Version A Paraphrase:


Since women's wages often continue to reflect the mistaken notion that men are the main wage earners in the family, single mothers rarely make enough to support themselves and their children very well. Also, because work is still based on the assumption that mothers stay home with children, facilities for child care remain woefully inadequate in the United States.


Plagiarism: In Version A there is too much direct borrowing of sentence structure and wording. The writer changes some words, drops one phrase, and adds some new language, but the overall text closely resembles May's. Even with a citation, the writer is still plagiarizing because the lack of quotation marks indicates that Version A is a paraphrase, and should thus be in the writer's own language.



Version B Paraphrase:


As Elaine Tyler May points out, "women's wages often continue to reflect the fiction that men earn the family wage" (588). Thus many single mothers cannot support themselves and their children adequately. Furthermore, since work is based on the assumption that mothers stay home with children, facilities for day care in this country are still "woefully inadequate." (May 589).


Plagiarism: The writer now cites May, so we're closer to telling the truth about the relationship of our text to the source, but this text continues to borrow too much language.


Version C Paraphrase:


By and large, our economy still operates on the mistaken notion that men are the main breadwinners in the family. Thus, women continue to earn lower wages than men. This means, in effect, that many single mothers cannot earn a decent living. Furthermore, adequate day care is not available in the United States because of the mistaken assumption that mothers remain at home with their children.


Plagiarism: Version C shows good paraphrasing of wording and sentence structure, but May's original ideas are not acknowledged. Some of May's points are common knowledge (women earn less than men, many single mothers live in poverty), but May uses this common knowledge to make a specific and original point and her original conception of this idea is not acknowledged.


Version D Paraphrase:


Women today still earn less than men — so much less that many single mothers and their children live near or below the poverty line. Elaine Tyler May argues that this situation stems in part from "the fiction that men earn the family wage" (588). May further suggests that the American workplace still operates on the assumption that mothers with children stay home to care for them (589).

This assumption, in my opinion, does not have the force it once did. More and more businesses offer in-house day-care facilities. . .


No Plagiarism: The writer makes use of the common knowledge in May's work, but acknowledges May's original conclusion and does not try to pass it off as his or her own. The quotation is properly cited, as is a later paraphrase of another of May's ideas.



The bottom line is that it is the student’s responsibility to guard against plagiarism and to present an accurate MLA formatted paper.   We expect academic honesty from Pennridge High School students.



A Statement on Plagiarism.  Capital Community College Library.  20 Jan. 2006           <http://www.ccc.commnet.edu/mla/plagiarism.shtml>.

Writing Tutorial Services.  Plagiarism: What It Is and How to Recognize and Avoid It.  2004.  Indiana           University.  20 Jan. 2006 http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/pamphlets/plagiarism.shtml.



How to Avoid Plagiarism