Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting Writing Team: Sara Bauer, Sue Danic, Janet Dixon

Teacher-Librarians, Waterloo Region District School Board

Students must understand that the tests/exams they complete and the assignments they submit for evaluation must be their own work and that cheating and plagiarism will not be condoned” (Growing Success 42).

“It is the responsibility of Board staff and parents/guardians to help support students in striving for excellence and producing work with integrity. One way they can do this is to help students understand the meaning and consequences of cheating and plagiarism” (Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting Handbook 21).

“School staff will explore the issues of cheating and plagiarism with students (e.g. model correct referencing of sources in handouts, review the definition and consequences of plagiarism, etc.) at the beginning of the school year/course for all subject areas to ensure students’ understanding of the meaning of cheating and plagiarism and the consequences to their learning” (Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting Handbook 21).

The focus of the school library program is uniquely cross-curricular, and has a mandate to design, facilitate and support learning experiences for all students. The Ontario School Library curriculum document, Together for Learning: School Libraries and the Emergence of the Learning Commons, describes the Discovery and Guided Inquiry model that is common to all research projects and is embedded in most curricula. This model lays out the process for scaffolding learning for success and embedding essential and recurring skills and knowledge. This model promotes the integrity of the learner in such areas as plagiarism, intellectual property, and copyright issues, and teacher-librarians can offer specific expertise in this area.

The initial goal of the Teacher-Librarian Association is to provide a foundation for all grade nine students, a consistent message about academic honesty and plagiarism, a unit that can be delivered to grade 9 students in every school by the Teacher-Librarian. This will ensure that students have been made aware of what plagiarism means, what the consequences are and most importantly, how to avoid it. The skills they will learn through this intervention are transferable to all subject areas and will become part of good research practice.

While these anti-plagiarism skills will be introduced to all grade nine students, it is understood that it is the classroom teacher’s responsibility to continue to use and assess these skills.

Effective inquiry skills are integral to avoiding plagiarism and as this is a three-year project, it is the intent of Teacher-Librarians to provide teachers with assistance in developing powerful plagiarism-proof research assignments, and teaching students the skills necessary to successfully undertake such assignments. These important inquiry skills need to be addressed in each year of high school.

Over-all Student Expectations

Discovery and Guided Inquiry Skills

Two facets of the Ontario School Library Association’s (OSLA) guided inquiry model that apply directly to this plagiarism and academic honesty policy are the need to:  “embed essential and recurring skills and knowledge” and “scaffold learning for success” (Together for Learning 23).

Most Ontario curriculum emphasizes the importance of guided inquiry.

Character Education and Learning Skills

Character education is embedded in all Ontario Curriculum, and the OSLA’s Together for Learning document. Waterloo Region District School Board has further emphasized the importance of it via Board Policy 2004: Character Education and Social-Emotional Skills Development.

"Character development is about excellence in education...and students who will think critically, feel deeply and act wisely” (Finding Common Ground: Character Development in Ontario Schools, K-12).

"The development of learning skills and work habits [are] an integral part of a student's learning" (Growing Success 10). It is an expectation that teachers will work with students to help them develop such skills as responsibility and organization. Sample behaviours that apply to the issues of plagiarism and academic honesty are indicated below:

The student “takes responsibility for and manages own behaviour” (Growing Success 11).

The student “identifies, gathers, evaluates and uses information, technology and resources to complete tasks" (Growing Success 11).

For a list of consequences  for plagiarism or cheating, please consult: Waterloo Region District School Board Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting Handbook 2013,  page 43.

The Importance of Individual Growth:

"Character education is at the soul of the Learning Commons...Issues such as plagiarism, privacy and copyright require surprisingly complex and deep understanding...A successful Learning Commons promotes values such as intellectual curiosity, respect, responsibility and initiative - all essential to personal and social growth" (Together for Learning 32).

  • "Respect[s] privacy, intellectual property and intellectual freedom"
  • "Valu[es] other individuals' ideas and cultures"
  • "Practic[es] safe and ethical behaviours" (Together for Learning 32).

Students will “demonstrate respect for intellectual property and practice academic honesty” (Together for Learning 18).

Big Ideas

“Students are responsible for being academically honest in all aspects of their schoolwork” (Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting Handbook  21).

“Society needs citizens who have respect for others and who understand their responsibilities in participating in a safe and lawful society. Issues such as plagiarism, privacy, intellectual property, copyright, bias, stereotyping and gender all require deep understanding, as well as reasoned acceptance or rejection. With today’s nearly unlimited amount of information available and vast amounts of unfettered content to be shared, these considerations have become even more sensitive and significant” (Together for Learning 29).

The following specific expectations from two Ontario grade 9 curriculum documents demonstrate the fact that the inquiry process and plagiarism and academic honesty concerns are addressed in many subject areas.

Grade 9 English, Academic, 2007, Revised
Writing: Specific Expectation
1.3 "Locate and select information to support ideas for writing, using several different strategies and print, electronic, and other resources, as appropriate (e.g, ...summarize/paraphrase research notes on index cards; record all sources of information in a list of works cited or references, observing conventions for proper documentation and full acknowledgment of sources and extracts, in recognition of the need to credit original authors and promote academic honesty...)" (48).

Grade 9 Science, Academic, 2008, Revised
Scientific Exploration Skills: Specific Expectation
A 1.7 "Select, organize and record relevant information on research topics from various sources, including electronic, print and/or human resources..., using recommended formats and an accepted form of academic documentation" (48).

Essential Skills

What is Plagiarism?

Students will be able to:

  • define plagiarism

  • identify types of plagiarism

  • identify real world and potential consequences of plagiarism

How do students avoid Plagiarizing?

Students will be able to:

  • paraphrase

  • use note taking templates

  • accurately document and cite sources - e.g. source logs and citation guides for each type of resource (book, Virtual Library resource, web site, image, etc.)

The resources attached are meant to support formative assessments. Final products will be decided on by classroom teachers.

Teacher librarians are happy to collaborate with teachers to create plagiarism-proof research activities.

Grade Nine Skills Development Resources

Introduction to Plagiarism

Plagiarism Introduction

This presentation is a basic introduction to plagiarism, how to avoid it, how to paraphrase and cite.

Monster Assignment

This is an example of an ESL research project that, while not completely plagiarism-proof, has been designed to discourage plagiarism because of embedded process skills. This project includes practice with paraphrasing and the recording of sources. A rubric is included for the inquiry skills component of the project. The project uses the online note-taking sheets attached below.

Guided Inquiry (Research) Skills Rubric

This template includes criteria for assessment of all inquiry skills. Good inquiry skills are integral to avoiding plagiarism. This template can be modified and attached to any research project.

Plagiarism Tutorials

You Quote It, You Note It: Interactive Tutorial

Completing this tutorial helps students understand the meaning of intellectual property and how to avoid plagiarism.


from Vaughan Memorial Library, Acadia University

Goblin Threat Plagiarism Game

Students preserve academic integrity by locating the hidden goblins in various rooms at the college. Each goblin is attached to a question about plagiarism that must be answered successfully before moving on. A great review tutorial.


from Snowden Library, Lycoming College, Williamsport, PA

Senior Skills Development Resources

Senior Skills Development Resources

This presentation is for use with senior students to teach real world consequences of plagiarism, reasons for plagiarism, copyright guidelines, the WRDSB policy on plagiarism and tips to avoid plagiarism.


Designing Plagiarism-proof Assignments

Designing Plagiarism-proof assignments for teachers. This handout and presentation can be used with staff.


Documentation Resources

MLA Source Log

The Source Log is a comprehensive worksheet for students to track sources. It shows the correct MLA Works Cited format for a variety of source types.



MLA Style Guide

The Style Guide includes detailed instructions for the formatting of a MLA Works Cited page.


APA Source Log

The Source Log is a comprehensive worksheet for students to track sources. It shows the correct APA Reference list format for a variety of source types.



APA Style Guide

The Style Guide includes instructions for the formatting of an APA Reference list.


Chicago Manual Source Log

The Source Log is a comprehensive worksheet for students to track sources. It shows the correct Chicago Manual Reference list format for a variety of source types.



Informal Citation 

Library Learning Commons' guide for citing photos, etc in websites, powerpoints, etc.


Library Learning Commons Resources

Library Learning Commons: Academic Honesty/Plagiarism

The Library Learning Commons includes a wealth of information about different aspects of the Guided Inquiry process. This section includes resources to support instruction about plagiarism.


Library Learning Commons: Research Questions

One element that supports the design of plagiarism-proof assignments is the level of inquiry question required as the focus for research. This site reviews information about levels of questioning.


Useful Websites

Purdue University Online Writing Lab

This is an excellent website from Purdue University, on plagiarism and how to avoid it.

The content is suitable for senior students.


What is Plagiarism?

This is an excellent website that covers the plagiarism gamut, including how to cite. It’s easy to navigate and user friendly.


Types of Plagiarism

This resource includes cute graphics that show the types of plagiarism.