I have noticed that students in my classroom these days seem to lack an academic code of honor.
  1. I have had students copy answers from other students at will, with or without the other student's permission.
  2. I have had students do part of an assignment for another student and then turn it in as the other student's work, even though the handwriting is obviously different.
  3. I have had students who have turned in work that was completed for them by another student or a teacher and claim the work as their own.
  4. Students have taken the work of another student off of my desk to copy the answers.
  5. Students have used notes on tests when it was not allowed.
  6. Students have asked questions of other students while taking the test.
  7. Students have turned their papers in a manner which makes it easier for another student to see their work.
  8. Take home tests have become group projects, with students turning in only the correct answer.
  9. Students have taken exams late so that they can get answers from students who have had their exams returned.
  10. Students have scanned the work of another student who has completed the homework and has the correct equations into the computer to make the distribution of multiple copies of the correct homework equations easier.
  11. Students routinely divide assignments into parts and then exchange the answers to their part for the answers to the parts they did not do.

The big reason for the lack of academic integrity appears to be students who want a high grade for work that is careless, incomplete, or non-existent. Students appear to be trying to obtain a high grade without putting in the required thought or work. Grades are supposed to be a measure of a student's mastery of a subject, but that is not the case any more because student's often have high grades for homework and labs, yet perform miserably on exams. Over the last few years, those students who perform well on exams are those students who take responsibility for their work and do all of their own work. These students realize that the class and the assignments are about learning and understanding the concepts. These students achieve high grades the appropriate way and nothing discourages these students more than knowing that other students are getting high grades inappropriately. The high grades earned by students honestly loses value when other students obtain the same or similar grades in a manner which is not consistent with good academic practices.

I recognize the value of students working together on assignments and laboratory exercises and I do encourage that. Collaboration often results in accelerated learning, but only if each student takes responsibility for mastering all of the material. Students learn very little when they work only one or two problems, share these with the group, and then copy the rest of the answers from the other group members. Collaboration does not work when some students see it as a way for them to complete the assignment with a minimum amount of effort or thought. Working together in a group works well if each member works all of the problems and then takes responsibility for explaining a couple of the problems to the other members of the group. I encourage you to talk over problems with other students to agree on what the problem or question is asking and how the solution should be obtained and then working independently to produce the answer. As for labs, a clearly identified group of students may work together in developing answers to the lab questions and then turn in the work as joint work with all their names included, indicating co-authorship of the answers.

I will operationally define the practices which I consider to be cheating or an attempt to acquire high grades inappropriately. Cheating involves:
  1. copying any information from another student's coursework, with or without the knowledge of that student. This includes copying all or part of another student's assignment or exam; allowing another student to copy all or part of your assignment or exam.
  2. allowing another student or teacher do all or part of an assignment or exam for you.
  3. doing all or part of another student's assignment or exam.
  4. the reproduction (in any manner, including written, photocopied, carbon, or electronic) of the final working equations needed to complete a UT homework assignment. General equations or equations I provide can be shared. The sharing, in any manner, of equations in which all a student has to do is substitute their numbers in place of yours is not allowed.
  5. changing or creating data in a research assignment or laboratory exercise, without the express authorization of the teacher.
  6. using notes or other unauthorized aids, in printed or electronic form, on an exam. For example, using class notes, a textbook, or a programmable calculator when the use of such materials is not allowed.
  7. communicating in any manner with others during an exam, to include talking, sign language or other gestures, notes, text-messaging, or other use of technology to communicate.
  8. altering an assignment or exam for re-grading.
  9. acquiring an advance copy of an exam.
  10. stealing an examination or other course materials from the copy room or directly from the teacher.
  11. obtaining questions and/or answers from students who have already taken an exam or quiz you are scheduled to take.
  12. using or paraphrasing the work of another, including any document, audio-visual, or computer-based material, in preparing an assignment, laboratory report, or exam without proper identification of the source.
  13. hiding course materials or laboratory equipment that another student needs to prepare an assignment or complete a laboratory exercise.
  14. tampering or altering the laboratory experiment or computer files of another student.
  15. any use and submission of the ideas, arrangement of material, pattern of thought, words, or research of another individual without indicating the source of the information.

When cheating or plagiarism has occurred, any student who knowingly assists another student in cheating or plagiarism is just as guilty as the student receiving the help. A student who becomes aware of cheating or plagiarism is encouraged to report the incident to me.
As a student, if you are still not sure what I consider to be cheating or inappropriate academic conduct, all you have to do is ask and I will clarify the situation for you. Ultimately, it is your responsibility because it is your work and your grade.

Consequences for cheating or inappropriate academic conduct: a zero on the assignment for you and any other students involved and a minimum reduction of 15% for the nine weeks grade. Students caught cheating in an AP, Pre-AP, or Dual Credit course will be dropped from the course and placed in a Physics I course.

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