Original thought that contributes to common knowledge and greater understanding is demanded of students across the country. New software that scans students’ work and rates the percentage of the document that is potentially plagiarized are being used in high school and college classrooms. One high school junior told us that her teacher returned her history term paper rough draft with specific comments where there was suspected plagiarizing, and told her the overall percentage of suspected plagiarizing that was acceptable for the final draft. Her teacher had used an online assignment collection site that analyzed potential plagiarism.
To see Fareed Zakaria, TIME magazine contributing editor, Washington Post Columnist and CNN host be suspended after taking responsibility for his plagiarized column shows students that everyone is upheld to the same standards. And, causes wonder if Mr. Zakaria was motivated to his “copying” for similar pressures that our students feel–to achieve at the highest levels no matter the cost and/or the sheer amount of work that students (or Mr. Zakaria) are responsible for completing. Although there is no acceptable excuse, perhaps there’s a context that could be more of a teachable moment for students, beyond, “Don’t do what Mr. Zakaria did.”
Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, is the Educational Partner at Creative Marbles Consultancy. She combines educational theory with practical advice, so families, schools and educators can continuously improve their work teaching the next generation. You can contact Jill at firstname.lastname@example.org or, read her short biography.