Academic Integrity

The shared values of all members of the Keystone Academy community – students, parents, teaching and support staff – remind us that we agree to “act in ways that show respect, compassion, and consideration for others.” These core values, rooted in the Confucian Tradition, call us to become our best selves. Academic work affords us the opportunity to develop not only our knowledge and perseverance, but to embody our community’s values of Li (Respect) and Xin (Honesty) in very practical ways.  Academic integrity is likewise integral to the Keystone Diploma and Middle School Programmes.  Students are taught and expected to be “principled” learners who take advantage of the learning opportunities which can only be fully embraced when a student does work which is authentically his or her own. 

Keystone’s policy on Academic Integrity supports the growth and learning of students, and the cohesiveness of the academic community. We believe that upholding the highest standards of academic honesty and integrity is the work of the whole school, including students, teachers, library staff, parents, and administrators. This document outlines the complementary roles and responsibilities that each group has in order to ensure:

•     Students understand clearly the importance of academic honesty, and are equipped with the tools necessary to produce academic work of high caliber.

•     The integrity of the Keystone community, and the development of the character of individuals who comprise it.

A Definition of Academic Integrity

To act with Academic Integrity is to produce schoolwork that is authentically your own, while also acknowledging the contributions and ideas of others.

Students and teachers alike create original work, often in collaboration with others, and always in conversation with ideas, concepts and forms that have come before. We often take in information and apply ourselves earnestly to practice that information (lianxi) as the first step in developing deep and refined mastery (jing). Over time, we develop insight that combines our own response to material with that of previous thinkers, our classmates and our teachers.

The greater academic community of which Keystone is a part demands that students, in all their work, honestly represent their own achievement in mastering material, and acknowledge forthrightly where and when they are building on the ideas of others. This virtuous honesty (xin) is at the heart of the academic notion of integrity – to show outwardly understanding that one has worked to develop internally, and to give due credit and respect (li) to those who have collaborated in that process. Academic work is not only about knowing things: it is also about becoming a good and wise person.

Academic integrity extends beyond the classroom setting.  Students must be honest and accurately represent the origin of all of their work.  This includes, but is not limited to: college or application essays, presentations in school meetings, or other competitions and activities outside of the traditional academic context.

Roles and Responsibilities: A Partnership of the Whole Community

Keystone Classroom Teachers:

•     Teachers guide students in developing skills to help students act with academic integrity and avoid academic malpractice.

•     In their written course overviews and in classroom discussion, teachers are explicit about their expectations for academic honesty and what that looks like in their subject area. Those expectations are shared among colleagues, and clearly communicated to students, parents, and administrators.

•     Teachers model good practice in citation and attribution in the preparation of class materials, and they instruct their students in these techniques. 

•     Teachers scaffold skills as appropriate and follow processes in order to provide opportunities for consistent communication through challenging work. 

•     Teachers are consistent in their expectations of academic integrity for all elements of coursework, including homework, tests, papers, and presentations.

•     Teachers address issues of academic malpractice in a forthright and timely manner.

•     Teachers remain open to conversations with their students about course expectations and deadlines, establishing a supportive classroom dynamic along with maintaining high expectations.

Keystone Library Staff:

•     The library staff collaborates with classroom teachers to develop research strategies and citation skills appropriate to each discipline area.

•     The library staff engages in a partnership with classroom teachers to develop, clearly communicate and support expectations of academic integrity.

Keystone Parents:

•     Parents talk with their children about the implications of academic integrity.

•     Parents encourage their children to do as much work as they can on their own and to approach teachers for support.

•     Parents familiarize themselves with the academic integrity policy of the Academy in order to support their children in accordance with our expectations.

•     Parents allow their children to make mistakes, to find their own voice, and to struggle with academic work: this is the process that results in deep and abiding learning.

Keystone Students:

•     Ask questions of their teachers, librarians, and parents if they are unsure of citation requirements or their responsibilities as members of an academic community.

•     Follow processes and structures of academic classes in order to provide themselves with opportunities to work with teachers through difficulties. 

•     Accept that academic work is often difficult, and that struggle and perseverance is central to the development of their understanding and their character, even if it does not result in the grades they had hoped for.

•     Use self management strategies in order to effectively complete assignments in the allotted time period.

•     Refrain from any form of academic malpractice, even when they feel under pressure.

•     Never put classmates in the compromising position of having to overlook or contribute to academic malpractice. 

•     Communicate honestly and openly with parents and teachers when they are not prepared.

Keystone Administrators:

•     Ensure that expectations for Academic Integrity are shared, and consistently applied, among all teachers.

•     Ensure that expectations of academic honesty and citation requirements in individual courses are clearly communicated to students and parents.

•     Communicate in a timely manner with parents, students, and the teacher when an incident of academic malpractice arises, including the process for a formal school response.

If a student is suspected of academic malpractice, as described below, teachers have a duty to undertake a brief investigation, and report the incident to school leadership, who will investigate further. If an incident of plagiarism, cheating, collusion, duplication of work, or other academic malpractice is substantiated, the student will be subject to the school’s disciplinary process and academic sanctions, as outlined in the Keystone Community Handbook.

Examples of Academic Malpractice

Schools are demanding environments. We all are busy, and we all want to do well. The Internet has made resources more readily available to us, and students can often feel pressured to attain high achievement in every facet of their lives. These facts, together, can conspire to create situations where a student may be tempted to cut and paste material from a website into a paper without proper citation, or glance at a classmate’s paper during a quiz – any number of shortcuts that attempt to display outwardly what is not yet possessed internally.

Academic Malpractice includes, but is not limited to:

1.     Cheating and Collusion

a.     Giving or receiving information about the content or format of assessments in advance, or giving or receiving answers during a quiz or test.

b.    Attempting to gain unfair advantage by possessing and/or referring to notes, outlines, calculators, translators, etc. during assessments, unless explicitly allowed by your teacher.

c.     Allowing one’s work to be copied or submitted for assessment by another student.

d.    Having someone else do work assigned to you.

e.     Allowing  outside  tutors or others  to create or alter the  content  and  quality  of  your  work  without  explicit authorization from the teacher.

f.     Seeking assistance from resources outside of the Keystone Community without prior authorization from your teacher.

g.    Offering unauthorized assistance to another student.

h.     Using a calculator, translator, or other electronic device in a manner inconsistent with your teacher’s direction.

2.     Plagiarism

a.     Knowingly submitting the ideas or work of others as your own and without giving credit where it is due.

b.    Paraphrasing without proper attribution.

c.     Using images, data, artwork, maps, videos or other audio/visual property without proper attribution. 

3.   Duplicating work

a.     Presenting the same, or largely the same, work for credit or as ungraded homework in different classes.

Keystone classrooms are supportive environments, and we urge students to communicate openly and honestly with their teachers when they do not feel prepared for assessments or are unable to meet deadlines. We want our students to develop their academic knowledge and skills in ways that also develop their good character. Acknowledging a temporary deficiency, accepting a relatively minor consequence, and trying harder next time is much better than showing disrespect for the learning process, one’s peers, and the teacher.

Consequences of Academic Malpractice at Keystone Academy

Keystone Academy expects that students will act with academic integrity in all of their academic work.  This includes formative or summative work, as well as drafts and final submissions.  As academic malpractice is a violation of Major School Rule 2, Honesty and Personal Integrity, a student may experience disciplinary consequences as a result of an infraction.  In serious and/or repeated cases, a disciplinary committee will be convened to examine the case.  Consequences could include one or more of the following:

i.     Ineligibility to earn credit for an assignment, course, or diploma;

ii.     Probation;

iii.    Suspension from school;

iv.    Separation from the school.

The following will apply to any instance of academic malpractice:

First Instance:

1.    Teacher speaks with student when he or she suspects academic dishonesty. 

2.    Teacher reports incident to Grade Level Leader (GLL) and Dean of Students (DOS).  GLL/DOS informs the following of the incident: advisor, IB coordinator, division head, department leader. 

3.    Student will have a meeting with two of the faculty members listed above to better understand the circumstances regarding the case of academic malpractice.  If it is determined that malpractice has been committed, the following will happen:      

a.     Student must redo assignment based on criteria set by teacher, and criterion levels and grade might be appropriately adjusted after the work is revised. A grade may be negatively affected if a student has compromised the opportunity to adequately demonstrate his or her own understanding or has gained an unfair advantage over other students.

b.    School informs parents or holds a parent meeting;

c.     Incident is recorded in Keystone’s student information systems;

d.    Student writes a reflection to be discussed with advisor.

Second Instance:

The consequences for a second instance of academic malpractice will follow the same process as in a first instance.  Additionally:

1.    Parents will meet with the DOS and Division Head.

2.    A disciplinary committee meeting may be held with the student to determine further consequences.

Third and Further Instances:

The consequences for a third instance of academic malpractice will follow the process as described above in the first and second instances. While we understand that students do make mistakes, we also expect our students to be honest and reflective in the opportunity to learn from these mistakes.  For this reason, repeated incidents of academic malpractice put a student’s standing in our community in jeopardy. The following will happen if a student has committed a third violation of academic malpractice: 

1.    Parents will be informed of the situation and possible outcomes.

2.    A disciplinary committee meeting will be held with the student.  This committee will make a recommendation to the Head of School regarding consequences.

3.    The Head of School will make a final decision and communicate with the family.

Diploma Programme Specifications:

All students in the IBDP will sign a statement of authenticity for draft and final submissions, including internally and externally moderated assessments. In such cases, the above consequences will apply in addition to IB disciplinary measures that may compromise the awarding of the Diploma.

A Last Word

Keystone Academy is about learning.

We make this policy statement in support of students and their development, both in the classroom and as members of a community. It is a statement about trust, high expectations, and the structures that lead to student success, rather than mistrust and punishment. Ensuring Academic Integrity is a collaborative effort, and vitally important to the young people who live and learn within our walls. The success of one is the success of us all.

Academic Integrity Scenarios

We encourage you to read the following scenarios and consider whether or not academic malpractice has occurred. 

Student A is taking a MAP test.  Students were instructed to not use any additional sources for this assessment, but when Student A clicks on the dictionary on her computer, she finds that it still works.  Should she use the dictionary?

No, she shouldn’t.  Students must always follow the instructions regarding acceptable resources, and should not simply rely on whether or not something is accessible.   Additionally, academic integrity is important whether it is part of an academic course or not. 

Student B turns in a draft for his World Civilizations paper without a works cited page or in-text citations.  This was part of the instructions sheet.  He decided he will do that part last and turns in the work without citations.  Is this academic malpractice?

Yes.  Proper citations should be used as instructed by the teacher in both draft and final assessments turned in to a teacher.

Student C works with his private tutor on a musical composition.  He does not update his Keystone teacher in regards to rough drafts and does not consult with the teacher about receiving outside assistance.  Is this academic malpractice?

Yes.  Students must gain authorization from their classroom teachers before working with a tutor on work for their course.  Tutors may not work with students on any assessed work. 

Student D allows Student E to copy her homework because Student E has been out ill for a long time and is still catching up on work.  Student E is guilty of academic malpractice.  Is Student D as well?

Yes.  Student D has committed academic malpractice by allowing another student to copy her work. 

Students F is writing a physics lab, but the data doesn’t seem to make sense.  He decides to use the data from Student G, but still does the rest of the work himself.  Has academic malpractice occurred? What could student F do instead of copying the data?

Yes.  Students F and G are both guilty of academic malpractice.  Student F should talk to his or her teacher and follow the instructions given.  If the teacher would like to supply Student F with data, he or she will determine how that will happen. 

Student H is working on a TOK presentation, which happens to be on the same topic as her sister’s Masters thesis.  Her sister is home from college for break, so she offers her assistance.  Should Student H discuss this assessment with her sister?

No, she should not, because this is assessed work.  However, if Student H consults with her teacher and properly cites her sister, it may be allowed.  Student H should follow the process and instructions given by her teacher, and should cite the origin of the ideas she includes in her presentation.