Wiley author Linda Suskie shares tips for educators on how to identify and root out plagiarism in the classroom.
1. Use detection judiciously.
- After papers are turned in, ask students to summarize them.
- Use online search engines to search for similar passages.
- Interview students or ask them to write reflectively about the process they used to write the paper.
2. Review papers for the following:
- Out-of-character work
- Abrupt changes in language, referencing systems, or vocabulary
- Fully finished works with no evidence of research and writing processes
- Anachronisms or only dated references
3. Explicitly teach and model academic rules, values, and conventions.
- Provide plenty of instruction, learning activities, and feedback that help students understand exactly what plagiarism and academic integrity are. Focus on what students should do rather than what they should not do. Test their understanding through realistic test questions and assignments on plagiarism.
- Model academic integrity in your own examples, lectures, and discussions by citing the sources to which you refer.
4. Provide opportunities for students to learn, practice, and get feedback on research and writing skills.
- In your discipline.
5. Use fair assessment practices.
- Give clear prompts that are plainly linked to key learning goals.
- Vary the kinds of assignments you give.
- Give creative assignments that don't lend themselves to plagiarism. Assign oral or visual presentations rather than written papers; scaffold large assignments or give assignments that ask students to relate concepts learned to personal or local experiences.
6. Work with your colleagues to make a concerted and consistent effort to address plagiarism.
- Develop and implement appropriate and consistent policies for all students and programs.
- Be consistent in how plagiarism policies are explained, applied, and enforced.
- Provide timely, transparent, and defensible penalties.
List excerpted, with permission, from Linda Suskie's book, Assessing Student Learning: A Common Sense Guide, 3rd edition. Linda Suskie is an internationally recognized consultant, speaker, writer, and workshop facilitator of higher education assessment and accreditation topics.