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Academic Honesty in the Diploma Programme

16 October 2017

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What is academic misconduct?

Academic misconduct is a behaviour that results in, or may result in, the student or any other student gaining an unfair advantage (or a behaviour that disadvantages other students) in one or more assessment components. Unfortunately in every Diploma Programme examination session there are students who are investigated for alleged “academic misconduct”. Of all cases investigated during examination session (on average):

• 52% concern plagiarism

• 25% concern collusion

• 12% concern misconduct during an examination

• 11% concern other forms of academic misconduct, such as the duplication of work.

Plagiarism is defined as the representation, intentionally or unwittingly, of the ideas, words or work of another person without proper, clear and explicit acknowledgment. The use of translated materials, unless indicated and acknowledged, is also considered plagiarism.

Collusion is defined as supporting academic misconduct by another student, for example allowing one’s work to be copied or submitted for assessment by another.

Examples of misconduct during an IB examination include: taking unauthorized material into an examination (whether the student uses it or not), behaviour that disrupts the examination or may distract other students and communicating with another student during the examination. Duplication of work is defined as the presentation of the same work for different assessment components and/or Diploma Programme requirements.

Good practice—recommendations for students

• Ensure that all sources you have consulted are acknowledged in your work using the referencing style agreed with your teacher.

• Make sure that information you have used is acknowledged in the body of the text and is fully listed in the bibliography.

• Use quotation marks or indentation to show all text that is someone else’s exact words and do not forget to show whose words they are.

• Cite your sources so that readers can find them; if you cannot state the origin of the source it is probably better not to use it. The IB has no means of knowing whether an act of academic misconduct was deliberate or not. The IB expects students to know what is and is not acceptable behaviour in the examination room, and expects students to know how to indicate and cite material originally developed by others. For these reasons, a student’s intent cannot be taken into account when investigating an alleged breach of the General regulations: Diploma Programme.


Why cite?

Proper citation is a key element to academic scholarship and intellectual exchange. When you cite, you:

• show respect for the work of others

• give the reader the opportunity to follow up your references

• help the reader distinguish your work from the work of others

• give the reader the opportunity to check the validity of your interpretation

• receive proper credit for your research process

• demonstrate that you are able to use reliable sources and critically assess them to support your work

• establish credibility and authority of your own knowledge and ideas

• demonstrate that you are able to draw your own conclusions.

Plagiarism misrepresents the work of another person as your own.



• Make clear which words, ideas, images and works are not your own.

• Give credit for copied, adapted and paraphrased material.

• If you paraphrase an idea—that is if you restate it, but alter the exact wording—you must still cite that source.

• You must cite the source of images, maps, charts, tables, data sets, musical compositions, movies, computer source codes and song lyrics—any material that is not your own.

• Make clear where the borrowed material starts and finishes; this can be done by using quotation marks, using an “opening” indication and a closing page number.

• All sources cited in the text must also be listed in the bibliography (or reference list/list of works cited) and all sources listed in the bibliography (or reference list/list of works cited) must be cited in the text.


What is academic honesty?

Academic honesty in the International Baccalaureate (IB) is a principle informed by the attributes of the IB learner profile. In teaching, learning and assessment, academic honesty serves to promote personal integrity and engender respect for others and the integrity of their work. Upholding academic honesty also helps to ensure that all students have an equal opportunity to demonstrate the knowledge and skills they acquire during their studies. Academic honesty is an essential principle of the IB’s academic programmes that enhances the organization’s credibility and position as a leader in international education. As stated in the IB learner profile, all members of the IB community strive to be “principled”, acting with “integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness, justice and respect for the dignity of the individual, groups and communities”. In all their studies for the Diploma Programme, students must demonstrate academic honesty and avoid any form of academic misconduct.

As the legal guardian of a Diploma Programme student, how can I support my son or daughter?

• Encourage your son or daughter to plan each assignment.

• Provide support with the scheduling of their work, as your son or daughter may have many assignments to complete.

• Let your son or daughter do his or her own work, but show them how to research and plan their work.

• Establish a good level of communication with the school so that you understand the requirements of the Diploma Programme and what is expected of students.

• If your son or daughter is having difficulty with their work, encourage him or her to ask a teacher for advice.

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