This academic honesty lesson is something that I have been using in my classes over the past few years to assist me in ensuring that students turn in original work. This can be challenging for students to navigate in a science class where they are asked to collaborate on data collection but then expected to turn in individual, different write-ups analyzing that same data set. This lesson utilizes large group discussion and pair collaborations to facilitate meaningful discussions about a sensitive topic before issues arise for individual students.
This lesson also allows me to respond to incidents involving academic honesty with the confidence that students are aware of our school and classroom policies and the rationale and repercussions of their actions in this arena. In addition, as we work through the year and discuss individual science studies and research practices, the connections between our policies and the societal expectations we have for research practices and researchers resonate on a deeper level for students as evidenced by the comments they make and the questions they ask throughout the year.
I find that using this lesson is effective for a three important reasons:
1. Pass out the district/school site academic honesty policy to each student and announce that students will be working with their seat partner to complete an 'open notes' academic honesty quiz.
2. Pass out one copy of the academic honesty quiz for each student pair.
3. Allow student pairs to discuss, debate, and collaborate on each question. Tell the class that you will not be answering any questions at this time and that each pair should make their best guess and record any specific questions they have for our group conversation coming up.
1. Ask each lab group (3-4 students) to compare their answers and come up with the one question that they need clarification on from the class/you.
2. Use the spokesperson protocol to go through each lab group's questions. For each option you discuss, ask students to look for and share supporting evidence for their answer on the academic policy handout.
3 Ask for any other questions and clarifications the group might have about the issue of academic honesty and how it relates to lab work, written reports and research papers, and homework.