Scholars Online Policies on Academic Integrity

Policy Statement: Cheating and Plagiarism

It has unfortunately become obvious to the teachers and directors at Scholars Online that some students and even some parents are confused about what constitutes appropriate use of resources in completing assignments or taking exams. In an age where students have easy access not only to online encyclopedias, but to illegally or imprudently published answer keys and applications that do the work for them, we are seeing more and more inappropriate use of resources, which is simply cheating and plagiarism. We are publishing this policy statement so that our students and their parents will be able to adhere to the highest principles of academic integrity, without which we cannot maintain the trust required in any academic community at any level, or recognize the true achievements of our students.

The Basic Idea of Academic Integrity

Academic integrity basically means that one accepts all responsibility for his or her own actual efforts at scholarship, whether in pursuit of new information (research) or mastery of a subject (education). Because acquiring mastery of a subject or the tools of critical thinking requires one to develop and practice thinking, reasoning, composing, calculating, and explaining ideas and positions, and to undergo periodic evaluations of progress against some common standard, a student cannot substitute the work of others as his or her own for any assignment, or circumvent the standards imposed for any reason.

Cheating undercuts the whole point of education, which is learning to do something yourself. It involves lying to your peers, your teacher, and yourself about the work you have actually done for a course.

Scholars Online Recognition of Cheating

Scholars Online recognizes as cheating any actual or attempted practice of fraudulent or deceptive acts, whether for the purpose of improving one's own grade or not, or any encouragement or assistance provided to another student engaged in such acts. To cheat means intentionally to misrepresent the source, nature, or other conditions of academic work, or to cooperate with someone else in such misrepresentation.

We also recognize plagiarism as a specific form of cheating that consists of the misuse of the published or unpublished works of others by misrepresenting the material as one's own work.

Cheating includes (but is not necessarily limited to):

  1. Taking an examination or quiz under conditions other than those stipulated, such as
    • Using prohibited resources, such as the textbook, student notes, website materials, or another person when taking a closed-book examination or quiz.
    • Looking at another student's work, including the student’s answers or scores to previous versions of a quiz or exam, either before or during the examination period.
    • Exceeding the time limit or taking an exam over multiple time periods when a single exam session was specified, even if the total time does not exceed the time limit.
    • Using unapproved calculators or other devices during the exam.
  2. Using computer applications to perform the intended goal of the assignment (such as using Google Translate to create translations), unless specifically instructed to do so by the teacher.
  3. Lying about any aspect of one's work.
  4. Submitting work to more than one course unless allowed by both teachers (this policy must be stated by the teachers in writing prior to submission of any such work).
  5. Falsifying data on lab reports, or pretending to have completed work not actually performed.
  6. Submitting work in the name of another person or knowingly allowing someone else to submit work in one's own name.

Please note that in some states, it is a misdemeanor to use email, social networking sites, or other online means (this includes the Scholars Online chat and Moodle environments) to impersonate someone. Civil penalties may be added to those of the academic institution in these states.

Plagiarism includes (but is not necessarily limited to):

  1. Using anyone else's work as one's own, whether copied word for word or closely paraphrased, without proper citation, in any assignment, even if the information is regarded as common knowledge.
  2. Copying the work of other students, whether current or past, including one's own family members.
  3. Copying answers from answer keys, whether privately obtained or freely available online.
  4. Using the data of another student for lab work, unless specifically instructed to do so by the teacher.

Consequences of Cheating and Plagiarism

In order to protect the reputation of Scholars Online, its accreditation status, and the reputation of its students and just recognition of their accomplishments, teachers are obligated to notify the administration if they have strong suspicion of cheating or proof of cheating. The administration independently reviews all suspect student work, and contacts students and parents to clarify discrepancies, before making a final determination.

Depending on the nature of the offense, students may be required to take zero credit on an assignment or an exam, zero credit for the course, or may face suspension or expulsion.

A student suspended for cheating or plagiarism may return to class only with the approval of the administration and the teacher, after formal apology has been made to all teachers and students in all affected courses. He or she will receive no credit for work done for the course to that point.

A student expelled for cheating or plagiarism will lose all credit for all courses on the transcript, whether suspect or not, and forfeits all payments for tuition and fees for courses in which the student is currently enrolled. If the student is on scholarship, Scholars Online will require that the scholarship amount be restored to the scholarship fund.

In preparing this policy, we have reviewed the definitions of academic integrity, cheating, and plagiarism, as well as the policies for handling cases of academic dishonesty, at a number of colleges, universities, and public and private high schools. The provisions of this policy are in line with the academic standards and penalties recognized at all levels of education, public and private.

Scholars Online is currently engaged in accreditation evaluation by MSA-CESS for the 2017-2018 academic year. Courses taken from Fall 2009 - Spring 2017 were fully accredited by AdvancED and NWAC. For more information on accreditation, see our Scholars Online Accreditation page.