Appendix D: Honor Code

ACPS, including its students, faculty, and leadership, is committed to honorable behavior in all aspects of the academic life of our learning community. We trust one another to act honorably in our dealings with one another while recognizing that our diversity requires that we reinforce expected behaviors in order to ensure that all of us have a common understanding of the personal honor upon which we rely. We pledge to discuss our interpretation of honor and the mutual respect that is intrinsic to a learning community.

One of the most important elements of the honor to which we are committed is the belief that cheating, plagiarism, and other examples of academic dishonesty are serious breaches of academic integrity. For that reason, we set out below our understanding of unacceptable behavior that we judge to be a violation of the honor to which we are pledged.

I. Purpose of the Honor Code

  • This Honor Code builds on the School Board’s Policy IKB, which states that, the student is the center and heart of the learning process. Therefore, students are expected to assume responsibility for their own learning. They will work in partnership with the instructor and peers and contribute to classroom activities and discussions. They will complete all assignments according to instructor specifications, deadlines, and evaluation criteria. Additionally, they will revisit work in a timely manner when standards and expectations are not achieved. As part of this process, students will play an active role in monitoring their own progress…” 
  • We believe it is necessary to have in place standards and expectations to which students will be accountable throughout the learning process.
  • In our efforts to align with ACPS School Board Policy concerning the Five “High Yield” College Competencies (Policy IKB and Regulation IKB-R), students will need to be instructed in how to identify issues of academic dishonesty (plagiarism, cheating) and how to avoid them.
  • In creating a culture of college and career readiness, the ACPS community believes it is the responsibility of the faculty and leadership to prepare students to be ethical in the production of their work. 
  • Additionally, we believe students must develop a level of accountability that will be expected at ACPS schools, their place of future employment, and college. Our hope is to develop well rounded students who are prepared to succeed beyond the walls of ACPS. Failure to adhere to ethics in the production of student work can result in dismissal from employment and expulsion from college.

II. Cheating and Plagiarism

The ACPS Code of Conduct states:

  • Alexandria City Public School students are expected to perform honestly through the production of their own work. They should also demonstrate respect for the belongings and rights of others.
  • Students shall not cheat, plagiarize, or knowingly make false statements with respect to any assigned schoolwork or tests, nor provide a student the opportunity to do so.

III. Plagiarism Defined

  • To plagiarize is “(1) to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own; (2) use (a created production) without crediting the source; (3) to commit literary theft; to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source.” Source: Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary
  • This includes the act of recycling or purchasing assignments or papers.
  • If a student attempts to claim the work of another as his or her own he or she is in violation of this Honor Code.

IV. Cheating Defined

  • To cheat is to give answers to others, copy assignments, imagery or tests from others, or look at the tests, coursework (homework and classwork), teacher materials, and similar assignments of others.

V. Teacher Expectations

  • Teachers are expected to teach and reteach students on plagiarism, how to avoid it, the consequences of plagiarism, and the proper methods of attributing sources for assignments that require citations.
  • The following link is to the T.C. Williams Library website explaining how to avoid plagiarism: www.acps.k12.va.us/plagiarism

VI. Student Certification

  • At the start of each course each year, students at all secondary schools will be requested to recertify their agreement to and understand of this Honor Code, including consequences for violation of the Code. Each school shall work out the mechanism to be used at that school to process the certification, whether orally or in writing.
  • Nothing in the Honor Code shall prohibit required recertification of adherence to the standards laid out in this document before each major examination, paper submission, or other project. Decisions on whether such recertification shall be required at a school will be made by the academic community at the school with the concurrence of the school principal.

VII. Effective Date

This Honor Code shall be in effect from January 5, 2015.

VI. Honor Code Procedures

In such cases of plagiarism, copying/sharing assignments, cheating, the use of translation software without express permission from the instructor, and similar violations of this Honor Code, the following consequences will be instituted.

First Offense

Teacher WILL:

  • Contact the parent/guardian & conference with student concerning the violation. 
  • Refer the matter to the appropriate Dean/Assistant Principal.
  • Refer the matter to academic honor societies such as National Honor Society for consideration and discipline according to its governing principles, including possible expulsion from the organization.

Student WILL:

  • Receive a zero on the assignment, with no chance at a makeup/retake or correction. 
  • Lose any opportunity for recognition of academic achievement such as “Honor Roll” for that marking period even if the student has a qualifying grade point average. 

Repeat Offenses

Teacher MAY:

  • Require student to forfeit any chance at future extra credit for that marking period, but student is still allowed to revisit other assignments in compliance with Regulations Governing the Assessment and Evaluation Policy (IFA-R). 
  • Require student to forfeit the opportunity to be involved in any activity related to the assignment, i.e., Science Fair.
  • Consider this matter in any applications or letters of recommendation written on behalf of the student.

In addition to the items listed in the “first offense” column, the following may result for repeat offenses:

  • A student may be suspended from any athletic or extra-curricular school activities for a period of up to one week (5 school days). This includes practices, competitions, rehearsals, performances and other extra-curricular activities. 
  • A student may be required to relinquish any student government office.
  • Further violations could result in a student being removed from the extra-curricular activity and/or student government offices altogether, including dances or formals/prom.
  • Administration reserves the right to enact discipline beyond those listed if circumstances require it. 

Appeals

A student accused of an Honor Code violation has the right to appeal the punishment to the principal, who may hear the appeal or assign it to another administrator or a body established for the purpose of regulating and monitoring the Honor Code. The school-level appeals process shall be final.