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Academic Integrity

Westwood Science Department Academic Integrity Clarification


From the student handbook:


Academic Integrity

The Westwood High School Community believes in the values of truth, integrity, personal accountability and respect for the rights of others. The community will promote an environment which fosters integrity and honorable conduct and maintain an atmosphere in which personal accountability is valued.


Expectations of Students


1.   Students will take responsibility for learning, understanding, and following the Westwood High School’s Academic Integrity Policy. Students with questions regarding the policy should seek clarification from a faculty member or administrator.


2.   Students will take responsibility for learning each teacher’s specific written policy regarding academic integrity.


3.   Students are expected to report any concerns regarding possible violations directly to the faculty member involved.     

Definition of Academic Dishonesty

Academic dishonesty consists of a student acting to obtain, or assist in another student obtaining, credit for work which is not the student’s own, including plagiarism (see definition below). Examples of academic dishonesty may include but are not limited to the following:

     1.   Communicating with another student during an examination or quiz;

     2.   Copying material during an examination or quiz;

     3.   Copying another person’s assignment;

     4.   Allowing a student to copy from one’s examination or quiz;

     5.   Allowing a student to copy from one’s assignment;

     6.   Using unauthorized notes or devices during an examination or quiz;

     7.   Using unauthorized notes, online resources, or devices;

     8.   Obtaining, removing, accepting, or sharing a copy of and/or information about an examination or quiz without the knowledge and consent of the teacher;

     9.   Submitting a paper or project which is not the student’s work, including issues related to plagiarism (see definition below);

     10. Sharing or supplying a student with a paper, project, or assignment that assists them in obtaining credit for that work, including issues related to plagiarism (see definition below);

     11. Changing answers and seeking credit on an assignment or examination after the work has been graded and returned;

     12. Altering a teacher’s grading system;

     13. Using an electronic translator to look up any phrases or conjugated verbs to complete an assignment without the express consent of the teacher;

     14. Receiving inappropriate outside assistance that significantly alters or replaces the student’s original work.


Definition of Plagiarism


Plagiarism is the act of taking and using another’s published or unpublished work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own. This definition includes written work, computer programs, drawings, artwork, and all other types of work that are not one’s own. Materials taken from other source(s) without adequate documentation may include, but are not limited to, the following:

     1.   Failing to cite with quotation marks the written words or symbols of another author;

     2.   Failing to cite the author and sources of materials used in a composition;

     3.   Failing to cite research materials in a bibliography or inaccurately attributing ideas to a source;

     4.   Failing to name a person quoted in an oral report;

     5.   Failing to cite an author whose works are paraphrased or summarized;

     6.   Failing to cite words translated by an electronic translator;

     7.   Presenting another person’s creative work or ideas as one’s own in essays, poems, music, art, computer programs or other projects;

     8.   Copying or paraphrasing ideas from literary criticism or study aids without documentation.




If a teacher suspects a student of academic dishonesty, the teacher will consult his/her department head to determine if the student has violated the school’s policy. If so, as an academic consequence, the student may receive no credit for any work involved in the violation. However, the teacher, with department head approval, may discuss alternative ways for the student to receive credit.


The teacher will discuss the assignment, the violation, and the academic consequences for the violation with the student and the student’s parent(s)/guardian(s). The teacher will also notify the administration about the violation and its academic consequences; the teacher may also make specific, appropriate recommendations for additional consequences, if this is not the student’s first offense.


An administrator will also discuss the violation with the student. If this is not the student’s first offense, the administrator will determine appropriate disciplinary consequences in addition to the academic consequence. The administrator will communicate these additional consequences to the student and his/her parents, according to school discipline protocol.


Students have the right to appeal disciplinary decisions to the Principal.


A committee will continue to meet to review periodically the effectiveness of the Academic Integrity Policy.


Importance of academic honesty and integrity


It is important to maintain academic honesty because, by cheating, you sacrifice your own integrity and reputation. You are representing yourself with every assignment you complete and submit, so please be respectful and proud of your own work and yourself.


Definition of academic dishonesty


Authentic work is that which is written expressing your own thoughts in your own words. It shows your own ideas and interpretations of data or scientific principles. As an ethical learner, you should appropriately cite any work that uses someone else’s words or ideas.


Avoid the following, in order to maintain academic honesty:

  • Plagiarism – submitting someone else’s work as your own, including work found online, without appropriately citing the source.

  • Collusion – allowing someone else to copy your work, including classwork, homework, lab work, or copying test answers.  It includes asking someone else for help to cheat.

  • Duplication – when you hand in the same piece of work for different tasks, including handing in the same assignment to different teachers.

  • Fabrication – falsely generating data or records. 


Examples specific to Westwood High School Science

  • Plagiarism – includes copying information from answer keys, cheat sheets or other students.  This includes one person doing work for an entire group, who then copies it. Collaboration does not equal copying! Plagiarism also includes asking or receiving information about the content of an assessment you have not yet taken.

  • Collusion – letting someone else copy your homework, lab, test/quiz answers; collaborating on assignments meant to be individually completed; discussing test questions with or around students who have not yet taken the test; removing secure test materials from the classroom (or taking pictures of it with your phone).

  • Duplication – no project completed in this class can be the same as one submitted in another class (science class or class in another discipline, such as English).

  • Fabrication – includes making up data or misrepresenting dates on lab notebook entries, as well as changing answers on graded material or editing submitted Google documents past the due date.


Resources and suggestions on avoiding academic dishonesty

  • ASK FOR HELP! If the content is overwhelming, get extra help from your teacher. 

  • Plan your time appropriately to identify deadlines across your different classes.  If several major deadlines/exams are scheduled for the same day, talk to your teacher in advance regarding an extension (if possible).

  • Credit and appropriately cite all sources that you use, even if you paraphrase or summarize.  If you have any doubts, talk to your teacher for advice.

  • Utilize the work of others to help you understand new material, but do not represent their words and ideas as your own.

  • If your lab partner didn’t record some or all of the lab data, copy and paste or take a picture of the data only. Do not share or lend your entire lab to avoid academic dishonesty problems.


Please familiarize yourself with the Westwood High School disciplinary policy on Cheating and Plagiarism, found starting on page 40 of the Student Handbook.

This course is intended for the student seeking a rigorous first-year course in Physics without the depth of material in the AP Physics 1 course. This course will provide a study of the basic principles of Newtonian mechanics, electricity, and magnetism with additional study in light, optics, wave motion, and sound. Students should possess strong algebra skills and be familiar with trigonometry.




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