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December 19, 2014 Published in Schools

Alexandria School Board Approves Honor Code For All Secondary Students

ACPS logoLast night, the Alexandria City School Board approved an honor code for all secondary schools within Alexandria City Public Schools. It is the first time any formal honor code has been adopted in the history of ACPS. Students at all ACPS middle and high schools will be required to sign the agreement, which bans plagiarism and cheating. They may also be required to sign the agreement again before major tests or essays.

Any student who violates the code will receive a zero on the assignment, with no chance of correction or retake. "We believe it is necessary to have in place standards and expectations to which students will be held accountable throughout the learning process. Our ultimate goal is to develop well-rounded students who are prepared to succeed beyond the classrooms of ACPS," said Superintendent Alvin L. Crawley.

The purpose behind the honor code is to demonstrate to students that they are expected to assume responsibility for their own learning. The honor code encourages students to play a part in monitoring their own progress. It reads: to plagiarize is [1] to steal and pass off as one's own; [2] use without crediting the source [3] to commit literary theft. To cheat is to give answers to others, copy assignments, imagery or tests from others, or look at the tests, coursework, teach materials of others. 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.

In creating a culture of college and career readiness, ACPS believes it is the responsibility of the faculty and leadership to prepare students to be ethical in the production of their work. Additionally, ACPS believes it has a responsibility to help students develop a level of accountability that will be expected of them at any future place of employment or college. Failure to adhere to ethics can result in dismissal from employment and expulsion from college.

Under the code, students will promise to perform honestly in the production of their own work and demonstrate respect for the belongings and rights of others. They will promise not to cheat, plagiarize or knowingly make false statements with respect to assigned schoolwork or tests, or provide another student the opportunity to do so.

Dr. Crawley stressed the importance the Honor Code places on teaching and reteaching the correct way to cite sources. "That's why we have expanded what started as a high school idea to the middle schools. It is at middle school where discussions about ethics and training in using sources and citations really take off," Dr. Crawley said.

ACPS Coordinator of Strategic Planning and Policy Michael Korff acknowledged that the Honor Code could be expanded to include other topics in the future.

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