A teacher who has a question about plagiarism:?

Question:I have two students who plagiarized their entire (ENTIRE!!) research paper by cutting and pasting from wikipedia and other websites. I have the option to give them an F on the assignment (this means that it is still mathematically possible for them to pass the class), or I can give them an F in the course. What do you think I should do and why?

Fail them both in the class. They need to learn a lesson. Plagiarism is a big deal and unacceptable in the real world.
Do they deserve to fail the whole course? Judging bu this one action, it seems that a student who would stoop to this level would not be a deserving student in the first place . It seems that failing the class might be getting what's coming to them. If they're normally A or B students, however an F would be punishment enough.
First you need to anaylze some things besides the fact that they did plagiarize. I will say plagiarizing is awful, and should be punished because people shouldn't think they can blatantly steal other people's work and pass it for their own.

How long have they known about the assignment? Overall, how have these two students been in your class? Are they trouble makers, or are they good students? I'm sure if they were good students they wouldn't plagiarize, but you'd be surprised at all the people who do.

Is it possible for them to retake the course? Is this for high school or for college? Have you already told the school's principal that they plagiarized, or are you the only one who knows? (Besides the students) Another option would be for them to redo the research paper, but already minus 10 or 20 points because of what they did, so the highest they could make would either be a 90 or an 80.

But, I do agree that there should be some form of consequence for what they did, they shouldn't be allowed to get away with it.
Does your school/college have a policy on this? I think I'd find it very hard to get the administration in my school to agree to me failing students for the whole course in a similar situation.


In my opinion you should fail them for the whole course because it's a lesson they won't forget.

The people whose ideas they stole will thank you for standing up for their rights. There's too much stealing of other people's ideas going on and plagiarism is a serious problem we teachers have to tackle. If not us, then who?

Kelly Blackwell
I have to be honest, I went a to very strict college, if caught plagiarizing, we would have been failed for the year, and probably would have been suspended , if not terminated. If it were up to me, though, I would give them an F on the assignment on the condition that they rewrite the paper, and I would not give them more than 3 days to do the assignment, they would not be allowed to use either Wikipedia or other on-line resources in their papers (it would have to be strictly library research and all resources would have to be cited), and the paper would have to be worth a C grade or better. If they do not complete a proper re-write, then I would fail them for the year (if they did complete the paper, I would let the F stand on the assignment, so they would still have the possibility of passing the class). I feel that re-writing the paper is appropriate, since plagiarism is a sin of laziness, however, they should not be over rewarded for the extra work, and if they are not willing to do the extra work as a partial redemption, it shows that they have no remorse for their actions, that no lesson was learned and leniency is not deserved. Although, I must say, that as college students, they know better than to plagiarize, and they definitely deserve to be reported to the academic board (Dean of Students? I don't know what it would be where you teach) for further action above and beyond what you decide.
Most colleges would flunk them for the entire course, many colleges would even expel them for plagerism. Plagerism is actually against the law for publications and if this were a Master`s or Doctorate Thesis that warented publication, they could easily spend time behind bars. At the undergraduate level, the students would need the warning before they actually commit the crime. I would flunk them for the paper and warn them how dangerous it is to plagerize and let that be their last warning. .
In my AP English course in high school, a few students plagiarized their entire essays. After giving them one warning and giving them a "0" on the essay, she failed them in the course the next time she caught them plagiarizing. Technically, plagiarism is a crime punishable by law, and we are all taught from the moment we start writing essays to NEVER plagiarize. As college students who knew about the paper from day one, there is no reason why they should get by with just an F on the paper. I feel you should give them an F in the course.
Since you are dealing with college students I would probably give them an F for the assignment. By now they should realize that this behavior is completely unethical and truth be know it is probably not the first time they have done it. I would be tempted to give an F for the course, but there could be some sort of unforeseen consequence to this. Even though it is possible it will be hard for the student to pull up a zero to passing as it is anyway.
I guess it sort of depends on your college. Really, not all colleges are even remotely the same. Some colleges serve as training grounds for other colleges, and specialize in training students who didn't get that training in high school. I teach high school, and the amounts of knowledge that one person has over another is astonishing. I gave one lesson where the kids were required to cut and paste because so many has shockingly low computer skills.

Of course it is wrong, of course they should fail, and depending on where they are on the road to higher education, maybe more should be done. But as you do this, remember, this can be a very educational experience for them, or be a dis-educative experience for them -make sure you gear your punishment to their appropriate level (which may be at the level of a traditional college student, or may not be.)

More Related Questions & Answers...
Financial Aid
Higher Education
Home Schooling
Homework Help
Primary & Secondary Education
Special Education
Standards & Testing
Studying Abroad
Words & Wordplay
General - Education

Financial Services:

1PLs (30-day Loans)