Saturday, May 24, 2008

Academic Integrity - Naperville Central Style

Yet another Illinois administrator (previously there was Mr. (or is that Dr?) Poshard from SIU and a dean at NIU - the latter I have actually met) has been caught with his academic trousers down. This time the principal of Naperville Central (the other Naperville high school) gave a speech that he had stolen wholesale from a former student. What's worse, the student in question is now a teacher at the school and was in the audience. What can one conclude other than these administrators are either very craven or extremely dumb. Or perhaps both. These high schools take a very rigid zero-tolerance attitude towards plagiarism as I know first-hand from my children; their essays are fed into the Turnitin checking software and if it comes up worse than yellow, for whatever reason, it's an F. I tend to take a softer approach with these things because you need to judge each situation on its merits; I don't like doing it just by the percent match.

In Mr. Caudill's case, it was a "mistake," although he might have used the word "blunder." He says he was going to call the author but got "too busy" and didn't want to send her an e-m. Jim, Jim, this is a lamer excuse than I get from my lazy-assed students trying to explain away their copied assignments; but at least you didn't use the "death in the family" line I guess. Jim, why didn't you simply say at the outset that you were lacking inspiration, which you said was the reason you borrowed it in the first place, and give her all the credit by saying her speech, which you are using, was much better? You would have looked humble; she would have looked good. Now you look like a complete dope and have lost credibility, rightly so, with the students.

The superintendent is "concerned and disturbed" and needs to talk with the "key players" before deciding what to do. Hmmm...Now let me guess what the outcome will be...

1 comment:

Snipper "Book Zeller" said...

I have heard of that "Turnitin" program and I question all "End-all, be-all" programs like that. In general, I think zero-tolerance is just messed up to begin with. I think the SCSP alluded to this; If the threshold is say, 70%... what is the difference between a student's who is 71% and the students who is 69%? And what are the chances the paper is honestly written but comes up under the threshold?

I often heard aunt/gramma going into surgery a bit more often than I heard death in the family.

Yet again, the SCSP never fails to enlighten his readers to more aspects of our world.