Turn Up for Turnitin

Aliza Kajani

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[dropcap] Although [/dropcap] every student signs the Honor Code books in the fall, there is always the question of whether that signature is enough to deter academic dishonesty throughout the school year on all of their assignments.

“It discourages academic dishonesty and holds students more accountable for their actions if they have to sign it on every assignment,” said Grant Carmain (11), the junior class representative of the Honor Council. “It reminds them of their commitment to the honor code and academic honesty, and I think that reminder can only be effective if it occurs often.”

Signing the honor pledge on all of their assignments, then, serves as a reminder to students that cheating in any form is wrong—this reminder makes it less likely, even if only by a fraction, that they will make a poor decision to cheat.

A strong believer in preventative measures, Sita Yerramsetti (11) said that Turnitin “is probably the most effective way to check for plagiarism.” Not only does it catch students who plagiarize, but it also “discourages them from cheating, because they know that the computer will catch them if they have to turn their assignments in to Turnitin.”

Students who want to cheat, or feel as though they have no other option, will likely be driven or compelled to cheat; Turnitin is just a way to eliminate that as much as possible. Without Turnitin, “students would just assume that their teachers aren’t going to go through the trouble of checking everything for plagiarism on their own,” Yerramsetti said. “I don’t, however, think that students need to write and sign it on every assignment that they turn in, because it does get a little redundant considering that we all signed it at the beginning of the year in the books.” Therefore, according to Yerramsetti, signing it on every assignment is not really an effective reminder to respect the honor code—that constant repetition dilutes its impact.

However, there is also the dispute that because students are not allowed to take assessments without signing the honor code, they might not be signing it for the right reasons. “It is ambiguous to some degree, because you are obligated to sign the Honor Code, so most students don’t necessarily do it out of their own choice or free will,” said Carmain.

So which side are you on? Is signing the books at the beginning of the year enough or should students be required to sign it on all of their assignments as well as turn papers in on turnitin.com?