AP World struggles with plagiarism

Trianna Downing, Staff Reporter

While grading papers one evening, Mrs. Jennifer Heimlich, Social Studies, was shocked when she saw twelve of her AP World students had plagiarized their work.

“One or two students are expected, but twelve students? That’s insane,” Heimlich said.

All AP World students created a research outline for the World Fair they hosted Jan. 14. The research was handed into Turnitin.com, a website service that checks for originality and plagiarism in a student’s paper.

“It’s easy to tell when something is plagiarized, thanks to the website,” Heimlich said. “If a student copies and pastes from a book or another paper, the work immediately shows up highlighted. The more a student copies, the more color on the page.”

According to Heimlich’s account, the plagiarism percentages were between 38 and 81 percent.

“Normally a student can have up to twenty or even thirty percent because of similar facts on other websites, but the number has never been this high.” Heimlich said.

This is not the first time the AP Social Studies department has dealt with plagiarism.

Last year, several students in AP U.S. History were caught copying and pasting StudyBlue work for their IDs, a task where the student wrote the definition and significance of a person, place or event in United States History.

After being caught students were forced to chose whether to write or type their assignments. If they chose to type, all work was to be submitted to Turnitin.

“I think a lot of it has to do with a student’s poor time management skills,” said Mr. Brad Swenson, Social Studies. “Once they realize all fifty IDs are due the next night, they panic and resort to copying.”

One student spoke with the Royal Page and wished to remain anonymous.

“I always did my work last minute,” she said. “It’s hard to balance. I thought I was getting more out of copying than actually doing the work. I get stuff done faster so I can get other work done after.”

“A student should take responsibility for their time management,” Heimlich said. “And if they ever feel pressured, or out of time, the shouldn’t resort to plagiarism. They can always talk to me so we can work out a plan.”

In response to the students actions, those who chose to plagiarize their work will receive zeroes on the written section of the project.

“It’s important for the students to be aware of the consequences,” Heimlich said. “If they had pulled this stunt in college there’s a chance they could have been kicked out. Students can be so misinformed about their actions, and that’s what I’m concerned about.”