Academic Honesty Policy

Academic Honesty Policy

Al-Rayan International School

ARIS Core Purpose: We are a diverse community of learners that are committed to inspire, empower and transform for a better world. 

ARIS Core Values

  • Greatness in Everyone
  • Learning with Everyone
  • Creativity and Innovation by Everyone
  • Service to Everyone
  • Change for Everyone

ARIS Characteristics

  • Responsibility and Respect
  • Passion and Mindfulness
  • Collaboration and Communication
  • Reflection and Action

IB mission statement

The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.

To this end, the organization works with schools, governments, and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment.

These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.


ARIS offers the following programmes:

  • The International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP)
  • The International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (MYP)
  • The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. (IBDP)
  • The International Baccalaureate Career Programme. (IBCP)



Academic Honesty Policy

IB Learner Profile and Academic Honesty   5

Introduction   5

Academic Dishonesty and Malpractice   6

The Consequences of Malpractice   7

Types of Malpractice & Context / Suggested Consequences  9

The detection of plagiarism     10

Authenticating candidates’ work   11

Bibliographies, references and citations  12

What is a bibliography?   12

What is a reference?   13

What is a citation?   13

Author’s note   13



IB Learner Profile and Academic Honesty

The IB Learner Profile Attributes are a guiding philosophy at ARIS and inform our Academic Honesty Policy as well as our Teaching and Learning Practices. We strive for our students, staff and community members to be: 

  • Inquirers: we acquire the skills necessary to conduct research and inquiry.
  • Knowledgeable: we explore concepts, ideas and issues.
  • Thinkers: we are able to apply critical and creative thinking skills to develop innovative solutions to problems and to make ethical decisions.
  • Communicators: we are able to use verbal and non-verbal language (including a language other than mother-tongue) to express ideas as well as understand and interpret received information.
  • Principled: we act with integrity and honesty and hold ourselves accountable for our actions.
  • Open-minded: we consider and evaluate multiple viewpoints, as well as respect traditions and values from diverse cultures.
  • Caring: we show empathy and respect towards others and their needs, and take action in the form of community service.
  • Risk-takers: we approach challenges and step out of our comfort zones with confidence.
  • Balanced: we understand the importance of intellectual, physical and emotional balance to achieve personal well-being for ourselves and others.
  • Reflective: we are able to assess the strengths and weaknesses of our learning and experiences.



Academic honesty is a core element in the IBO document: Program Standards and Practices (2014), a document that is key to how IB Program must operate in IB World Schools.

ARIS is authorized to offer the International Baccalaureate Primary Years, Middle Years, Diploma and Career-related Programmes.

A fundamental aim of the ARIS mission is to draw on the cultural diversity of the school community as a foundation to build universal human values, in a complex and rapidly changing global environment, and prepare its students to be responsible citizens, who exhibit honesty and integrity in what they do. It is our responsibility to inculcate these values of honesty and integrity in our students from an early age and to do our best to ensure that these values last. Not only should this be done through integration into the curriculum, but also visual campaigns across all years in the Primary as well as the Secondary campus at ARIS.

This policy document, focused on Academic Honesty, is intended to be concise. It is coherent with the school’s commitment to academic honesty and integrity. Academic honesty is a fundamental tenet of the ARIS Philosophy, making it integral to the life-long values, which ARIS aims to inculcate in its students from Primary Years to the Diploma and Career Programme. A key Attribute of the IB Learner Profile is developing students who are Principled. ARIS is very serious about Honesty and Integrity and uses this trait to inform our expectations of our students.

A prior assumption is that ARIS Community is honest by nature. ARIS teachers have the vital educational aim to reinforce that innate honesty, enabling students to derive satisfaction from their own accomplishments, secure in the knowledge that their accomplishments are indeed their own.

Academic Honesty should be seen as a set of values, reinforced by skills that promote personal integrity and good practice in teaching, learning and assessment. Academic Honesty is influenced and shaped by a variety of factors including; peer pressure, culture, parental expectations, role-modeling and taught skills. Academic Dishonesty may stem from similar origins; your classmates are getting away with it, why shouldn't you? Your own culture respects the emulation of those recognized as the finest practitioners. Thus, live and learn in the example of the best and the honest.

It is argued that, although it is easier to explain to students what constitutes academic dishonesty with direct reference to plagiarism, collusion and cheating in exams, the topic should be treated by teachers in a positive way. It should emphasize the educational benefits which accrue when, for example, academic research is properly conducted, when the temptation to take shortcuts is resisted, and when the borrowing or outright theft of someone else's ideas and presenting them as one's own is seen as reprehensible.

This policy document includes:

  • Possible definitions of what constitutes academic dishonesty, malpractice, plagiarism, and intellectual property.
  • An account of the consequences of academic dishonesty at ARIS and the suggested consequences that will occur if a student is found delinquent.
  • Examples of conventions for citing and acknowledging original authorship.
  • Guidance on the distinction between legitimate collaboration and unacceptable collusion (different from collaboration) or plagiarism.


Academic Dishonesty and Malpractice

Note: Students must go through regular orientation, every academic year to refresh their knowledge of Academic Dishonesty and Malpractice.

Definition of terms

The IBO regulations define malpractice as behavior that results in, or may result in, the student “gaining an unfair advantage (relative to other students) in one or more assessment components.” Malpractice includes:

  • plagiarism is defined as the representation of the ideas or work of another person as the student's own
  • collusion is defined as supporting malpractice by another student, as in allowing one’s work to be copied or submitted for assessment by another
    • Collusion is secret cooperation for a dishonest person, and it results in giving one student an unfair advantage over other students.
    • Collusion can be distinguished from Collaboration as the latter refers to a working practice where two or more people work together towards a common purpose.
  • duplicationof work is defined as the presentation of the same work for different subjects, assessment components and/or requirements
  • the taking of unauthorized material into an examination room, or disrupting an examination
  • Any other behavior that gains an unfair advantage for a student or that affects the results of another student.

It should be noted that malpractice is not confined to offenses by students.

The intellectual property of others may also be misused. Intellectual property is a property that is the result of creativity. It does not exist in tangible, legal form, such as patents, copyright, trademarks et cetera, but is nevertheless the product of another person's work. Examples include a variety of sources (CD-ROMs, DVDs, photographs, illustrations, artworks, music and data) in addition to journals, books and websites.

Students and teachers must be aware that the requirement to acknowledge sources extends beyond texts taken from the Internet, CD-ROMs, books, magazines and journals. The concepts of intellectual property and academic honesty include the use of footnotes or endnotes to acknowledge the source of an idea, if that idea emerged as a result of discussion with and/or listening to a fellow student, a teacher or any other person.


The Consequences of Malpractice

While ARIS does its utmost to develop in students the highest ethical standards in academic work, there may arise occasions when those standards are breached. The table overleaf is intended to provide examples of breaches of academic honesty in various contexts, and their recommended consequences. It is not exhaustive. A basic premise is that academic dishonesty is a gross breach of the educational values which ARIS attempts to inculcate. Therefore, all proven cases of academic dishonesty should be:

  • Followed by the stated disciplinary action (consequence)
  • Permanently documented in the student's file
  • Reported in writing to the parents/guardians.


In spite of what was stated on the first page of this paper i.e. that malpractice entails a deliberate attempt to gain an academic advantage, it will almost invariably be difficult to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the attempt to gain academic advantage was intentional. Hence, should evidence of ‘intention to deceive’ be uncovered, or should the intention be admitted by the suspect, it should not be held as key to the proof of malpractice, rather, it should be considered as corroboratory. The ‘key to the proof of malpractice’ is the documentary or other evidence.

Investigations of suspicions of academic dishonesty should be conducted in a heuristic, rather than an inquisitorial or confrontational style. The aim of the investigation should be to discover the truth of the matter, rather than to intimidate or threaten the student suspected. The student should be entitled to have a witness or a trusted teacher present if she/he so chooses. The student will not be allowed to have a parent, guardian or lawyer, whose independence of judgment may be compromised.


Types of Malpractice & Context / Suggested Consequences



Suggested Consequence


Homework/class tests

Disciplinary Action as appropriate; Mark of Zero awarded and Loss of Grade. Letter informing parents copied to student file.


IB Internal Assessment assignments/ Career related studies

Public Announcement on School Noticeboard. Student given ONE day to rewrite the assignment. Letter informing parents copied to student file.


Extended Essay/ Reflective Project

Public Announcement on School Noticeboard. Student given TWO days to rewrite the entire essay. Letter informing parents copied to student file.


World Literature

As Extended Essay, but ONE day to rewrite the assignment.


Theory of Knowledge/ Personal and Professional Skills

As Extended Essay, but ONE day to rewrite the essay.



Disciplinary Action as appropriate, Mark of Zero awarded and Loss of Grade. Letter informing parents copied to student file.



Disciplinary action as appropriate, mark of zero awarded and loss of grade. Letter informing parents copied to student file. ONE day to rewrite the second (duplicated) assignment.

External Malpractice


Instant dismissal

External Malpractice


Report to Cambridge or IBO Examining Board3


  1. Repeated malpractice should result in dismissal.
  2. The 'examples of context' do not depict any differentiation in the gravity of the offense of malpractice. The context in which malpractice has been proven is not necessarily relevant to the gravity of the offense. Other factors, such the extent to which a piece of work has been plagiarized, the extent to which other students may be complicit in the offense, and the number (if any) of previous proven cases on the part of the offending student should be the main determinants of disciplinary measures.
  3. The IBO has detailed and stringently applied procedures for dealing with academic malpractice that extend beyond the scope of this document. All cases are considered by the IBO Final Award Committee. Preventive vigilance is the collective responsibility of IBDP/CP teachers. Notification to the IBO of proven instances of malpractice is the responsibility of the IBDP/CP Coordinators.


The detection of plagiarism

The ARIS student should be ultimately responsible for ensuring that all work submitted for assessment is authentic, not the teacher or the EE/RP supervisor (though of course, they have a major responsibility). The work or ideas of others must be fully and correctly cited and acknowledged. Students should be expected to review their own work before submission for assessment, to identify any passages, data, graphs, photographs, computer programs and so on that still require acknowledgment.

The IBO Policy document ‘Effective Citing and Referencing’, published in August 2014 and available on the OCC, provides useful guidance as to why, when, what and how to cite source materials. Teachers must familiarize students with the content of this document when appropriate.

When reading students' work, teachers should be vigilant for obvious changes or similarities in the style of writing. Equally significant is if a style of writing seems too mature, too error-free and perhaps more characteristic of an experienced academic than a Secondary School student. Evidence of copying and pasting may immediately be obvious from inconsistent fonts and/or kerning.

Over the period of the courses in the Primary and Secondary School teachers should be very familiar with the style and quality of each student's work in their classes. It is, therefore, the teachers who are in the best position to identify work that may not be authentic. If the student knows the teacher is vigilant, she/he may be less tempted to resort to plagiarism in times of stress or crisis. If such stress or crises occur, the student should be encouraged to seek the solace of the Counselor. Malpractice, whether detected or not, will only exacerbate emotional stress.

Although in most cases of Plagiarism, that come to the attention of the Examining Boards, the candidate has copied passages from a web site, there is still frequent plagiarism from books and journals, in addition to the illicit use of photographs, graphs, data and computer programs from a variety of sources. In many cases, it is likely that the teacher is familiar with the books being used by candidates; they may be standard textbooks for the subject or books that are readily available in the school library. The author of this paper knows of one instance where the teacher himself was the author of the work plagiarized.

The teacher must be alert for familiar passages or excerpts that have either been copied and pasted and/or closely paraphrased. In the first instance, a mere chat with the student about the content of the suspect work may reveal that the student has only a superficial understanding of what s/he has written. Teachers and Staff have the responsibility to let their students know a standard of their works and consequences of the Academic Honesty Policy, should they be caught. It should be a part of the school culture for Teachers, Staff and Students to know the Policy and the consequences of Academic Dishonesty.

The Theory of Knowledge Assessment for the May 2015 examination session introduced a requirement that, in the course of the students’ preparation of the essay on a Prescribed Title, teachers conduct several ‘interactions’ with the student author. This measure is to ensure that the essay has been guided by an appropriate level of professional input from the designated teacher and/or class discussions and not by an internet mentor (a euphemism for someone paid to write the essay on behalf of the student). It could be argued that, had TOK teachers collectively been more vigilant in the prevention of plagiarism, such draconian counter-measures at the strategic level would never have been necessary.

In the IBDP/CP, at least, assessment is an integral element of the curriculum. Academic malpractice at times appears to be driving assessment development regressively, in directions less and less conducive to the optimal teaching and learning context.

With the growth of the Internet and the corresponding increase in its use, the abuse of electronic media is now, sadly, prevalent within the academic community. Aside from the immense number of legitimate websites, there is an increasing number of sites that actively encourage students to plagiarize and purchase essays, as mentioned with the TOK essays. Little can be done to prevent the emergence of these sites, but, the Internet can also be used for detecting academic dishonesty. Several of the more efficient search engines can be used to detect the source of passages that have been plagiarized. Although, with the exponential growth in the quantity of stored data, this is becoming less feasible.

ARIS uses software known as Turnitin on a consistent basis to detect Plagiarism. Nevertheless, there is no substitute for the teachers’ vigilance. The discussions among teachers who are new to this type of software often indicate that they themselves have not internalized the ability to differentiate, qualitatively, between examples of plagiarized and authentic student work. They are reliant instead of seemingly authoritative, computer-generated indicators of ‘percentage copied’, color-coded. These said indicators may be based on spurious data. It is important that ARIS teachers develop, over time, the ability to identify atypical work.


Authenticating candidates’ work

It is the responsibility of teachers to support students in the preparation of their work for assessment and to ensure that all student work complies with the requirements of the relevant curriculum guidelines. Therefore, teachers (or supervisors, in the case of IB Extended Essays/Reflective Project) are in, by far, the best position to judge whether a candidate’s work is indeed authentic. Ongoing support and guidance will help with the early detection of unintentional plagiarism and, will dissuade students from deliberate plagiarism because they know their work is regularly subject to scrutiny. However, what is realistic and what can be achieved within the usual constraints of time and workload must be left to the discretion of teachers and the relevant coordinator.

As previously stated, the candidates are ultimately responsible for ensuring that the final version of any of their work is authentic. Candidates themselves must bear the consequences if they submit any work for assessment that is not their own, regardless of whether the plagiarism was unintentional or deliberate. The same principle applies to collusion.

Should the coordinator and/or a teacher have reasons to believe that part or all of a candidate’s draft work, prior to final submission, might in violation of the Academic Honesty Policy, actions must be taken. They must draw candidates’ attention to their case of malpractice and let them know of the risks and value of respect for intellectual property.


Bibliographies, references and citations

All work submitted for assessment must reflect intellectual honesty in research practices and provide the reader with the exact sources of quotations, ideas, and points of view through accurate bibliographies and referencing. The IBO Policy document ‘Effective Citing and Referencing’, (mentioned on page 4) is a useful resource for both students and teachers.

At ARIS, the official formatting style for essays is the MLA. Students must be familiarized with these terms and formats before they start their essays, so as to set them up for success.

Producing accurate citations, referencing and a bibliography is a skill that students should be seeking to perfect. Documenting the research in this way is vital as it allows readers to evaluate the evidence, and it shows the student’s understanding of the importance of the sources used.

Failure to comply with this requirement will be viewed as plagiarism and will, therefore, be treated as a case of malpractice.


What is a bibliography?

A bibliography is an alphabetical list of every source used. Sources that are not cited in the body of the piece of work, but were important in informing the approach taken, should be cited in the introduction or in an acknowledgment. The bibliography should list only those sources cited.

Note that examiners will not be impressed by a long and stylish list that bears little or no connection with the text of the piece of work. Rather, such a list may remind the examiner of the extent of the resources spurned by the student.

There are a number of different documentation styles available for use when writing research papers at IBDP/CP level; most are appropriate in some academic disciplines but not others. The IB does not mandate use of a particular style, rather, it is advised that only one is used and presented consistently. Above all, when references are used correctly (see below), it enables the reader (examiner) to trace the source. If the bibliographical item cannot be accessed on the basis of the information provided, or, if it was transient, contain evidence that it once existed, the information might as well not be there.

The teacher should help students decide on a citation style for the particular piece of work set. It is important to remember that, whatever style is chosen, it must be simple to use and must be applied consistently. When choosing the style, the student needs to have a clear understanding of how it is to be used before embarking on the work. The style should be applied at all stages in the production of the piece of work. This is good practice, not only for producing a high-quality final product, but also for reducing the opportunities and temptation to plagiarize.

Finding information about citation/documentation styles is not difficult. Entering a string, such as 'academic referencing', into an Internet search engine will bring up lots of useful material. Or, the student can simply copy the style (not the content) shown in the main textbook used in researching the topic s/he is writing about. That will not be construed as plagiarism!


What is a reference?

A reference is a way of indicating to the reader, in an orderly and systematic form, where information has been obtained from. References must be included as an acknowledgment of the sources used, and enable the reader to trace and consult the source of the work and, verify the data that has been presented. A reference is deemed obsolete if it cannot be traced.

References must be given whenever someone else’s work is quoted or summarized. They can come from many different sources, including books, magazines, journals, newspapers, e-mails, Internet sites and interviews. Internet references should include the title of the extract used as well as the web site address, the date it was accessed and, if possible, its author. Teachers must also inform their students about reliable and unreliable sources before they start their work.

Caution should also be exercised with information on web sites that do not give references or that cannot be cross-checked against other sources. The more important a particular point is to the essay, the more the quality of its source needs to be evaluated. If a particular source is referred to, time and time again, its reliability and authenticity is all the more important. As a TOK student will know, frequency of reference, which is one of the factors which propel a website to prominence in a web search, is just one test of truth.

Any references to interviews (transient) should state the name of the interviewer, the name of the interviewee, the date and the place of the interview, in the specific format of the referencing style used.


What is a citation?

A citation is a shorthand method of making a reference in the body of an essay, which is then linked to the full reference at the end of the essay. A citation provides the reader with accurate references so that she/he can locate the source easily. How sources are cited varies with the particular documentation style that has been chosen. Page numbers should normally be given when referencing printed material: in some styles this will be in the citation, in others in the full reference. Once again, it is important to emphasize that there must be consistency of method when citing sources.

This is not important from the point of view of stylistic elegance, but to facilitate traceability of sources by the examiner/moderator.


Author’s note

Finally, this policy document was written in connection with and compiled from the publications listed below and, in fulfillment of the advice therein, and the corresponding advice given in this paper, acknowledges extensive use of the IBO material.

It is important to note that as a forward thinking IB World School, we need to emphasize on Reading for Enjoyment and Comprehension as well, across Primary and Secondary campuses. Furthermore, we must find out what kinds of learners these pupils are, which will ultimately contribute to Academic Honesty of these children, making them life-long learners and ethical professionals.

Academic Honesty: Guidance for Schools (September 2003), IBO

Academic Honesty: Diploma Programme (September 2007), IBO

Extended Essay: Guide (March 2007), IBO

Academic Honesty in the IB Educational Context (August 2014), IBO

Effective Citing and Referencing (August 2014), IBO


Trevor Trumper, former ARIS Diploma Programme Coordinator

Barb Bilgre, MYP Coordinator

Alpana Mukherjee, Head of Secondary

Dorinda Tham, MYP & DP Language & Literature Teacher
Al-Rayan International School, Ghana