Academic Integrity Policy

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The purpose of this policy is to create and maintain an environment in which students are held and hold each other accountable for becoming ethical users of information and ideas.  Our goal is for students to learn and practice ethical behaviors in regard to information and information technology.  Academic integrity is an obligation for all students at Middleton High School.


Academic integrity involves adhering to the values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility in all facets of the learning process. 

Academic misconduct is considered a violation of academic integrity, either while acting alone or assisting others.   There are six (6) areas listed below that constitute academic misconduct including examples of each. 


Academic misconduct is an act in which a student:

Examples include but are not limited to:

1.     Commits plagiarism

·         See next section

2.     Submits falsified or invented work/information instead of actually doing the work, research, or task themselves

·         Changing or creating data in a lab experiment

·         Writing up a fake interview

3.     Uses unauthorized tools or materials in any academic work

·         Using notes, programmable calculators, or other electronic devices on an assessment when such use is not allowed

·         Stealing or selling tests or course materials

·         Using an on-line translator for more than words or phrases

4.     Misuses or falsifies academic documents

·         Altering a transcript or report card

·         Signing another person’s name to an attendance roster or grade check

·         Forging a hallway pass

5.     Purposefully damages or hinders the work of others

·         Hiding books or reference materials needed to complete an assignment

·         Tampering with lab experiment, art project, or electronic files of another student.

6.     Assists other students in any of these acts

·         Allowing a person to use your notes on a test


Plagiarism can be a form of academic misconduct.  Plagiarism is taking credit, whether deliberate or not, for another person’s or source’s (print or non-print) ideas or words, works or processes without proper citation or credit.

Sources do not need to be cited for material that is considered to be “common knowledge” – that is factual information that is considered in the “public domain” because it is published in multiple standard reference works.  Likewise, when common knowledge is related to a field or specialty, sources may not need to be cited if the information is widely known to people within that field.  Because it may be hard to determine what is considered common knowledge, it is a good idea to cite sources or ask your teacher for guidance.   

Cooperative Learning /Group Work:  Because this type of work presents unique learning opportunities, it is important that each student do his/her assigned part in a timely manner consistent with the teacher’s rubric or timeline.  Relying on others to do his/her work because a student fails to complete his/her part in a timely manner, either intentionally or not, is considered academic misconduct and the student will be subject to the consequences outlined below.  Other members of the group who fully participate and complete their work will not be subject to consequences including a reduced grade because of the student’s failure to complete his/her part of the group project

Teacher Responsibilities:  teachers at MHS are committed to teaching and upholding ethical standards when it comes to appropriate use of information and information technology.  To this end, teachers will:

  • Review the Academic Integrity Policy with students at the beginning of each semester and provide reinforcement as necessary particularly when projects and papers are assigned.
  • Provide clear and detailed guidelines when a paper or project is assigned including reference to using proper MLA formats, extent of help allowed from peers and other adults, check points and deadlines;
  • Oversee group work with appropriate check points to ensure that all students are fully participating in the group; including clear direction on cooperative learning roles, responsibilities, and expectations for group projects
  • Coach students who are experiencing difficulty in completing projects through all phases of research including identifying information sources, proper use of those sources, timeliness, formatting and composing the body of the paper, etc.


Student Responsibilities:  students at MHS are committed to learning and practicing ethical behaviors when it comes to learning and using information and information technology by:

  • Completing and submitting their own work consistent with teacher guidelines for individual or group work and accepted standards such as the MLA format;
  • Asking for help/clarification early and often if they do not understand an assignment or are experiencing difficulty which may prevent the timely completion of their work;
  • Reading, signing, and returning a form annually indicating that they and their parents have read and fully understand all parts of the “MHS Policy on Academic Integrity”.


Procedure if misconduct is suspected:  When a teacher or staff member has reason to believe that academic misconduct has occurred the following procedure will be followed:

  • The teacher/staff member will investigate the alleged misconduct with the student(s) by providing the student with a written or verbal description of the academic misconduct;
  • The student has the opportunity to present his/her perspective of the alleged misconduct either verbally or in writing;
  • The teacher/staff member will communicate the outcome of his/her investigation to the student, principal and parent.
  • If it is determined that misconduct has occurred, the appropriate consequences will be assigned based on the protocol below.

OR –

  • The teacher, in consultation with the Principal, may refer the incident to the Administration/Dean if several students are involved in the infraction and the teacher does not have the capacity to perform a comprehensive investigation or other criteria warrant a broader investigation of the charge.

Consequences for Plagiarism


Level of Violation




Level - A

·     Submit a purchased paper (from on-line or other source)

·     Copy another students work (Writing, photograph, sound or video recording, musical composition) in its entirety

·     Word-for-Word Plagiarism:  approximately 70% same as original, whole paragraphs copied

·     50% of work same as original source. 



Goal: Inform, Correct, Deter and Prevent Future Violations

·   Zero on Assignment, no chance for revision

·   Discuss with Student

·   Administrative Contact

·   Parent Contact

·   In or out of school suspension

·   Incident recorded in Infinite Campus

Level 2 Code of Conduct Violation


Level - B


·         Mix of Word-for-Word plagiarism and students own work (<50% same as original source)

·         Multiple incidents of level C

Goal:  Inform, Correct and Deter

·         Zero on assignment until revisions are made

·         Discuss with Student

·         Parent Contact

·         Administrative Contact

·         Incident noted in Infinite Campus

Level 1 Code of Conduct Violation


Level - C


·         Patchwork Paraphrasing / phrase level plagiarism

·         Student uses own words but not own ideas and offers no citations

·         Student uses quotations with no citations.

·         Student uses published images without citation.

·         One major citation omitted.

Goal:  Inform and Correct

Zero on assignment until revisions are made

·        Discuss with Student

·        Incident noted in Infinite Campus

Consequences for Other Academic Misconduct:  Incidences of academic misconduct are taken seriously at MHS and are handled through a series of progressive consequences depending on the type of misconduct and whether this is a first violation or a repeat violation.   If the staff member determines that a case of academic misconduct other than plagiarism has occurred in any of the five (5) areas, the student will be referred to administration (Dean/House Team) for investigation.   Because these cases are more likely “intentional” in nature, the consequences are more severe, including suspension from school and co-curriculars.

Appeal Process:  if a student or parent wishes to appeal the consequence that is assigned or feels that the outcome/findings is/are unjustified, the student or parent may make a written appeal to an ad hoc Academic Integrity Committee composed of the Principal /appropriate Dean, the School Counselor, and/or Department Chairperson. 

Education Process:  the MHS community including teachers, administrators, other relevant staff, students, and parents will be required to read and indicate that they understand the policy as written.  This policy, along with others referenced herein, will be published in the annual MHS Student Handbook that is provided to each student at the beginning of the year.  In addition, the policy will be available on an on-going basis on the on-line student handbook that includes school policies and procedures under “School Info” on the MHS Home Page.

Teachers will review the policy with students at the beginning of each semester and provide additional training in proper research protocol prior to the first major assignment, and on an as needed basis thereafter.