By Michael Prappas
I helped with freshman retreat a couple weeks ago, and one of the huge topics we talked about was cheating. Freshmen who have only been at St. Thomas for a quarter already see cheating, and a ton of it.
I came back to school that afternoon and picked up a copy of the new Eagle (84-3). After walking freshmen through cheating scenarios just that day, Nick Lednicky’s article about turnitin.com really hit home.
To think that as a smaller Catholic high school we have completely fostered student-teacher trust is over the top.
I can’t help but disagree with the idea that “teachers and students trust each other and there is not a cheating problem.” Universities and high schools across the country have standards like turnitin.com to verify their trust. Limiting the use of turnitin.com to only suspected students is unfair to those students.
On the same note, smarter and generally trustworthy students should not be able to skip turnitin.com just because of their reputation or their paper’s surface appearance. How can a teacher know if a paper looks like it was copied from the Internet, especially if the student is already a good writer?
Teachers’ checking their students’ work for plagiarism is definitely not a violation of trust. Just like random drug and tablet checks, every St. Thomas student should be held to the same standards. Like Reagan said, “trust but verify.”