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Academic Integrity

For a reported grade or evaluation to be meaningful it must represent the individual work of the student without external resources or assistance. TPS understands each student, including close siblings, to be unique individuals whose talents must be developed and evaluated individually.

Unless the teacher provides explicit special accommodations in writing:

  • All submitted work must be the individual work of the student. While students may study together or work together on homework, lab work, or projects, they must still prepare and submit individual work.
  • All exams, tests, and quizzes must be taken in a single sitting without breaks, without any books, notes, internet references, or other aids, except those explicitly allowed in writing by the teacher. Parents are responsible for maintaining the integrity of the evaluation process in the home education setting, and may be asked to certify this as part of the process.
  • All written essays and paragraphs must be original, and not a copy or paraphrase of other works, including books, online articles, or another student’s work.

Plagiarism is a particular concern in a digital information age. Plagiarism is any use of another person’s ideas or words in your own work, without explicitly citing the other work and crediting it as your source. All TPS students will be trained on plagiarism at the start of each course, usually to include a required video that explains and provides examples of plagiarism.

Academic integrity is an active process, not a passive one. A student is expected to proactively maintain full academic integrity, by following all assignment and evaluation guidelines to the letter in a process of transparent accountability, by not working so closely with another student that their individual work cannot be evaluated independently, and by keeping clear referenced notes of unique content found in any media or other references viewed in preparation for an evaluated assignment (paper, test, etc.). In short, since part of any evaluation assesses not just the content but also the individuality of the content, failure to maintain academic individuality and integrity is also failure to meet the most basic criteria of the assignment, and is a failure of the assignment itself, regardless of whether this failure was intentional or accidental.

Academic integrity violations will be addressed using this general approach:

  • All incidents will be investigated, to gain a full understanding of the circumstances and severity. Parents are encouraged to participate as investigators in the process, though all final judgments will be made by TPS teachers and leadership, since TPS must certify the grades for a course.
  • Work that is found to be in violation of academic integrity will not be credited (i.e., will receive a zero).
  • Where there is unresolvable uncertainty about major parts of a course’s work, that course will be moved to Audit or dropped.
  • If TPS loses confidence in a student’s general academic integrity (e.g., through intractability or repeated violations), that student may be dropped from all classes. If TPS loses confidence in the overall process for ensuring academic integrity of schoolwork within a home or organization, TPS may drop all courses for all students in that home or organization.