The Honor System

The Honor System at McDaniel College


The McDaniel College community affirms its commitment to the ideals of personal integrity and community honor in all aspects of campus life, including academic endeavors, use of College facilities, and respect for community and personal property. The honor system at the College affirms that honest people are the most important elements of a good community and that the rights of the honest majority must be protected against the actions of individuals acting dishonestly. Thus, the Honor Board is established to correct academic honor violations within the College community. Academic violations consist of cheating in coursework and misuse of primary and secondary resources. Both student and faculty have an obligation to themselves and to their peers to discourage honor violations in any form. For the student, this means not only taking  personal responsibility for one’s own actions, but also discouraging academic dishonesty by making it socially unacceptable behavior. The student is required to report all instances of academic honor violations. This action is a social responsibility because academic dishonor has a detrimental effect on the grades of all students in a given course. For the faculty, this means clearly establishing guidelines at the beginning of every course and then making it physically difficult to cheat during the rest of the semester. In some courses this might simply mean removing temptation; in others, it might involve more stringent procedures such as simultaneously administering all examinations regardless of course sectioning. In some courses it might also mean proctoring exams.

Students will sign an Honor Pledge on all their work, indicating that they have neither given nor received unauthorized help, nor tolerated others doing so.


Examples of Honor System Infractions

The following list of honor system infractions is not meant to be all-inclusive; rather it records representative examples of violations that have occurred at McDaniel College.

I. Cheating

A. Tests and quizzes

  1. Taking a test or quiz using notes or other aids unless permitted by the instructor.
  2. Taking a test or quiz with prior knowledge of the contents of that particular test or quiz without the consent of the instructor.
  3. Asking, giving, or receiving answers during a test or quiz.
  4. Leaving the testing area to obtain answers.

B. Homework

  1. Handing in another’s work as one’s own.
  2. Consulting with another reference or person unless permitted by the instructor.
  3. Exceeding the time limit when one exists.

C. Aiding others in tests, quizzes, and homework.

  1. Explicitly giving another answers, either verbal, written, or by any signal.
  2. Discreetly giving another answers, such as leaving a paper in another’s plain view.
  3. Obtaining a test, quiz, or answer key before a test is administered, even if not in the class.

D. Altering laboratory data recorded from an experiment or experimental procedure.

E. Falsifying information influencing academic standing.

  1. Falsifying attendance records, such as signing someone else’s name on attendance sheets.
  2. Falsifying test, quiz, or other recorded work, such as changing an answer after the work has been graded to obtain a higher grade; changing a grade if the work is handed out before the grade is recorded; submitting an incorrect score in a physical education class.

II. Plagiarism

The use of another person’s work, facts, or ideas without proper acknowledgment is dishonest. It usually involves the attempt to gain unfair academic advantage. Every McDaniel College student must understand plagiarism and avoid it.

Buying a prepared paper, taking a paper or speech from an organization’s file, borrowing or stealing a paper from another student and submitting that work as one’s own, or copying whole sections or chapters from reference works, are the most obvious forms of plagiarism. They are also the most easily identifiable and the most avoidable.

Plagiarism does not always consist of wholesale theft. There are various ways by which a writer can advertently or inadvertently use the work of another incorrectly and dishonestly. To avoid even the hint of dishonesty, students should always acknowledge, either in the text or in the footnote of an assignment, facts not of general knowledge and the ideas and phrasing of others. This stricture applies to all types of work, including speeches, research papers, creative writing, expository essays, book reports, computer programs, etc.

In all of your papers at McDaniel College, you will be required to document your sources properly and use quotation marks around even short passages that are directly quoted. Failure to do so will constitute plagiarism, which is dishonest, and for which ignorance of proper procedures is no excuse.

A. Documentation—You do not need to provide documentation for noncontroversial, factual information known by people who are generally familiar with the area of your research. You do not, for example, have to provide a source for the date and place of birth of Ernest Hemingway if you are writing a paper on Hemingway.

You must, however, give credit where credit is due. You must document all references to authority, whether you quote your sources’ words or not. If you give Carlos Baker’s opinion of something about Hemingway, you must provide a reference to tell where Baker’s idea is located. Similarly, you must provide the source of any unique data, including statistics, that you use in your own writing.

B. Quotation marks—In addition to appropriate documentation, you must place quotation marks around passages from your sources. Study the following carefully:

For use as an example, here is a sentence from page 183 of Luigi Barzini’s “The Europeans,” quoted exactly:

Both those on the extreme left and the extreme right wanted to establish dictatorships and abolish democracy and the rule of law.

Correctly used full quotation:

Luigi Barzini has argued that “Both those on the extreme left and the extreme right wanted to establish dictatorships and abolish democracy and the rule of law” (183).

Correctly used portion of sentence:

Luigi Barzini believes that both extremes of the political spectrum desired “to establish dictatorships and abolish democracy …” 54(183).

Correctly paraphrased (hence, no quotations):

Luigi Barzini believes that both extremes of the political spectrum wanted to set up a dictatorship and eliminate democracy (183).

(Note: There is no need to quote commonplace, single words and phrases like wanted to or democracy, but note that the passage is documented even though there is no quotation.)

Plagiarized version:

Both those on the extreme left and right wanted to establish a dictatorship (Barzini 183). They also wanted to abolish democracy and the rule of law.

Note: The author simply left out a couple of words and slightly altered others. The documentation does not compensate for such a close use of the original. Furthermore, the author implies that the second sentence (without documentation and quotation marks) is original.

For additional details on documentation and on quotation marks, consult your freshman English textbook or consult with the professor who made the assignment.

III. Preparing Papers

A. The composition of a paper must be a student’s own work. If editorial assistance is needed, the student should refer to the appropriate reference work. Assistance from anyone other than the instructor must be acknowledged.
B. If a student’s paper is typed by someone else, the student must notify the typist that the paper must be prepared precisely as submitted. Any unacknowledged editing by a typist is plagiarism.
C. A student may not submit a copy of a paper or substantially the same paper in different courses for credit without the express permission of all instructors who will consider the paper.

IV. Plagiarism in the Sciences

Students in the sciences occasionally encounter special problems not covered in the preceding discussion of plagiarism because of the diverse nature and purposes of assignments or laboratory exercises.
A. Problems to be submitted for credit—All work on problems must be the student’s own. In the strictest sense, this means that the use of another’s ideas, including methods of solving the problem, or work without giving proper recognition to the originator, are acts of plagiarism. Instructors often do allow and even encourage students to consult with one another on the methods of solving a problem. In the absence of an instructor’s statement to the contrary, however, the strictest sense of the definition is in effect. If there is any doubt, ask the instructor before doing the work.
B. Laboratory work—Laboratory reports typically involve presenting large amounts of information: data, procedures, calculations, and conclusions. Information obtained from sources other than the student’s own experiments must be documented precisely. Proper documentation of sources not only avoids charges of plagiarism, but also gives credence to the experimenter’s findings.

Following are examples of the type of information that, if obtained from another’s work, must be documented.

  1. Physical data, such as melting and boiling points, density, spectral properties, solubility, acidity strength.
  2. Procedures, such as methods for performing a specific analysis or operation, how a particular reaction is to be implemented.
  3. Experimental data.
  4. Calculations such as the use of a particular formula that is not common knowledge. To clarify this, the formula for the area of a triangle is common knowledge, but the formula for calculating trophic state from nutrient concentrations is not.

Any information gained by consulting another’s lab notebook or reports, either contemporary or from previous classes, must be properly documented. A safe guide to follow is always to give proper credit to someone else’s procedures, calculations, data, or ideas. If in doubt, consult the instructor.

V. Computer Programs

A computer program must be a student’s own work. A student may not submit a computer program for credit which is a copy or modification of another individual’s program unless permission is granted and proper acknowledgment given. Modifications are defined as cosmetic differences in the program that do not change the structure or logic of the program.

VI. Generative AI (ChatGPT, etc.)

AI generated text is citable text (like an article or passage from a book), therefore, students are not allowed to use it in their assignments without proper citation. If students use generative AI to help brainstorm ideas to get started on an assignment, they must cite the AI. Likewise, any other use of AI generated text must be cited, e.g. if students use generative AI to edit work or to turn footnotes into a proper bibliography, they must make a clear note of it. Professors will treat any failure to properly cite AI with a grade of 0 for the whole assignment and will consider this as an infraction of the honor code.

Guidelines for the Administration of Quizzes, Tests, and Examinations

These guidelines should be followed when administering tests:

  • The professor is expected to supervise every test. A professor or a designate if necessary is required to proctor examinations.
  • The professor should be available to clarify questions during tests; consequently students should know where the professor can be found.
  • The professor should give instructions about how, where, and when test papers should be submitted. Any particular procedures or conditions to be followed consistently throughout the semester should be stated specifically at the beginning of the term.
  • Tests normally will be taken with the class assembled at an announced time and place. Students must have the professor’s permission to take tests at any other time or place.
  • If a professor permits a student to take a test at another time and intends to use the same or similar questions, the student should be informed. They are then honor-bound not to discuss the test or to obtain any information about it. The professor should announce to the class who is being permitted to take the test later so that they will not discuss it in the student’s presence. If the student inadvertently learns some details of the test questions, the student must report this to the professor.
  • Students must remain quiet during tests to allow others to concentrate. Professors with crowded classrooms should set standards of decorum for students who, in leaving a classroom during a test, might otherwise disturb classmates.
  • To minimize both temptations and misunderstandings, students should not take notes and books into classrooms during tests, and professors should arrange for adequate space between desks. This might require using additional rooms or suggesting that students seat themselves at alternate desks. Professors have the right to ask students to move to alternative desks in order to assure adequate spacing during tests and exams.
  • There should be no talking during an exam except to the professor.