Plagiarism is a Nasty Word

Plagiarism is a nasty word. It is nasty because most students do not understand what it is. For those high schoolers getting ready to go to college next fall, it’s a word they should become familiar with.

Teaching how to paraphrase is the start of the confusion. Students are asked to summarize things they have read to make sure they comprehend it. Students are asked to restate sentences or questions, and they are asked to turn Shakespearean or other difficult language into their own words. All this is done to promote comprehension. However, students get the message that paraphrasing is okay, legitimate. NO!

Yes, plagiarism is quoting another’s words, but it is also taking another’s ideas even if they are not in the other’s words. Ah, paraphrasing is Plagiarism.

We suggest you take a look at Middlebury college professor William Harris’s essay that defines plaigiarism and even gives you some rights you have if you are accused of plagiarism. It may become handy because colleges today are very serious about academic honesty. First-year students can not afford to be ill-informed or misinformed.

Time for SAT Season!

We are in the middle of SAT season, which means many students are thinking about retakes for better scores. How does one improve an SAT score in Reading? That’s the big question. There are all kinds of study courses, practice tests, and words of advice, but for the poor muddled high school test-taker lots of the information and admonishments they are given make little real sense. Students are still left with those nagging questions, Why was that wrong? or What am I supposed to do differently?

We found one article The SAT Reading Comprehension: Basic Principles on the FamilyEducation site which is an excellent antidote to the confusion.

The article is clear and has hands-on examples and exercises. It readily recognizes the devil is in the questions, not in the reading passage, but it stands out from other advice by EXPLAINING how to skim. Yes, skimming is not just quick reading which can leave the reader confused. Reading is, after all, about understanding the writer, who has a point. Skimming is about avoiding the extra, and because details can slow you down, a reader has to avoid them. But, skimming is not skipping over the writer’s point, and this article shows you how to get that main idea in four easy and meaningful steps before hurrying on to the questions.

Check it out and tell us what you think.