Freeport High School adds online program that checks for plagiar - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Freeport High School adds online program that checks for plagiarism

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FREEPORT (WREX) -

They are two of the popular commands on a computer, copy and paste.

"We all go to the internet and when we want something and particularly want to remember, we just cut, right click, copy, paste, put it in a document," said Boylan Catholic High School Social Sciences Dept. Chair Louise Basile.

10th grader Davida Sanders gets that temptation all the time when writing essay after essay, and as she becomes a better writer she's also running into another problem.

"My writing skills are improving so therefore some of the things I say are actually matching what some article writers are saying on their website so I'm like I have to fix that," Sanders said.

It's one reason Freeport High School will soon require its students to submit their papers through a program called Turnitin.

Within seconds the web-based program checks assignments for grammatical errors and plagiarism.

"We know that Turnitin, with all the databases they have, the millions of sources that they have, they will find whether it's done maliciously or done inadvertently," said Freeport High School Assistant Principal Aaron Wichman.

Boylan Catholic High School in Rockford already uses the tool.

"It's just become normal to the students," said Boylan Social Science Dept. Chair Louis Basile. "We want them to know how to put things in their own words and to write in a scholarly, formal way."

Unlike in college where students can fail a course, or even be expelled for plagiarism, Freeport plans to use Turnitin as a learning opportunity.

"We do look it as a teachable moment, maybe here's what you did that can be corrected, here's maybe something you did that you just weren't aware of," Wichman said.

Davida Sanders hopes the new tool will not only make writing essays easier but also get her ready to write even more papers in college.

Freeport High School will start with the Turnitin program in English classes before rolling it out to the rest of the school.

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