Spotlight on academic integrity
Academic Integrity is a fundamental aspect of the CP course and no greater way is played out than in the reflective project process. For schools offering CP or multiple IB programmes including CP, this is familiar territory indeed. Academic Integrity is also an area that all stakeholders need refreshing about every year so ensuring that Core, DP and CRS staff are up to speed with what malpractice can look like and what to do if they are suspect issues, is crucial. In addition to this, 2020 has thrown many challenges at us; adapting to ensure that academic integrity is not compromised by the new ways we have had to teach and learn is just yet another.
Advice released on the 20th October and 3rd November by the IB gives clarification of changes to assessment for M21 and N21 sessions as well as core specific guidance for the CP. Such literature indicates a reality of moving core teaching and learning online and carried out remotely; conversations with different centres have illustrated successes and setbacks in such a process but certainly what unites everyone is a commitment to make it work.
Interestingly, in the core guidance it is the reflective project area that needs arguably more attention. It details the need here for supervision to move remotely and how this can be carried out. Remember the role of the supervisor is to witness the reflective project process in a way that they can verify that the work is the student’s own authentic research and exploration. It might be that remote supervision calls for supervisors to pay close attention to comparing previous work with current work to check that the student’s work is consistently progressing without anomalies. Certainly, it is also sensible to ask students to provide excerpts and evidence of the research they have done to confirm not only the amount of work they have done but also how they have used it.
It remains that the supervisor’s key role is to ask good open questions that guides students into getting the most out of the reflective project so the more the student feels they can interact in as natural way as possible with their supervisor the better; making real use of a shared online RSS – essentially a journal with vlogs, blogs, photos, videos, comments, questions, extended reflections can make the job of tracking the student’s reflective project process a lot easier and also more enjoyable. Arguably it establishes a use for the Research and Reflection Space in a far more authentic and useful way than is often utilized by students in ‘normal’ times. Many centres also use plagiarism software which can be really helpful but obviously results need to be scrutinized and not taken at face value.
The reality remains that in tough times such as this, students and parents may feel tempted to access outside tuition and guidance – especially if they perceive the support network has not been effectively establish by school. This is a very tricky area and essentially compromised academic integrity.