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GCSE English coursework - plagiarism

(16 Posts)
midnightlurker Thu 26-Jan-17 10:07:41

Is it plagiarism if they have used ideas from a book/film but changed details and put it in their own words? So within a whole two page text, a couple of events are similar to those in a film/book, but not the same? E.g. in the book there is a homeless man shivering in a doorway who sees something special. In the coursework there is a homeless girl shivering in a doorway - she too sees something special but what she sees is different from the thing the man in the book saw (obviously my example is not what the candidate wrote!).

A friend of mine's teen thought it would be ok to do something similar to the above example - college say no. Who is right?

Checkedstripes Thu 26-Jan-17 18:53:02

I'd say no, too. Sorry! Clearly copied and recognisable.

70ontheinside Thu 26-Jan-17 19:02:06

I would say it's a bit of a grey area.
Is every story of young lovers not being allowed to be together by their families a plagiarisation of Romeo and Juliet? There are, after all, only so many themes you can write about.
I would raise my eyebrows at a young girl finding out she is a witch on her 12th birthday by way of an invitation to join a witchcraft boarding school a bit suspicious.
The devil's in the detail...

Grey area. I suspect many children I teach have 'borrowed' plots from films or books I haven't read and we actively encourage it with tasks like 'write the scene from Lady Macbeth's point of view'.

How are they still doing coursework?

echt Sat 28-Jan-17 14:49:06

Possibly the most superb piece of plagiarism I've encountered is the one where a student claimed that their introductory sentence: "It is a truth universally acknowledge, that a single man, etc." was their own. Would not back down.

Back to the OP's OP: if you recognise a resemblance, than it's a pinch.

Am laughing my socks off at entertaining the preference of a teen's view over a college's. Seriously??

@echt How dare they? Clearly that line is completely mine.

midnightlurker Sat 28-Jan-17 20:40:28

Echt

The college were not clear that this would not be allowed and in class they have been told to write things 'in the style of' and 'from another point of view' quite a bit. The teen in question is confused and upset as they were told plagiarism was a direct quotation only. A resit has been offered and it is necessary to fully understand exactly what they can/cannot do so the next piece is Ok.

Imagine being afraid to write anything at all because you don't understand what is allowed. I offered to ask on here because they will not tell her the answer to that question!!

midnightlurker Sat 28-Jan-17 20:42:01

P.S. I found guidelines for examiners that suggest direct quotation only being a problem. No help at all!

walruswhiskers Sun 29-Jan-17 09:40:58

I'm assuming the use of coursework means the student is either resitting or at a private school taking iGCSE (the posh can still do coursework, it's just the plebs that can't).

To answer the point; anything that is clearly another person's work is plagiarism. That encompasses quite a range from copy and paste to pinching plot ideas but as a pp said, the details are what matters - if it feels familiar but is differently rendered it is probably OK. However, I'd be guided by the college. If they think it is plagiarised, they are probably right. It's a huge risk anyway - get caught by the exam board and you don't only fail their exam, but potentially every exam with the same board.

walruswhiskers Sun 29-Jan-17 09:42:12

She needs to do the rewrite and ensure she writes something she ha never seen elsewhere.

Blueemeraldagain Sun 29-Jan-17 09:55:53

We are doing our last year of IGCSE (at a school for students with social, emotional and mental health difficulties in south east London so the very opposite of posh). I tell my students that if I (I may also show it to a few of my video game playing/action film watching friends if I am suspicious) can work out what it's based on then it won't pass. If I can't/don't pick up on it then it will be ok.

Feel free to PM me your actual example and I can try and give you some specific advice.

sashh Sun 29-Jan-17 09:59:37

The teen in question is confused and upset as they were told plagiarism was a direct quotation only.

You would not believe how often teenagers tell me and each other this, they also say it is OK if they change a few words, it is not.

Some argue quite a lot because obviously a 15 year old knows better than a teacher.

I use the analogy of burglary. If you come home and the TV and Sky box are missing and you find out the thief has put it in their house but have arranged it differently is it still theft?

Do you know what time title was? This might help us work out which unit it was and help a bit more.

Gooseygoosey12345 Sun 29-Jan-17 11:02:49

Plagiarism is using anyone else's ideas and claiming them as your own without using a reference, which obviously you can't do if it's supposed to be creative writing.

JenniferYellowHat1980 Sun 29-Jan-17 20:43:28

I tell my students that if I (I may also show it to a few of my video game playing/action film watching friends if I am suspicious) can work out what it's based on then it won't pass. If I can't/don't pick up on it then it will be ok.

And if the centre moderator picks up on something that you haven't?

Blueemeraldagain Mon 30-Jan-17 19:08:53

Well, it would be the same as any student plagiarism that wasn't spotted?
It hasn't happened yet and this is last year.
I only have 5 students in year 11 and am very involved in completing the coursework with them. If there is an influence from somewhere I'm 99.9% I will know about it and will tell them it has to be changed.
I do also warn them that a moderator spotting it is a possibility.
My cynical opinion is that it costs around 3 times as much to take a Cambridge IGCSE as "normal" GCSE. They are very flexible with entry deadlines etc. It's a money making exercise.

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