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Recently, physics students at Townsend Harris High School received the news of a new policy regarding the weekly lab report submission process. This is the outcome of a major cheating incident rampant in all four of Mr. Raghunath’s honors physics classes.
Regarding the scandal, Mr. Raghunath stated, “I would have liked to think that the students of Townsend Harris would be willing to submit their own original work, rather than copy the ideas from another student or use information from other sources, such as textbooks or online journals.”
According to Mr. Raghunath, many students shared their labs with friends, received labs from students in other classes, or copied their siblings’ labs from previous years. As a result, all students are required to share their future reports on Google Drive as well as “turnitin.com,” a website that compares reports to other submitted labs and checks for plagiarism.
One week after the new policy, Mr. Raghunath claimed, “with [this] implementation, there has been a remarkable drop in the number of plagiarized work I’ve seen… So I think we’re on the right track.” However, students haven’t responded positively to the new change. Sophomore Erica Vercessi says, “I think [turnitin.com] causes a lot of unneeded anxiety, but if you know you didn’t cheat, then it’s not that big of a deal.” On the other hand, Erica believes the system’s plagiarism screen is slightly flawed. She explained, “At first I had 3% unoriginality on my report, but then it went to 49% because many people and I copied the questions on the sheet we needed to answer.”
Regardless of these inconveniences, it seems like this new system is here to stay.