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The IB programs have a strong emphasis on Academic Honesty throughout the three programs, in particular the Diploma Program. The skill of referencing and citations are expected to be taught at appropriate times in a students life, and ideally when they reach the higher year levels, they will know how to do it without too much problem. Referencing and citation are assessable skills in some subjects through the subject criterion from year 7 (or 11 year olds), and are an integral part of the Approaches to Learning skills (ATL).
If you are of my generation or even younger, you would not have been even exposed to referencing, bibliographies and in text citation until you hit University level, and even then it was a big shock to the system and created much stress. (Where does that comma go, what is italised??) After working in my current school for a little while I began to see a pattern of inconsistency regarding referencing and citing through no fault other than it is a big school, and that no one had actually taken the beast by the horns and tamed it.
Some subjects did not require a bibliography, other a list of websites or URL's was enough, other subjects insisted on manually written bibliographies and others encouraged the use of Easybib. Explicit teaching of this skill was happening but in ad hoc manner to varying degrees of success. In text citation was another area of concern where some subjects required year 7 to attempt in text citations. Imagine being a student trying to figure this out - who requires what and what is the standard expected?
Where to start? The MYP Co-ordinator and I knew some things were going on, but we were not sure what, where and by whom so we set about holding an audit of referencing in the school via a Google Form. Each year level had their own google form. The same questions were asked on each form for each year group.
The Head of Departments were briefed about the audit, and what we hope to achieve from it. They were requested to share the form with their departments and allocate different people to complete the form for each year group depending on who taught the year level.
After the allocated time, the results were viewed and then using the Google form Form menu "Show summary of responses" where it places all the data into lovely graphs. Below is the result of the year 7 survey ....
I then matched subjects from the results form to the answers and we came up with some data about what is happening where. I shared these results with the MYP co-ordinator and we hatched a plan as to the next step.
The plan was that I would bring it all together in a report - text with visuals, and present it to the Head of Departments to then work on moving forward to standardise referencing across the secondary school. I was also to create a draft scope and sequence for referencing and citation for year 7-13, keeping in mind the capacity or the different year groups. This draft would be presented to the HOD's for comment and for them to take the document back to their departments for comments and improvements. Ideally we will get a small working party together to finalise the scope and sequence to be implemented from the next academic year.
The overall goals are :
- students to be required to submit a bibliography in all subjects and for all work that uses another person's ideas and information whether or not the subjects criterion explicitly specifies it. It would fall under the ATL category of Information Literacy Skills in this case.
- the skill of referencing and in text citation to be taught explicitly by each of the subjects that require it in the criterion, using the scope and sequence as a basis.
- teaching resources and exemplars will be created to assist in the teaching of these skills\
- Teachers will be briefed and upskilled on the APA style for referencing and the use of Easybib.
- The scope and sequence will be expanded into the PYP next year so the whole school is on the same page.
The documents were shared with the HOD's and the response was positive and enthusiastic.
The Draft Scope and Sequence is linked here and I would welcome any comments or suggestions. You can comment on the Google doc itself or in the comments on this blog.