WJHSD upping efforts to stop plagiarism

October 2, 2018

West Jefferson Hills School District students thinking about snatching their sibling’s paper and submitting it as their own better think again.

Teachers will be keeping a better eye out for copied work, as the school board on Aug. 28 approved an agreement with Turnitin LLC to check submitted papers at Thomas Jefferson High School for plagiarism. The program costs $3,901 for the 2018-19 school year.

“Here’s the thing: It’s been around for a long time. Most colleges, most high schools use Turnitin.com,” Superintendent Michael Ghilani said.

Ghilani said every high school both he and Scott Milburn, assistant superintendent of secondary education, have worked for have used anti-plagiarism software.

The program will be utilized first in English and social studies classes.

It runs papers checked in the system against everything from what’s on the internet to archives kept in the system from high schools and colleges across the country. Every paper scanned is archived in the system, so a student 10 years from now can’t take their sibling’s paper and try and use it, Ghilani said.

“It checks it against every online college and high school in the entire country to see if there’s any passages, paragraphs, sentences that have been plagiarized,” he said.

The software also can provide anecdotal feedback to students. However, West Jefferson Hills is only using it as an anti-plagiarism tool to start.

“It’s a great tool to teach kids integrity,” Ghilani said.

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