In high school and college, plagiarism is on the rise and administrators believe this is bad, immoral and unethical. They believe it is stealing someone else's ideas, their hard work, research, time, and that a student does not learn if they plagiarize. There are several reasons why students choose to use the words and ideas of another rather than to author their own thoughts and words. If everyone were to take a different look at plagiarism, the number of reasons a student plagiarizes could be reduced.
Plagiarism is defined as taking the work or ideas of someone else and passing it off as one's own. If plagiarism were redefined to have two levels of offence and two levels of punishment, this would help teachers, administrators and students. The first level of plagiarism would be called plagiarism in the first-degree and defined as, copying the words and ideas of someone else and passing them off as their own, on purpose, with intent and malice. The punishment would be that the student would get an "F" for the paper and fail the class. The second level of plagiarism would be plagiarism in the second-degree. This definition would be that there was no intention to copy someone else's ideas or words. The student paraphrased too closely to the original work, or that the quotation marks were forgotten. There was no malice or intent to cheat by the student. The punishment would also be redefined; the student would have their grade for the paper lowered or they could get an "F" for the paper, but would not fail the class. By redefining plagiarism, teachers would only need to spend their extra time on the students that truly stole someone else's work and not spend their time on the students who made an unintentional mistake.
In today's busy world, everyone is going here and there and students are no different. They have jobs, classes, clubs, sports, family responsibilities and friends.