Is there a mechanism that can detect writing styles? What I am trying to figure out is how can we catch students that are turning in papers that they have bought from someone else.  We already use to prevent plagiarism but how can we prevent students from buying papers online?

Tags: ethical, plagiarism,

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Just type a random line of it into google. It does a fine job of finding copied/purchased work.

Of course, the best solution is to create assignments that can't be easily purchased/copied.
Try this site:
Basu, Saikat. Plagiarism Checkers: 5 Free Websites To Catch The Copycats. 21 Jul. 2009. 22 August 2009 a href=">" target="_blank">>;.
We recently decided that the district could not afford so teachers have tried a few of these sites.
Plagium: Online Plagiarism Tracker
Thanks for the links. I will look into them.
The best defense against cheating like this is to require students to turn in drafts at every step of the writing process -- brainstorming, prewriting (graphic organizers or outline), rough draft, rewirtes (2nd-3rd draft), final draft -- and not all at once, but staggered to show an evolving process. After all, it's the process that should be graded and the final draft simply shows the end result. Then there's always copy & pasting sections of the student's work into google or some other search engine to see if any exact matches come up.
Another way similar to checking at different the stages of writing is to provide some of the content to be used in the writing assignment. Provide the articles and perhaps even some note cards on specific topics. They have to find two more articles to include, and then have to synthesize and write their paper using the things the teacher provides. The focus is on the synthesis and writing, and it makes it a lot harder to copy or turn in a paper they have bought....unless it's a custom paper. I think a lot of times, kids can't break the process down into all the steps needed, so it's easier just to copy something. Let's help them with all the steps!

I also like asking students to speak with me one on one about their topic and their work so far, before the deadline. You can pretty quickly tell who knows the content and who doesn't. You can see where they are struggling.

An honor code...something they sign when they turn in each major assignment, might be interesting to try too. My son's favorite high school teacher did that, after talking about what honor and reputation meant in a pretty serious way. I can give you more info on that teacher if you are interested. He's at Coral Gables HS.
You are all right. I posed the question because two staff members approached me looking for a techie solution to this that I am not sure needs to be techie. When I was in HS I was required to hand in drafts which are the most important part of the process. I will look into honor codes and recommend this to the staff members....Thanks!



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