Success Story: Abraham Lincoln Traditional School, Arizona
Jennifer Griggs is a seventh and eighth grade English teacher at Abraham Lincoln Traditional School (ALTS). ALTS, located in Phoenix, AZ, is one of 32 schools in the Washington Elementary District and serves 695 students. ALTS' curriculum is fully aligned with State Standards.
Griggs found that with each research paper assigned to her English classes, she was spending up to three hours grading each paper. Not only was she looking for content and grammar, but for some students she was looking for plagiarized material. For those papers, Griggs typed sentences and phrases into Google to see if her hunches were correct. Once Griggs found plagiarized material, she had to print out and highlight both the paper and the matching source.
Griggs also believes that her seventh and eighth graders need to learn paraphrasing, proper citing and plagiarism before they go to high school, where more serious consequences are given to cases of plagiarism. ALTS wanted a tool that would teach students about paraphrasing and citations because many times their students didn't realize they were plagiarizing.
To help reduce grading time for Griggs and to teach students about writing in their own words, GUILD, ALTS' parent organization, funded the purchase of Turnitin. Griggs now uses Turnitin for her students' essays, drastically cutting down the time she spends on grading. Says Griggs, "Last year, my 7th graders turned in papers that needed a lot of work. With Turnitin, I'm able to make comments for their improvements. The papers they resubmit now are much better."
Both Griggs and her students enjoy using Turnitin. Her students like submitting their papers and seeing how little of their paper comes up as a match to Turnitin's databases. Students compare their percentages to pervious papers and each other. Griggs likes that she is able to make a lot of comments on her student's papers, giving them a chance to learn from their errors and re-write papers for a final grade. With this writing process, she has seen her students work much harder than on previous assignments. "With Turnitin, students see their rough draft and how much matching content there is. Turnitin has significantly reduced the incidents of plagiarism. Last year, only two students had intentional plagiarism or incorrect paraphrasing in their final essays," she says.