Success Story: Brea Olinda High School, California
Why Implement Turnitin?
Brea Olinda High is a racially diverse public school of 2,000 mostly college-bound students. With budgets tight these days, Asst. Principal Dana Lynch needed to crusade for funds. Fortunately, the district's Gifted and Talented Education program came through with funding. Now, three years after adopting Turnitin, Lynch says: "We're using technology to make our lives easier and support the student learning process. Turnitin is a major part."
Helps with Accountability for Student Progress.
"Being accountable for student progress is a requirement now in public education, and Turnitin helps track, measure and monitor growth in our students' writing skills," Lynch says. "It assists us in finding out if students learn what they're supposed to, and helps determine who requires remediation and who needs enrichment."
Lynch adds, "Schools are being held accountable for using student achievement data to make decisions for program improvement and resource allocation. We just went through our accreditation visit and one recommendation was a systematic process of collecting the data. Turnitin is one tool we use to accomplish this."
Boosts Academic Integrity and Encourages Students' Original Work.
Lynch addresses the student body at a code-of-conduct assembly each year. "I talk about the importance of academic integrity and how we use Turnitin to teach them what plagiarism is," he says. "Students who do their own work don't want others getting credit for taking shortcuts. At the same time they don't want to rat on their friends. Turnitin eliminates the problem and creates an even playing field."
Gil Rotblum uses Turnitin in his AP history classes. Rotblum says, "Turnitin does such a good job of not only telling you what's copied, but where it's copied from. It takes me right to the source. We have it on record, so there's very little resistance from the students or the parents."
Allows More Time for Writing and Delivering Valuable Feedback.
"PeerMark® gives my students more opportunities to write and get feedback," says Rotblum. "I used to be able to grade only about one good writing assignment a month for my students. Now I give them five or six writing assignments, and their peers grade them. That teaches them how to be good graders, and by becoming good graders they're actually becoming better writers."
Bryan Wierzchucki, an AP history teacher, also loves PeerMark. "The peer review aspect is spectacular," he says. "They're able to compare themselves to their peers as opposed to just me giving them feedback. The onus is not on me—it's on them now."
Saves Time for Students and Teachers.
"Not only did I see improvement in the quality of their writing," says Wierzchucki, "but students see improvement, too, helping them write more efficiently. What took hours the beginning of the year now might take 30 minutes." Wierzchucki adds, "I love Turnitin. It reduces the amount of paper and cuts my grading time. It really makes my life easy. Seriously, if they took it away, I think I'd have a panic attack."
Without a doubt, Turnitin has made an impact on learning outcomes at Brea Olinda High. Lynch says, "Turnitin serves as an effective and meaningful tool for us to fulfill our mission: making sure students develop the ability to communicate effectively by applying information and technology to think critically, and acquire skills for the future. Every school or college should have this resource."