Objective: In order to avoid plagiarism, one must first learn how to plagiarize.
In this post, I show different ways of plagiarizing, while the last two demonstrate how to paraphrase properly.
No measure is perfect, but the estimates of value-added and other “growth models,” which attempt to isolate the “true effect” of an individual teacher through his or her students’ test scores, are alarmingly error-prone in any given year. Sean Corcoran, an economist at New York University, studied the teacher evaluation systems in New York City and Houston. He found that the average “margin of error” of a New York City teacher was plus or minus 28 points. So, a teachers who has ranked at the 43rd percentile compared to his or her peers might actually be anywhere between the 15th percentile and the 71st percentile. The value-added scores also fluctuate between years. A teacher who gets a particular ranking in year one is likely to get a different ranking the next year. There will always be instability in these rankings, some of which will reflect “real” performance changes. But it is difficult to trust any performance rating if the odds of getting the same rating next year are no better than a coin toss.
Original source: Diane Ravitch, The Death and Life of the Great American School System.New York: Basic Books, 2011, pp. 270-71.
Example 1: Plagiarize the original text by copying portions of it word-for-word.
When evaluating teachers in New York and Houston, the average “margin of error” of a New York City teacher was plus or minus 28 points. Also, these rankings are instable from year to year. It is difficult to trust performance ratings if the odds of getting the same rating next year are no better than a coin toss.
Example 2: Plagiarize the original text by paraphrasing its structure too closely, without copying it word-for-word.
An NYU economist, Corocoran, found that the average “margin of error” in ratings of New York teachers was plus or minus 28 points. This is startling, because if you think about it, a teacher in the 43rd percentile could actually range from the 15th to the 71st percentile.
Example 3: Plagiarize the original text by paraphrasing its structure too closely, and include a citation. Even though you cited it, paraphrasing too closely is still plagiarism.
Using test scores to rank teachers is invalid due to instability. Some changes may shed light on real changes, but the chance of the same rating is a 50/50 shot (Ravitch, 271).
Example 4: Properly paraphrase from the original text by restating the author’s ideas in different words and phrases, and include a citation to the original source.
There are many difficulties and holes in the attempt to rank teachers using students’ test scores. The changes of scores from year-to-year could illustrate improvement; however, this change could be easily due to chance (Ravitvh, 270-271).
Example 5: Properly paraphrase from the original text by restating the author’s ideas in different words and phrases, add a direct quote, and include a citation to the original source.
Measuring teacher performance is a difficult task to attempt. Using students’ test scores is prone to issues. Year-to-year changes could be accounted for by chance or improvement, but differentiating cause may be difficult (Ravitch, 271). NYU economist Sean Corcoran looked at teacher evaluation systems and “found that the average “margin of error” of a New York City teacher was plus or minus 28 points” (Ravitch, 270). This gives a 56-point range a teacher could fall in when looking at their percentile ranking. This wide, and therefore not informative, range and instability from year-to-year create difficulties in ranking teachers based on student-scores.