# Avoiding Plagiarism

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Original Text:

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 teacher 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.

Step 1: Plagiarize any portion of the original text by copying portions of it word-for-word.

• 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.

Step 2: Plagiarize any portion of the original text by paraphrasing its structure too closely, without copying it word-for-word.

• Sean Corcoran did a study on teacher evaluation systems in which he found that the average margin of error was plus or minus 28 points, making a teacher who was ranked at the 43rd percentile actually between the 15th and 71st percentile.

Step 3: Plagiarize any portion of the original text by paraphrasing its structure too closely, with a citation the original source (using any academic citation style). Remember, even if you include a citation, paraphrasing too closely is still plagiarism.

• Sean Corcoran did a study on teacher evaluation systems in which he found that the average margin of error was plus or minus 28 points, making a teacher who was ranked at the 43rd percentile actually between the 15th and 71st percentile. Corcoran also found that, “A teacher who gets a particular ranking in year one is likely to get a different ranking the next year” (Ravitch 270-71).

Step 4: Properly paraphrase any portion of the original text by restating the author’s ideas in your own diction and style, and include a citation to the original source.

• Sean Corcoran studied teachers and their ranks based on their percentiles in comparison to their peers. He found that although a teacher may receive a specific rank in one year, the same teacher may not receive the same rank the next year.

Step 5: Properly paraphrase any portion of the original text by restating the author’s ideas in your own diction and style, supplemented with a direct quotation of a key phrase, and include a citation to the original source.

• In his effort to study teacher ranks based on percentiles, Sean Corcoran researched specific rankings of teachers and found that, “A teacher who gets a particular ranking in year one is likely to get a different ranking the next year” (Ravitch 270-71).

Work Cited:

Ravitch, Diane. The Death and Life of the Great American School System (New York: Basic Books, 2011), pp. 270-71.