Public school teachers face a daunting task teaching in the classroom with the pressures from No Child Left Behind and Common Core requirements demanding a lot of their teaching time be taken up with required-by-law curriculum. Teachers must prepare their students for mandatory tests they must pass along with the job of trying to give the students common knowledge and skills needed to succeed in college and eventually in the workplace. And because of these contradictory requirements being placed on their classroom and preparatory time, teachers find themselves looking for time-saving shortcuts. One shortcut many teachers are turning to for grading essay papers is a tool being used by many of their peers at the college level – plagiarism software.
With budgets becoming tighter for public and private schools, the pressure is increased for a product to deliver more than is advertised. Plagiarism checker like unplag receives mixed reviews from education professionals because of this added expectation of over-delivery.
The root cause for the criticism stems from teachers expecting a “one size fits all” type of solution for their various classroom issues. Some teachers are expecting the software to detect and correct improper grammar. Others are expecting the software to grade the essay and evaluate if the student has properly covered the assigned topic. Still other teachers want the software to check for spelling. The problem is the software only is designed to detect plagiarism – if the student copied another person’s work without proper citing.
College professors also have similar complaints about plagiarism checkers. Many universities are utilizing the software to combat the surge of cheating taking place in academia and to preserve their school’s reputation. They make the software available to their various teachers since many of the school’s classrooms are too large – a hundred or more students in each class – making it virtually impossible for the professor to grade each student’s work. Once again, the teachers are expecting the software to properly check each paper for grammar, spelling, etc. – requirements the program was not developed to catch.z
Another dilemma many instructors find themselves in is where to focus the small amount of time they do have when grading a student’s academic work – “do I focus on checking for plagiarism or do I spend the time teaching proper research and writing skills?”...