Tuesday, April 10, 2007

11 % of college entrance essays contain at least 25% of un-original material

A Harvard Crimson article of April 10, 2007 ends with the paragraph:

This past fall, the instructors in Sociology 189, “Law and Social Movements,” used Turnitin.com to scan students’ work as part of a plagiarism-detection pilot program run by Harvard’s Instructional Computing Group (ICG). The nine-year-old Web site, which added an admissions-essay service in 2004, has screened 27,000 admissions essays and found 11 percent to contain at least one-quarter of un-original material, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The Crimson also noted:

Fitzsimmons said that the committee is generally prompted to check the originality of application essays for a variety of reasons, such as when a reader assigned to a specific geographic region finds similarities between essays from that region. [IPBiz: or when many applicant all had burned pajamas at age 8.]

Admissions officers also take notice when familiar passages from well-known pieces published in essay books appear in applicants’ essays, or when essays contain writing that doesn’t seem to match the rest of the student’s profile, Fitzsimmons added. [IPBiz: how about when Opal Mehta got kissed?]

“Certainly there are times when there is an essay that seems much, much better than what a student would have been able to produce,” he said, citing the gap between essay quality and grades or test scores as indicators of this incongruity. [IPBiz: but how about when a "more familiar" person [e.g., Laurence Tribe] takes from a lesser-known person?]

See also
Plagiarism in college applications


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