WriteCheck Blog

Ask WriteCheck: Using Classroom Handwritten Notes


In this month's Ask WriteCheck column, a parent asks about the use of handwritten class notes for assignments or essays.

Dear WriteCheck,

If a student takes detailed notes during class and even writes the notes in complete sentences and then uses the notes for an assignment or a test is this plagiarism? The teacher gave the lectures and my son took detailed notes. Now the teacher has stated that my son plagiarized. Other teachers have noticed that my son takes notes in complete sentences as well and uses the notes for assignments. These teachers are now questioning whether or not my son should be the one accused of plagiarizing. 

What should I do?
Stuart G.

Hi Stuart,
Thanks for your question!  Technically, the copying and using of classroom notes--without proper citation or attribution--would be considered plagiarism.  Now whether or not a teacher decides to hold the student accountable for plagiarism is an individual teacher's decision.  Some teachers would use this instance as a teachable moment to help enlighten students.  Other teachers may take a tougher view.  Have your son's teachers discussed with him his use of handwritten notes before?  In other words, does he understand that citation and attribution are required since the information originated from his teachers?


Published on by kennethb.