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Are you a tutor? Have you hired a tutor?  Are you teaching a class or a lab where students utilize tutors outside of the classroom?  Tutors, Writing Consultants, and Learning Assistants have the capacity to increase student learning when all parties understand how to maintain academic integrity.

Supporting student learning may look a bit different in different disciplines and on different assignments.  An important component of the boundary between providing additional help and violating The Student Code of Conduct is that all work being turned in (such as homework, papers, projects and tests) must be completed by the student whose name appears on the assignment.  Should a tutor write code, solve the problem as an example, or dictate what should be written on any assignment this would be academic misconduct on the part of both parties.

Homework problems are often an area that could use some additional discussion.  Academic assistance indicates that the tutor would provide the student with assistance regarding the concepts NOT the solution to the assigned homework problem.  If a student struggles with a particular portion of the problem asking appropriate questions or using a different problem as an example is best to support student learning and maintain academic integrity.

The Boise State Writing Center explains the work done to support student writing at their center in the following manner,

We are an active learning center, and our consultants are experienced in asking questions that can prompt more thinking about a paper, or about a particular matter of style or correctness. We do not edit papers, but we do talk with writers about correctness, and help them discover ways to proofread their own papers. [….] A session at the Writing Center enables students to improve their paper, though it may still not be grammatically-perfect and completely error-free.

This description offers a model for those who tutor and for students who work with a tutor: to support student learning rather than to provide students with an error-free assignment. Everyone involved with tutors or tutoring services needs to understand the boundaries between helping students learn and acts of academic misconduct.  Should there be any uncertainty regarding permissible support, the faculty member who created the assignment is the best person to ask.


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