Much Student Writing Is Just a Cut-and-Paste Job

I had missed this Inside Higher Ed story when it appeared last month. Researchers studied a wide array of student writing and concluded that much of it involves simply cutting and pasting from sources, without proper attribution or even comprehension of the material. The result is an “incomprehensible pastiche.” This helps to explain the finding of Arum and Roksa that a high percentage of college students learn little or nothing — they can fill up the pages required for written assignments just by copying from published works. They don’t have to spend time thinking about the meaning of the words they’re putting on paper or whether the resulting document is at all coherent.

George Leef — George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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