Academic Integrity Policy

Status


Last reviewed
Fri, 22 April 2016

Academic honesty is a fundamental principle in teaching, learning, research and scholarship. This policy reflects the College’s commitment to promote academic integrity in its staff and students and to detect and manage breaches of academic integrity.

Public
visibility
Approved on: 12 Sep 2016
Review cycle: 1 Year
Owned by

Academic Standards and Risk Committee

Approved by

Academic Board

Category: 
Policy Contact: 
Dean of Academic Administration
Definitions: 

academic in charge -

the lecturer who has primary responsibility for teaching the classes for a particular unit of study.

unit co-ordinator -

the Academic Staff member responsible for the day-to-day teaching and assessment in individual units. Where visiting lecturers are invited to teach units or segments of units they are responsible to Unit Coordinators.

unit guide -

is the prepared unit delivery details based on the Unit outline. The Unit Guide is developed by the Academic in Charge and includes all the elements of the unit outline plus the assessment tasks and delivery schedule. Unit Guides are available to students before the first week a unit is delivered and cannot be amended without approval through the Amend a Unit Guide form.

academic integrity -

means acting with the values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility in learning, teaching and research. It is important for students, teachers, researchers and all staff to act in an honest way, be responsible for their actions, and show fairness in every part of their work. Staff should be role models to students. Academic integrity is important for an individual’s and a school’s reputation1.

  1. Taken from Exemplary Academic Integrity Project (EAIP): Embedding and extending exemplary academic integrity policy and support frameworks across the higher education sector (2013), Plain English definition of Academic Integrity, Office for Learning and Teaching Strategic Commissioned Project 2012-2013, http://www.unisa.edu.au/EAIP.
Background: 

This policy replaces and improves the previous Academic Misconduct and Plagiarism Procedure & the Academic Honesty Policy based on material from the Exemplary Academic Integrity Project as acknowledged.

This policy replaces the Dishonesty in Exam Situations Policy and the Dishonesty in Study/Research Projects and Assessment Tasks Policy.

Purpose: 

Academic honesty is a fundamental principle in teaching, learning, research and scholarship. This policy reflects the College’s commitment to promote academic integrity in its staff and students and to detect and manage breaches of academic integrity.

Scope: 

All staff.  All students.

Statement: 

Overview

The nature of scholarly endeavour, dependent on the work of others, binds all members of the College community to the maintenance of academic integrity. A fundamental principle of academic honesty is that all staff and students act with integrity in the creation, development, application and use of ideas or information. This means that:

  • all academic work claimed as original is the work of the author making the claim
  • all academic collaborations are acknowledged
  • academic work is not falsified in any way
  • when the ideas of others are used, these ideas are acknowledged appropriately.

All academic and professional staff involved in learning, teaching and research are expected to display leadership in this area.

The College desires to produce graduates that are grounded in the Christian faith, Christian worldview and the Scriptures and who will engage morally and ethically in: relationships, employment, innovation and creativity, and citizenship. This applies not only to the life of a graduate but to their academic work while a student of the College. Breaches of academic integrity undermine the integrity of the College’s awards and assessment processes, and damages the College’s reputation. It also reduces the effectiveness of a student’s experience at the College.

Promoting Academic Integrity

Institutional Commitment

The College is committed to a College-wide framework for academic integrity across all academic areas. The Academic Standards and Risk Committee is responsible for monitoring the application of this policy across the College.

Promoting a Culture of Academic Integrity

The College has a responsibility and an obligation to:

  1. inform students of their requirements by providing a style guide (or guides) for the presentation of assessment tasks. This (or these) must set out the styles of writing appropriate for the different tasks and the form(s) of referencing demanded for each task;
  2. ensure all academic staff are aware of the need to introduce and reinforce, from the outset, student understanding of the professional and academic skills demanded by the disciplines at all levels;
  3. ensure that all academic staff are aware of the appropriate sources of assistance for students seeking to develop their skills in academic writing; and
  4. include in each Unit Guide a statement which:
    • states the College’s definition of academic integrity;
    • makes clear that an academic integrity breach is unacceptable.

Ensuring Academic Integrity in Assessment

Students are expected to adhere to high standards of academic integrity and honesty at all times. Failure to do so may constitute an academic integrity breach.

Breaches of academic integrity will be managed as an educative process for students.

Academic Integrity Breaches

Definition of Academic Integrity Breach

The following table indicates high level breaches of academic integrity.

Type Description Examples
Cheating Any form of cheating in an examination setting  
Bullying The content of an assessment task has been obtained by the student from another using inappropriate social, emotional or physical pressures  
Ghostwriting The student knowingly and voluntarily produces or contributes content for an assessment task with the intent of assisting another student to plagiarise, that is, acting as a ‘ghostwriter’  
  The content of any assessment task has been written by someone other than the student, but the work, which may have been edited, is submitted without acknowledgement, under the student’s own name This includes procuring and submitting work that may be available through various Internet websites offering to produce essays and other documents which may be used or purchased with specific intent of passing the work off as the student’s own intellectual work.
Recycling The student submits, as a new work, an assessment task that was previously produced and assessed for the same or another unit or award, without appropriate acknowledgement of the fact and without the prior permission of the current Academic in Charge  
Falsification of Data Data falsification may range from the fabrication of data to inappropriately selective reporting of data. Falsification covers the misleading omission of data as well as the modification of data  
Any other breach as determined by the College Any other breach may cover anything not covered above or defined below as plagiarism  

(Adapted from UNE Material provided to the EAIP http://resource.unisa.edu.au/file.php/6633/AI_policy_toolkit/Detail_UNE.pdf)

The following table are examples of plagiarism, a specific Academic Integrity breach. This list should be considered as representative, and not as exhaustive, of possible practices.

Type Description   Citation of Sources
Straight/Verbatim copying The writer uses the exact words of the source text without quotation marks and sources are not acknowledged
  The writer uses the exact words of the source text without quotation marks and sources are acknowledged in a footnote/citation and a reference list/bibliography
  The writer presents diagrams charts, maps, flowcharts, photographs, tables, or other creative works originated by another person and sources are not acknowledged
Incorrect paraphrasing Sham paraphrasing:The writer takes directly from another text, changing very little from the original text, e.g., only selected words or phrases or the order of phrases and sources are acknowledged
  Illicit paraphrasing:The writer takes directly from another text, changing very little from the original text, e.g., only selected words or phrases or the order of phrases and Sources are not acknowledged
Intellectual theft The writer presents substantial concepts, arguments, ideas or information from elsewhere (e.g., published work, television programs, material downloaded from an internet site, staff, colleagues, fellow students) and Sources are not acknowledged
  The student submits under their own name work written substantially by another person   n/a
Collusion Conspiring with others to produce work that is presented misleadingly as the autonomous work of the writer   n/a

Classification of Academic Integrity Breach

The seriousness of the academic integrity breach will be tested against the following scale:

Low Level

Experience of the student

  • The student has not yet completed their first 24 credit points of study; or
  • Cultural considerations or a lack of English language proficiency may be a mitigating circumstance

AND Nature of the plagiarism

  • The references and or citations are unclear, inadequate or erroneously presented; or
  • The student has provided inappropriate paraphrasing.

AND Extent of the plagiarism

  • More than one sentence or more than one part of a sentence, one paragraph or one minor graphic are problematic; or
  • One or more hyperlinks are detected in the assessment task. (adapted from Curtin University of Technology Plagiarism Policy and procedures)

Medium Level

Experience of the student

  • The student has completed at least 24 credit points of study, but is not in their final year of study;

AND Nature of the plagiarism

  • The references and or citations are unclear, inadequate or erroneously presented; or
  • The student has provided inappropriate paraphrasing; or
  • The student has copied segments of other students’ assessment work; or
  • The student has falsely attributed the work of a group as the work of his/her own; or
  • The student has copied material (diagrams, fragments, graphics, tables or substantial tracts of text) from websites, books or other publications;

AND Extent of the plagiarism

  • More than one sentence or more than one part of a sentence, one paragraph or one minor graphic are problematic or
  • One or more hyperlinks are detected in the assessment task. (adapted from Curtin University of Technology Plagiarism Policy and procedures)

High Level

Experience of the student

  • The student has completed at least 96 credit points of study; or
  • The student is expected to fully understand and exhibit academic integrity;

AND Nature of the plagiarism

  • The references and or citations are unclear, inadequate or erroneously presented; or
  • The student has provided inappropriate paraphrasing; or
  • The student has falsely attributed the work of a group as the work of their own; or
  • An entire assessment task (or tasks) has (have) been copied from otehr students work or other sources; or
  • The student has copied material (diagrams, fragments, graphics, tables or substantial tracts of text) from websites, books or other publications

AND Extent of the plagiarism

  • More than two sentences or more than two parts of two sentences, two or more paragraphs or two or more minor graphics are problematic; or
  • More than 10% of the work (calculated by word count) is copied from another source; or
  • Multiple pages or multiple sections of text or graphics are copied; or
  • There is significant appropriation of ideas or artistic work from other sources.

(adapted from Curtin University of Technology Plagiarism Policy and procedures)

Those listed above as High Level Breaches of Academic Integrity.

Academic Integrity Breach Outcomes

For a Low Level Offence - Educational Responses

The outcome of a Low Level academic integrity breach will result in one or more of the following:

  • the student being given a written warning
  • the student undertaking study skills training
  • requiring a mark based on the portion of the assessment task unaffected by breach(es) of academic integrity
  • requesting the student to resubmit the assessment task acknowledging the appropriate sources of information with correct references/citations and a mark no higher than a pass
  • requiring the student to undertake supplementary assessment

The student will also:

  1. receive a written warning that subsequent breaches will not be treated as low level offences AND
  2. have the warning recorded in the Record of Complaints and Grievances, AND
  3. be directed to appropriate education resources to improve their academic skills.

For a Medium Level Offence - Educational Response

The outcome of a Medium Level academic integrity breach will result in one or more of the following:

  • a Low Level Offence - Educational Response
  • a mark of zero for the assessment task
  • require the student to resubmit the same assessment task undertaken on an alternative topic selected from those provided in the unit guide or on alternative topic provided by the Academic in Charge.

The student will also:

  1. have the warning recorded in the Record of Complaints and Grievances

Under extenuating circumstances the decision maker may decide to

  1. allow the student to re-submit the task, or (if the assessment task was an examination) to sit an additional examination and may also
  2. limit the mark for the re-submitted assignment or resat examination to no more than 50% of the maximum possible mark for the assessment task/examination.

For a High Level Offence

The outcome of a High Level academic integrity breach will result in one or more of the following:

  • A Medium Level Response - Educational
  • Return a mark of zero for the assessment task (this may, in fact, result in the student failing the unit, depending on the weighting of the assessment task); or
  • Record a grade of fail for the subject.

The student will also:

  1. have the warning recorded in the Record of Complaints and Grievances.

Academic Integrity Breach Decisions

Decision Makers

The decision maker regarding an Academic Integrity Breach is the Academic Integrity Representative from Academic Administration (AIR). He/she will consult with the relevant person depending on the level of the offence as follows:

Level of Offence To Be Consulted
Low Marker or Academic in Charge or Unit Co-ordinator
Medium Unit Co-ordinator
High Dean of Academic Administration

Decision Making Process

The steps to determine an offence will be:

  1. Notification received from marker by the Academic Integrity Representative along with an initial determination of level of offence
  2. Verification of an Academic Integrity Breach and the level of offence
  3. Review of Complaints and Grievances Log to ensure the offence remains at the right level
  4. Request response from student
  5. Consultation by Academic Integrity Representative regarding appropriate educational process
  6. Determination of outcome.

Communication of Student Rights in the Decision Making Process

It is the responsibility of the Academic Integrity Representative to ensure the student is aware of their rights in an investigation of an academic integrity breach.

Student’s response to allegation of academic integrity breach

A student will be requested to respond to any allegations of academic integrity breach within 7 days of being notified after an investigation by the Academic Integrity Representative. The student may or may not decide to respond. A student may either write, email, or organise an appointment to discuss this with the Academic Integrity Representative and the relevant person for the consultation. A lack of response in the timeframe given will mean the student is given a 0 result for any assessment included in the academic integrity breach.

Communicating the decision

Dependent on the outcome of an investigation and the student response, or lack thereof, one of the following outcomes will be communicated to the student:

  1. Closure - specifying an academic integrity breach has occurred and the decision regarding the outcome (penalty) for an academic integrity breach.
  2. No case - specifying an academic integrity breach has not occurred.

Recordkeeping

All records regarding an academic integrity breach will be sealed and labelled.

Where any amendment to a decision about an academic integrity breach occurs as a result of appeal, the student’s file will be amended to reflect such outcomes. Any findings of a breach of academic integrity attached to a student’s record will not at any time appear on a student’s official transcript.

Appealing the decision

A student may appeal the decision made by following the College’s Complaints and Grievance Policy.