Top Tip #6 - Understand academic offences - and how to avoid them.
What is an ‘assessment offence’?
An assessment offence means that a student has broken the academic regulations by submitting work that isn’t entirely their own. This is normally due to plagiarism, unauthorised collusion, re-presentation, impersonation, fabrication, cheating in exams or passing another person’s work as the student’s own work (e.g. using an essay mill). Assessment offences are sometimes called an ‘academic breach’ or a ‘breach of the academic regulations’.
What’s the difference between plagiarism, unauthorised collusion, re-presentation, impersonation, fabrication and procedural dishonesty?
Plagiarism is when a student uses someone else’s work to inform their assignment without properly acknowledging the other person. Plagiarism can happen if a student has not paraphrased enough, referenced a source incorrectly or not referenced a source at all.
Unauthorised collusion occurs when students have worked together on an assignment when they’re not supposed to.
Re-presentation refers to when a student submits parts of a previous piece of work or re-submits the same assignment more than once.
Fabrication is when a student creates false results or information to use in an assessment.
Impersonation occurs when a student completes an assignment on someone else’s behalf or allows someone else to complete an assignment on behalf of the student. Essentially this means pretending to be someone else.
Procedural dishonesty is the use of falsified or fabricated (i.e. fake) evidence or information submitted in support of any summative assessment activity, such as false requests for extenuating circumstances.
How do I know if there has been an assessment offence?
If you have been involved in an assessment offence, you will receive an ‘SB’ grade for the relevant piece of work. This stands for ‘suspected breach’.
What happens if I receive an ‘SB’ grade?
If you receive an SB grade for a piece of work, you will be invited to a meeting called an ‘investigative interview’. This is where a member of university staff, known as an Academic Conduct Officer (ACO) will determine if an assessment offence has actually taken place. During this meeting, the person who marked your work will explain why they think an assessment offence has occurred and you will have the opportunity to respond.
Does an SB grade mean I have to leave uni?
Probably not, but it does depend on how many assessment offences you have been involved in.
After your investigative interview, the ACO will make a decision to either uphold or not uphold the suspected breach. If your suspected breach is not upheld, no further action is taken and your work is marked as usual. If your suspected breach is upheld there are 3 possible outcomes:
If it is your first assessment offence your work will still be marked but with all the material deemed to have breached the academic regulations will not be considered for marking. A formal caution will be logged on your student record but this will not appear on your transcript of results.
If it is your second assessment offence you will receive a BR grade for the module which will remain on your transcript of results. This means you will lose all marks for the module and it will be counted as a fail. You may get the opportunity to retake this module, but this will be at an additional cost.
If it is your third assessment offence you will receive a BR grade for the module which will remain on your transcript of results. This means you will lose all marks for the module and it will be counted as a fail. You will also be required to withdraw from the course and university.
However, in the case of procedural dishonesty even a first offence will receive a BR grade for the module which will remain on your transcript of results. This means you will lose all marks for the module and it will be counted as a fail. If you are studying on a course leading to a licence to practise, the university will also notify the appropriate authorities of this action and the nature of the offence.
More information about assessment offences can be found in Section 6 (Assessment) of the Academic Regulations for Taught Provision, but if you’ve still got questions, feel free to email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org