Plagrarism and Academic Misconduct

In establishing its academic misconduct policy, MIHE is seeking to maintain the integrity of its academic awards and procedures. It is incumbent on every student to hold themselves to account and maintain academic integrity throughout their higher education.

A student’s work submitted for assessment is expected to be their own. The Markfield Institute of Higher Education (MIHE) and Newman University (the degree-awarding body) have very strict regulations regarding the presentation of work for assessment for the award of the degree.

Academic misconduct includes plagiarism; cheating, collusion and attempting to obtain an unfair academic advantage are forms of academic misconduct and are entirely unacceptable for any student. Students who deliberately plagiarise, cheat or engage in fraudulent behaviour are characterised as threatening the values and beliefs that underpin learning, thus angering and discouraging other students. This devalues the integrity of awards and qualifications and distorts the efforts of lecturers who wish to teach rather than police student’s work.

Practices that compromise this principle include:

  • The inclusion in a candidate’s work of another person’s work without the use of quotation marks and acknowledgement of sources (referencing)
  • The summarizing of another person’s work by simply changing words or altering the order of presentation, without acknowledgements;
  • Copying the work of another candidate, with or without the knowledge or agreement. If copied with the agreement of the other candidate both parties are guilty of

Re-presentation

which is defined as the submission of work presented previously or simultaneously for summative assessment at this institution or elsewhere. This means that work, or any substantial part of a piece of work, must not be submitted for assessment on more than one occasion unless authorised in writing by the Module Tutor. The definition does not apply to formative submissions, for example drafts submitted for comment; neither does it apply to previous submissions that failed to achieve academic credit. A student is normally permitted to refer to their own previous work in subsequent assignments, provided full references are given

Impersonation

is defined as the attempt to gain an unfair advantage in assessment through means of false identification. This means that students must not permit another person to undertake an assessment on their behalf, or themselves undertake an assessment on behalf of another student

Plagiarism

is defined as the unacknowledged use of the work of others. This means that students must not copy, closely follow, paraphrase or present another’s work as their own without acknowledgement. Material that must not be treated in this way includes, amongst other things, books, journals, the internet or other electronic sources, audio-visual resources, photographs, corporate literature, the work of other students, and any other material prepared by another individual but presented as if it were the student’s own

Unathourised collusion

is defined as either working with other students to such an extent that the submitted assessments are similar or identical; or collaboration with one or more other persons to produce work which is then submitted as the work of one individual. Students must not extend authorised collaboration in group work to unauthorised collaboration with anyone outside the group. Within higher education, learning does not take place in isolation and is often a collaborative process. Such collaboration is a valuable component of the learning process. In assessment, however, it is important that the submitted work is that of the individual student, or a defined group of students, depending on the assignment set

Frabrication

is defined as the invention of data or other information for use in an assessment. This means that students must not invent or manufacture data, references, or other material and present them as bona fide products of empirical research

Cheating

in examinations is defined as the attempt to gain an unfair advantage by the use of dishonest means in an invigilated examination or test. This means that students must not communicate with, or copy from, another student, or introduce information from written, printed or electronic sources into the examination location unless this is approved as part of the rubric of the examination

How the Institution deals with Plagiarism

During the induction day, in the course handbook and in preparation for an assignment or assessment, students should have:

  • Clear guidelines on what constitutes plagiarism that including examples;
  • Information on copyright infringement;
  • Advice on how to acknowledge sources;
  • A signed learning agreement that all work submitted should be the student’s own endeavour (cover sheet);
  • Guidelines on the extent to which students can collaborate on course

Tutors may suspect plagiarism if the following apply:

  • The student’s work is markedly different from their normal style;
  • The similarity report indicates a high percentage of copied text
  • Two or more students’ work is very similar and has been submitted as individual work;
  • The writing lacks coherence and passages are included with no clear context;
  • Unacknowledged quotes from known sources can be collected by comparing the suspect piece of work with:
  • Work previously presented by the student;
  • A piece on a similar subject undertaken under controlled conditions;
  • Other students’ writings where similarities occur;
  • The sources the student seems to have plagiarized;
  • The student’s performance when assessed

Procedures for investigating academic misconduct

Where it appears that the student has committed an offence of the types described above, the administration will invite the student to an investigative interview. The purpose of the investigative interview is for MIHE:

  • To establish and record the case against the student and the student’s response;
  • To come to a judgement, on the balance of probabilities, as to whether an assessment offence has been;
  • To gather all the evidence whereby the alleged offence concerns unauthorised collusion, a series of interviews with all students involved may be required to come to a judgement on the conduct of individual students.

 

Once an interview has been scheduled you will be asked to attend either in person at MIHE or online on a specific date/time by the Senior Administrator and the relevant course leader and concerned academic staff will also be in attendance. The student will be invited to attend the meeting and will be allowed to bring one other person for support. This could be a friend or a representative from the Students Council, but must not be a legal representative. In instances where the interview may be online, this will be conducted through Google Hangouts. An invitation is sent via email and the student is expected to check their email and respond to the request.

For intentional misconduct

,depending on the seriousness of the situation, the content and the demands of the particular syllabus, the penalties will be according to the validating university’s assessment regulations (broadly outlined below). Should an investigating committee, made up from senior academic and admin staff, find the student guilty of cheating/copying this will be recorded on their student file. This may have an impact on future academic references in support of continued study or employment.

First offence

This is logged on record as a formal caution: work will be marked according to the published assessment criteria, but the marking process will exclude the material deemed to have breached the regulations.

Second offence

Student will lose marks for the module and be recorded as “Academic Misconduct” which will remain on transcript; the module will be counted as a fail; student will have to re-take the module and pay the appropriate fee.

Third offence

Student will lose all marks for the module and be recorded as “Academic Misconduct” which will remain on the transcript; the student will be required to withdraw from the programme and from MIHE.

If a student denies the academic misconduct or wishes to appeal the decisions made against him/her, then MIHE’s appeals procedures will be applied.

The agenda for the interview will be:

  • Introductions and explanation of the purpose of the interview;
  • Details of the alleged offence (normally presented by the Module Tutor);
  • Student’s response (if they so choose) – student may be questioned about their work; if they dispute the allegation, they should bring to the meeting their research notes, raw data or other materials which they consider will demonstrate that their work was indeed their own;
  • Questions from the Chair, to clarify any points;
  • The student’s adviser’s comments (if they so choose);
  • The Chair’s summary of the facts and views

 

If the student is unable to attend the meeting, and unless they have a scheduled class or extenuating circumstances, the meeting will go ahead and a decision will be taken in their absence. In either case, they will be informed of the decision normally within 3 working days of the meeting.