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Considering extenuating circumstances ComputerRoom010_lowres (JISC 2006)

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Presentation on theme: "Considering extenuating circumstances ComputerRoom010_lowres (JISC 2006)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Considering extenuating circumstances ComputerRoom010_lowres (JISC 2006)

2 Purpose of case study Target audience: Academic integrity decision makers Key issue: Difficulty of making a decision on an academic integrity breach when extenuating factors are involved. Purpose: To assist academic integrity decision makers to work through their own policy to address a complex case. Materials: Full case scenario; University policy; selected reading (eg Bretag 2008). 2 Academic Integrity Standards Project

3 Our research Survey: 15,304 student respondents from 6 Australian universities One of the key findings: International students expressed a lower awareness of academic integrity policy and confidence in how to avoid academic integrity breaches as compared to the overall respondents; International students were twice as likely as domestic students to have had involvement with the academic integrity breach process at their university. Interviews with 28 senior academic integrity stakeholders at 6 Australian universities No. 1 recommendation for good practice: Provide appropriate and on-going professional development for all staff in relation to academic integrity policy and process. 3 Academic Integrity Standards Project

4 Case Study: Vivienne 20 year-old business student from Mainland China Final semester of study at Australian university Completed first 2 years of degree at Universitys Beijing campus No IELTS requirement Extensive academic integrity induction during orientation Program overloaded; struggling to pass Failed assignment in Organisational Behaviour One-on-one consultation; extra week to resubmit 2nd submission copied from an Internet source, no references Tutor passed case to Academic Integrity Decision Maker (AIDM), as per University policy. 4 Academic Integrity Standards Project

5 Vivienne: Academic integrity process Standard letter from the AIDM: please explain Vivienne reluctantly attends meeting with AIO. AIDM discusses various penalties with the student; explains rationale for standard outcome of zero. With marks to date only averaging 50%, a zero for the assignment may in fact cause her to fail the whole course. Widowed mother in China has been diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. Vivienne is an only child; responsibility to care for her mother. Anxiety is making it difficult for Vivienne to concentrate. After careful consideration of both the policy and previous academic integrity cases, the AIDM determines that Vivienne should receive a zero penalty for the assignment. 5 Academic Integrity Standards Project

6 Considerations… Nothing in the policy states that it is necessary or appropriate to consider the personal circumstances of the student. Common reasons given for academic integrity breaches: time pressures working long hours in a part-time job sports activities travelling attending a family wedding/funeral/party interstate personal illness family problems relationship issues financial considerations overloaded program Parental pressure Ego (the need to score a high grade) etc etc 6 Academic Integrity Standards Project

7 Questions for discussion Does your universitys policy allow for the consideration of extenuating circumstances when determining an outcome for an AI breach? How would you determine if particular circumstances warrant deviation from usual practice? Does your university offer opportunities to discuss academic integrity breach cases with other decision makers? (eg discussion list; formal or informal mentoring, etc) Based on your own universitys policy, do think that the correct decision was made in this case? Quite apart from your universitys policy, do you believe this outcome was fair? Why/why not? Do you have any suggestions for how your universitys policy should deal with complex cases like this one? 7 Academic Integrity Standards Project

8 Conclusions Determining an outcome for an academic integrity breach requires Carefully articulated and communicated university policy Professional development and training for academic integrity decision makers Nuanced, compassionate judgement Recognition of the impact of the decision on the individual student, the student body and the institution more broadly. 8 Academic Integrity Standards Project

9 References and resources Bennett, R. (2005). Factors associated with student plagiarism in a post-1992 university. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 30(2), Bretag, T. (2008) Responding to plagiarism: The need to engage with students real lives, Refereed paper presented at the ATN Assessment Conference: Engaging students in assessment, University of South Australia, November.Responding to plagiarism: The need to engage with students real lives, Bretag, T., Mahmud, S., East, J., Green, M., James, C., McGowan, U., Partridge, L., Walker, R. & Wallace, M. (2011). Academic Integrity Standards: A Preliminary Analysis of the Academic Integrity Policies at Australian Universities, Australian Universities Quality Forum, 29 June-1 July, Melbourne, Australia. Bretag, T., Mahmud, S., Wallace, M., Walker, R., James, C., Green, M., East, J., McGowan, U. & Partridge, L. (2011). Core elements of exemplary academic integrity policy in Australian higher education, International Journal for Educational Integrity, Vol 7(2), pp. 3-12, available online: Carroll, J. & Appleton, J. (2005). Towards consistent penalty decisions for breaches of academic regulations in one UK university. International Journal for Educational Integrity, 1(1). Retrieved 28 May 2008 from: Carroll, J. & Seymour, D. (2006) The effect of a penalty tariff on consistent decision-making in cases of student plagiarism. Paper presented at the JISC International Plagiarism Conference, Gateshead, U.K. Retrieved 28 May 2008 from: Devlin, M., & Gray, K. (1995). In their own words: A qualitative study of the reasons Australian university students plagiarize. Higher Education Research & Development, 26(2), Howard, R.M. (1999). Standing in the shadow of giants: Plagiarists, authors and collaborators. Volume 2, Perspectives on writing: Theory, Research and Practice, Ablex Publishing Corporation, Stamford, Connecticut. James, R., McInnes, C., & Devlin, M. (2002). Assessing learning in Australian universities [Electronic Version]. Retrieved 18 August, 2004 from JISC (2006), ComputerRoom010_lowres, digital image, accessed on 27 August 2012, This image is used with permission under an Attribution- NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Creative Commons License. Park, C. (2003). In other (peoples) words: Plagiarism by university students - literature and lessons. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 28(5), Academic Integrity Standards Project

10 For further resources from the Academic integrity standards project, please go to: Support for this project/activity has been provided by the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching. The views in this project do not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching. 10 Academic Integrity Standards Project

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