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“I heard you get expelled for plagiarism” Student in Starbucks, Fremont Seattle (Wonderlane 2005)

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Presentation on theme: "“I heard you get expelled for plagiarism” Student in Starbucks, Fremont Seattle (Wonderlane 2005)"— Presentation transcript:

1 “I heard you get expelled for plagiarism” Student in Starbucks, Fremont Seattle (Wonderlane 2005)

2 Purpose of case study Target audience: Target audience: Academic integrity decision makers, senior academic staff, policy makers Key issue being addressed: Concerns about disclosing academic integrity breach outcomes to students. Purpose of the case: To assist academic staff to consider why students may wish to know how academic integrity breaches are dealt with at their university. Materials and preparation needed to answer case: Appropriate policy and academic integrity resources at your university 2 Academic Integrity Standards Project

3 Our research Policy analysis of academic integrity policies at 39 Australian universities:  Many policies lacked basic information relating to types of breaches and associated outcomes/penalties.  only 44% of policies provided details relating to severity of breaches (minor/major)  in 18% of policies no breach outcomes were stated Survey: 15,304 student respondents from 6 Australian universities One of the key findings:  4.4% of students stated that they had ‘never heard of academic integrity’ and could not work out what it means. 3 Academic Integrity Standards Project

4 Case Study: ‘Joyce’ Joyce is an 18-year old Indigenous student from Central Australia. She is the first member of her family to attend university. During Orientation, Joyce learns that the university takes breaches of academic integrity very seriously.  Penalties range from resubmitting assignments through to expulsion from the university. Joyce is worried that she may have accidentally plagiarised in the past. She could not face her family if she was expelled from university and determines to be scrupulous in referencing every aspect of her assignments. 4 Academic Integrity Standards Project

5 Learning the standard Joyce completes her first assignments carefully. Joyce provides quotes with references in nearly every paragraph of her assignment.  She fails every assignment. Joyce has not demonstrated ‘critical thinking’; cutting and pasting quotations does not demonstrate her understanding of the topic. For the next assignments, Joyce rewrites all the material in her own words, and provides appropriate in-text references.  Again, she fails every assignment. Her arguments were ‘incoherent’ and lacked a central thesis. 5 Academic Integrity Standards Project

6 Learning the ropes Joyce’s friends teach her a new strategy to write her assignments.  They advise her to copy the words directly from the source, provide in-text references, but only occasionally use quotation marks for longer, indented quotes. Joyce now receives Credits and Distinctions for her next assignments.  Her tutors provide positive feedback and encourage her on her ‘excellent progress’.  Her family and community are very proud of her achievements. The university sets up a new assessment process - all assignments are automatically submitted to text comparison software. Joyce signs the mandatory statement “I declare the work in this document to be my own, except where acknowledgement of sources is made”. 6 Academic Integrity Standards Project

7 Intentional or inadvertent? Within a day of submitting her first assignment under this new process, Joyce receives an automatically generated , stating that her work has been forwarded the Academic Integrity Officer for investigation. Frightened and anxious, Joyce goes online and trawls through the university’s 100 page academic integrity policy. Nowhere can she find examples of similar situations and details of how the university responded. Joyce cannot determine whether she has committed an ‘intentional’ breach of academic integrity requiring a serious penalty or an ‘inadvertent’ breach which has an educational response. Joyce recalls her Orientation earlier in the year and is convinced that she will be expelled. Not wanting to shame her family, Joyce decides to quit her university studies and return to her hometown. 7 Academic Integrity Standards Project

8 Questions for discussion 1. Based on your own university’s policy, do you think Joyce committed an academic integrity breach? 2. How would your university respond to this situation? 3. What do you think would be an appropriate outcome for Joyce’s actions? 4. How might the academic integrity process provide reassurance to students that they will not be unduly penalised? 5. Do you think universities should make available to students and the broader academic community information about academic integrity breaches and the associated outcomes/penalties?  a.How might this be done?  b.What are the advantages of providing breach outcome information to students?  c.What are the disadvantages? 8 Academic Integrity Standards Project

9 Conclusions Universities need to ensure that their academic integrity policy provides easily accessed, extensive but not excessive detail. Clear information needs to be provided which describes specific breaches, and the associated outcomes. Initial correspondence with students who have potentially breached AI policy should be carefully worded so that students are not made unnecessarily anxious. 9 Academic Integrity Standards Project

10 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: 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), James, R., McInnes, C., & Devlin, M. (2002). Assessing learning in Australian universities [Electronic Version]. Retrieved 18 August, 2004 from Park, C. (2003). In other (people’s) words: Plagiarism by university students - literature and lessons. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 28(5), Wonderlane (2005). Student in Starbucks, Fremont Seattle, digital image, accessed on 29 August 2012, This image is used with permission under an Attribution- NonCommercial 2.0 Creative Commons License. 10 Academic Integrity Standards Project

11 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. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Australia License.Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Australia License 11 Academic Integrity Standards Project


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