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The Regulations on the Use of Unfair Means 17 Mar 08 Tim Burton, University Senior Quality Officer.

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Presentation on theme: "The Regulations on the Use of Unfair Means 17 Mar 08 Tim Burton, University Senior Quality Officer."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Regulations on the Use of Unfair Means 17 Mar 08 Tim Burton, University Senior Quality Officer

2 Overview Purpose of the regulatory framework Definition of unfair means Overlaps with related conduct issues The Caution Procedure Adjudication Panel Hearings Boards of Examiners Appeals

3 Purpose of the Code to provide a mechanism for penalising any form of unacceptable academic behaviour by candidates seeking Hull qualifications a clear statement of how the University (including external examiners) view such conduct to ensure that allegations are fairly and properly investigated in accordance with legal obligations Importance for academic standards - comparability for UoH awards Duty to educate students in good academic practice

4 What are "unfair means"? Any conduct which may >"gain an illegitimate advantage or benefit" >"create a disadvantage or loss" Applies to any UoH candidate on any UoH programme where credit is sought - including collaborative programmes (excl. HYMS) Whether acting alone or with another whether attempted or completed Only applies to summative assessment (reg. 4(d)) Library materials – now outside scope (reg. 1(c))

5 Examples: >Plagiarism (below) – including self-plagiarism >cheating in examinations (including (i) possession of prohibited materials (ii) use of prohibited materials) >falsifying laboratory or other results >conspiring to have work completed by another >collusion >impersonation

6 Plagiarism plagiarism is a form of fraud work which purports to be a candidate's own but which is taken without acknowledgement from the published or unpublished work of others (reg. 5) The primary test of plagiarism is … the presence or absence of quotation marks, and adequate acknowledgement of sources … cf: poor academic practice/scholarship Intention is irrelevant - planned amendments

7 Other forms of misconduct Professional unsuitability / misconduct >QH:F17 >Only applicable to programmes which adhere to the standards of statutory bodies (e.g. Nursing, Teaching) >Dean, on receipt of an allegation, must determine whether to proceed under unfair means or prof unsuit (one or other, never both) (UM Reg. 1(d)) >Likely review of penalties to ensure alignment between revised UM regulations and PU/M

8 Research misconduct >QH:L2 >Now applies to any research activity >But makes the regs on Unfair Means applicable for all allegations relating to students

9 Responsibilities The dean – responsibility can be delegated Significant role in ensuring consistency Partner institutions need to identify dean equivalent and inform UQO The dean or (delegate) cannot be involved in any Adjudication Panel except to provide evidence to the panel

10 When an allegation is made I – plagiarism Regs Part II – determination of whether candidate eligible for caution Identifying plagiarism Examiner when marking piece of summative assessment identifies parts of the work as plagiarised, indicate in appropriate manner but not indicate the source(s) Then decide whether plagiarism minimal (NOT defined in the regs) If minimal – advise the candidate (having removed the anonymity) If more than minimal must forward to dean with covering statement and supporting evidence (dean then removes anonymity)

11 If examiner suspects plagiarism but difficult to prove, once anonymity removed advise candidate of concerns – no penalty Eligibility for the caution On receipt of an allegation, the dean must decide whether the candidate is eligible for a caution Reg. 12 defines the circumstances through which all candidates get an initial cautionable period whenever they commence their studies on a programme leading to a UoH award [diagram] Candidates can only ever receive one caution unless the second offence was committed before the candidate received the first caution

12 Issuing a caution The dean must issue using the Universitys approved wording set out in annexe 1 Set a deadline for resubmission of the work – deadline must be reasonable having regard to the mode and location of study and in all cases be no less than five working days

13 Consequences of a caution being issued Resubmission of the work correctly acknowledging the sources but not otherwise revising the work Examiner re-examines the work imposing the prescribed penalty – never more than 40 awarded for the piece of work Module Board will calculate the overall module mark (the mark for the module as a whole is not capped – this is not a resubmission in the capping sense) If the module has then been failed normal reassessment rules apply Candidate may refuse to accept the caution and elect a full adjudication panel hearing (though at risk of higher penalty, as explained in the annexe 1 caution letter)

14 Part III – Adjudication Panel hearings Where a caution is inapplicable, because >Candidate not eligible (outside cautionable period or received previous caution >Candidate refused caution (above) >Allegation relates to unfair means other than plagiarism Dean makes such further investigation as deems appropriate If behaviour the result of mental health difficulties – should consult Disability Services

15 Dean decides whether there is prima facie evidence of a breach of the Code If no prima facie case, allegation closed; inform candidate in writing No further action

16 If yes, candidate informed in writing >summarising the allegation and supporting evidence >explaining the right of the candidate to respond in writing within 21 days >opportunity to admit or deny the allegation >if admitted, make statement in mitigation or by way of explanation On receipt of denial from candidate Dean can close matter if s/he considers allegation satisfactorily explained

17 Other possible evidence Evidence of attempts to destroy or make unavailable evidence Evidence of a previous allegation bearing a striking similarity to the present allegation (reg. 22)

18 Establishing the hearing Dean responsible for establishing the panel consisting of a trained chair, at least one member of academic staff, a trained secretary Register of trained chairs being established if allegation denied, Adjudicating Panel established to determine proof and penalty if admitted, Adjudicating Panel established to determine penalty

19 Inform the candidate in writing of the time, date and venue – 7 days notice (leaflet to be revised) Details of witnesses, copies of witness statements Candidate right to be heard and be accompanied by person of his/her choosing Supervisor may attend

20 Conducting the hearing Dean to present the findings of the investigation Candidate entitled to ask fair and relevant questions Chair of panel responsible for ensuring proceedings fair, and deciding if sufficient evidence presented Trained secretary must minute proceedings Panel makes decision in private – majority decision now sufficient Proof beyond reasonable doubt (not defined) >Remember Turnitin does not in itself prove plagiarism Plagiarism – mitigating circumstances are not relevant to proof unless very exceptional – matter for SPC/RD to decide - adjourn

21 Penalties Penalties must be within the framework set out in reg. 25 (taught), 26 (PGTS) or 27 (research degree thesis) subject to: The general principles in reg. 24 >If previous offence (other than caution or simultaneous offence) start with presumption that the penalty is termination of programme >Relevant factors – e.g. nature and severity of conduct, stage on programme, statement by way of mitigation Penalty must be applied to the whole module University Warning to be issued by SPC or termination of programme – record latter on transcript (relevant to future admissions decision) Special cases – must adjourn and apply to SPC

22 Notifying the decision Copies of decision to relevant Module, Programme Board and SPC Inform candidate in writing of decision and summary of reasons within three working days

23 Relationship with boards of examiners Boards must not interfere with the decision of the Adjudication Panel But must make decisions according to University regulations and can make decisions on grounds unrelated to unfair means Pending cases must be deferred Module Board >accepts the mark awarded by the Panel >But an MB can RNP on other grounds

24 Programme Board >Decides the consequences of the module mark >Decides if candidate eligible for reassessment/referral or condonement according to regulations >If eligible, but AP denied r/r or c then AP decision is binding >If eligible, but AP decided can be r/r or c Programme Board can deny if - only if - decision to deny is based on other criteria (e.g. non attendance/submission)

25 Right of appeal Right of appeal to the chair of SPC within 14 days of UM decision being served in writing Appeal on grounds relating to procedure leading to decision, but can challenge the finding of proof and/or the penalty imposed University Senior tutor will investigate Duties of panel chair to provide information to the Senior Tutor (note deadlines) If appeal hearing takes place dean and/or chair of panel may be called Possible role for candidates supervisor Nb: only candidate can challenge decision

26 Application to collaborative provision Delegation to PIs to hold panels and issue cautions Staff development for chairs and secretaries Clarification of appeals Confirmation of role players to UQO and faculties

27 Data The faculty must provide the following as an annexe to the QER (effective Winter 2009, reporting on 07/08) >The number of cautions issued >The number of allegations rejected without holding an Adjudication Panel (no prima facie case and satisfactorily explained) >The number of Adjudication Panels held, divided by plagiarism/other form of unfair means >The number of allegations upheld/rejected >The number of cases arising from retrospective investigation >The penalties imposed for those allegations upheld

28 >Data must be presented by ­department or equivalent unit ­mode ­level of study ­gender, disability and ethnic origin.

29 Further guidance on unfair means The codes/procedures >UoH Quality Handbook - >UQO Faculty-link Appeals/special cases - >UG/PGT: Derek Ord ( >PGR: Nigel Shaw (

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