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This Policy sets out the University’s principles and commitment to academic integrity and provides frameworks for both the promotion of academic integrity among students and staff and for dealing with instances of alleged academic misconduct.

2.1 This Policy applies to any:

  1. academic staff member in terms of the promotion of academic integrity and the detection of, and dealing with, academic misconduct by students;
  2. student in a coursework program;
  3. person who was a student at the time of any alleged academic misconduct; and
  4. all undergraduate and postgraduate units offered by ACU, including coursework in any Higher Degree by Research program; and
  5. research project and thesis units completed as part of an honours or postgraduate coursework program.

2.2 This policy does not apply to students enrolled in Higher Degree by Research (HDR) programs, except where alleged instances of academic misconduct relate to coursework units. For HDR students, all other alleged instances will be dealt with under the Research Code of Conduct and the Procedures for Dealing with Instances of Alleged Misconduct - Higher Degree Research Students.

Terms used in this policy and associated procedures are consistent with the ACU Glossary of Terms. The following specific definitions also apply:

Academic misconduct is any action or attempted action that may result in an unfair academic advantage to one or more students.

Legitimate cooperation is the legitimate cooperation and collaboration by students on a project, sharing materials or data collected and discussing the interpretation of such material. The production of assessable work is the independent responsibility of each student.

Examples of legitimate cooperation and collaboration include:

  1. informal study/discussion groups;
  2. discussion of general themes and concepts;
  3. interpretation of assessment criteria; or
  4. strengthening and development of academic writing and/or study skills through peer assistance; and
  5. in some cases extends to researching and writing of joint projects, written works or other assessable works.

4.1 The University is committed to promoting and upholding the academic credibility and standard of its awards.

4.2 Academic honesty and integrity are fundamental principles of the University as an institution devoted to the pursuit of excellence in learning, teaching, research and service, and to respecting the value and dignity of each person.

4.3 Academic misconduct is a serious matter that:

  1. undermines the integrity of learning and scholarship;
  2. contravenes academic values of respect for knowledge, scholarship and scholars;
  3. represents a form of fraud; and
  4. can lead to disclosure requirements to accrediting/admissions bodies.

5.1 The University will support its commitment to academic integrity by:

  1. explicitly communicating the positive value placed on academic integrity in learning, teaching and research;
  2. implementing policies, processes and systems that assist in the achievement of best practice in relation to the pursuit of academic integrity;
  3. the maintenance of an academic integrity website to define and promote best practice and provide resources for staff and students;
  4. the provision of professional development programs for staff to:
    1. support the pursuit of best practice in the design and setting of assessment to minimise opportunity for academic misconduct; and
    2. build skills in detecting academic misconduct;
  5. the provision of study skills support and resources for students to promote good practice in their academic work, including writing, referencing and research.

5.2 Schools and Faculties must:

  1. implement mechanisms to assist students to understand good practice in their academic work in the relevant discipline;
  2. provide clear information on assessment requirements in each unit outline; and
  3. ensure that clear advice is provided to students regarding:
    1. the style guide and referencing/citation system required in the discipline and/or for different assessment tasks;
    2. what constitutes legitimate cooperation and collaboration, where it is encouraged and where it is prohibited;
    3. group work, especially assessment and the division of tasks among group members to ensure fair assessment;


  4. be vigilant in the detection of academic misconduct

5.3 Students must:

  1. comply with the expected standards of academic integrity including:
    1. individually undertaking all work and assessment and other requirements for a unit and course; and
    2. acknowledging any legitimate cooperation, ensuring that the formulation of ideas and conclusions in individually assessable work is the independent work of each student;
  2. seek clarification, if necessary, to ensure they clearly understand assessment conditions and requirements, and appropriate writing, referencing and assessment practice in their units and course(s);
  3. state clearly, using the referencing system described in the Unit Outline, where they sourced material on which they have based their work;
  4. properly acknowledge the thoughts, ideas, experimental works, conclusions, drawings, designs, data, computer programs or other creative work they have extracted, developed or summarised;
  5. complete an assessment cover sheet or online declaration for all non-examination assessment tasks stating that the work is the student’s own and that all cited works have been acknowledged and referenced.

5.4 Responsibility for the promotion of academic integrity is set out in the Promotion of Academic Integrity Procedures.

5.5 Responsibility for dealing with matters of academic misconduct is set out in the Academic Misconduct Procedures.

6.1 Academic integrity is integral to the context of true academic discourse, where learning, the assessment of student progress and academic quality are pursued without compromise. Consequently, the University will implement processes and systems to:

  1. promote and uphold the academic credibility and reputation of the University;
  2. protect the standard of its awards;
  3. advise its students of the importance of academic integrity, and provide them with guidance on best practice in support of their learning; and
  4. educate students about the importance of intellectual property and its relevance in relation to their own work and that of others.

7.1 Academic misconduct may take a number of forms. These include but are not limited to:

  1. Cheating: Where a student seeks to gain advantage or attempt to gain advantage through dishonesty, deceit or fraud in any examination or other assessment task; or assisting any other student to cheat.
  2. Plagiarism: Where a student presents as their own work the thoughts, ideas, findings or work of another person, persons, or entity, without full citation and acknowledgement of the author or the source. Materials plagiarised may include any printed, electronic or audio-visual material, including computer-based material, drawings, designs, experimental results or conclusions, statistical data, computer programs or other creative work.
  3. Collusion: Where a student undertakes unauthorised collaboration with others and presents as their own, work which is in full or in part the work of one or more of those other persons. It differs from group assessment tasks where the learning activity specifically designates that it be undertaken as group work.
  4. Recycling: Where a student submits for assessment work which is the same or substantially the same as work that has been submitted, or which has previously been counted towards the assessment of any unit undertaken for any qualification, whether at this University or elsewhere without the approval of the Lecturer in Charge and acknowledgement of the source.
  5. Misrepresentation includes where a student:
    1. impersonates another student; or
    2. allows or procures an impersonation of themselves in relation to any assessment task, unit or course requirement; or
    3. procures material to submit as their own for any assessment task, unit or course requirement.
  6. Academic misconduct in research in coursework programs: includes any behaviour described in (a)-(e) above in relation to proposing, conducting or reporting research.
  7. Any other act or omission that results in an unfair academic advantage.

7.2 Detailed examples of academic misconduct are provided in Schedule 1.

7.3 Any case of alleged academic misconduct will be dealt with by procedures which ensure:

  1. equity;
  2. consistency;
  3. procedural fairness;
  4. timely resolution of the case; and
  5. achievement of appropriate and effective outcomes.

7.4 Academic misconduct is handled as either minor, moderate or major:

  1. A minor breach is limited to those cases where:
    1. the breach occurs in the first eight undergraduate units or first four postgraduate units of study at ACU; and
    2. the breach is not one of cheating in an examination; and
    3. there is no record relating to a previous occurrence of academic misconduct, or finding of academic misconduct; and
    4. the breach has a minor effect on the assessment task; and
    5. it does not provide the student with a significant unfair advantage; and
    6. a proportionate response by staff would maintain the University’s academic reputation.
  2. A moderate breach can only be determined as such where it is judged that the breach is not minor at (a) and does not meet the conditions for a major breach at (c) and includes but is not limited to the following:
    1. referencing/citation errors made after the first year of study; and/or
    2. where the breach has a moderate effect on the assessment task; and/or
    3. it constitutes recycling.
  3. A breach must be determined as major where:
    1. it constitutes any form of misrepresentation or cheating; and/or
    2. the student has been found to have breached the Academic Integrity and Misconduct Policy on two or more prior occasions; and/or
    3. it is judged that the penalty that can be imposed by a Head of School, or equivalent at Section 7.5 is insufficient to deal with the matter.

7.5 Academic Misconduct Penalties

Type Penalties Authority to impose
  1. issue and record a written warning using the prescribed template regarding the consequences of breaching the University policies on assessment and academic integrity and misconduct;
  2. and

  3. counsel the student and refer the student to services such as the Academic Skills Unit or Library for assistance;
  4. and

  5. if appropriate, adjust the student’s mark in the relevant assessment task to take account only of work which is in line with principles of academic integrity.
Lecturer in Charge

Any of the above, and/or one or more of the following actions:

  1. require the student to undertake additional and/or remedial work for the assessment and impose a maximum grade of Pass for the unit;
  2. require the student to undertake another form of assessment in lieu of the assessment work in question and impose a maximum grade of Pass for the unit;
  3. downgrade the final grade overall in the unit;
  4. apply a fail grade to the work, or part thereof, submitted for assessment;
  5. apply a fail grade overall in the unit;
  6. or

  7. refer the matter to the relevant Executive Dean if one or more of the above penalties is insufficient to deal with the matter.
Head of School, or equivalent

Any of the above, or one of the following actions:

  1. terminate the student’s enrolment in the course and exclude the student from the University for a period of up to two semesters from the date of termination;
  2. or

  3. refer the matter to the Provost if one or more of the above penalties is insufficient to deal with the matter
Executive Dean

Any of the above, or:

  1. cancel the student’s enrolment;
  2. or

  3. refer the matter to a Discipline Committee under the Student Conduct and Discipline Policy
8.1 Any student wishing to appeal an academic misconduct decision may do so in accordance with the Student Appeals Policy.

9.1 Schools must maintain a record of all allegations and investigations of academic misconduct.

9.2 The Academic Registrar must keep a register of all findings of academic misconduct and the penalties imposed under this Policy.

9.3 Where any breach that constitutes academic misconduct has been proved the decision will be recorded on the student’s record.

9.4 Access to the University’s academic misconduct register and/or individual student records in relation to academic misconduct is limited to:

  1. the Office of the Academic Registrar;
  2. the Enrolments and Scholarships section.

9.5 An annual summary and analysis of academic misconduct allegations and findings, must be tabled at Academic Administrative Committee (AAC) for noting at the first Academic Board each year.

Academic misconduct includes, but is not limited to, the following examples.

Type of Academic Misconduct Examples

any instance of cheating or impersonation during an examination


bringing into an examination room any textbook, dictionary, calculator, computer, notes, manuscript, bag, electronic device or other materials or device or means of special assistance, except those items specifically authorised for the examination by the Lecturer in Charge of the unit


communicating with another student or giving assistance to, or receiving any communication or assistance from, any other student during an examination or other assessment task where such communication or assistance is prohibited


consulting with another person outside the examination room during the conduct of the examination


doing anything to assist or enable or attempt to assist or enable another student to read and/or copy work or other materials during an examination


improperly obtaining prior knowledge of an examination paper or other assessment task and using that knowledge in an examination or other relevant assessment task


reading and/or copying or attempting to read and/or copy another student’s work or other materials during an examination or other relevant assessment task


use of forged, false, falsified, inaccurate or incomplete data taken from another source and representing it to be the work of the student


an assessment task that is constructed of segments drawn from one or a number of sources without attribution of the source, linked by comments produced by the student


citing sources, such as texts, which the student has not read, without acknowledging the ‘secondary’ source from which knowledge of them has been obtained


copying ideas, concepts, research data, images, sound or text entirely or significantly from another source such as a published article, text, computer program, internet source or another student’s work, or draft work, and presenting it as the student’s own work


failing to acknowledge indebtedness to books, articles and other sources such as the internet. Students should make it clear when they are using a direct quotation from another work. They should also indicate, by the appropriate method of footnoting or referencing, if they have used an idea or an argument which is heavily dependent on the work of another person


in an assessment task where there was legitimate cooperation and collaborative preparatory work, submitting substantially the same final version of any material as another student


in group work, where the group uses work from another group or from other sources


summarising another person’s work without acknowledgement of the source


claiming credit for group work in circumstances when the student has not actively participated in or contributed to such work


any circumstances in which a student allows another student to copy their work for the purposes of assessment


encouraging or assisting another person to commit plagiarism


students working together to submit identical work or work with large components of commonality


submit for assessment work which is the same or substantially the same as work submitted towards the assessment of any unit undertaken towards any qualification, whether at this University or elsewhere without the approval of the Lecturer in Charge and acknowledgement of the source


a person other than the bona fide student undertaking any examination or assessment task on behalf of the student designated to undertake the examination or assessment


acquiring or commissioning a piece of work (contract cheating) and representing it as if it were the student’s own work regardless of whether the work is acquired free of charge or purchased and whether it was pre-written or specifically prepared for the student


stealing another student’s work


fabricating data


omitting reference to relevant published works of others for the purpose of inferring self-discovery of new information or original analysis of data


attributing work to others who have not in fact contributed to the research


making use of any information in research in breach of any duty of confidentiality


stating or presenting a relevant or significant falsehood or omitting information or data so as to distort presented research


taking or damaging any research-related property of another person or body without authorisation

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