Definitions of Cheating
The University of Warwick Regulation 11 “Procedure to be Adopted in the Event of Suspected Cheating in a University Test” defines “cheating” as
“an attempt to benefit oneself or another, by deceit or fraud. This shall include reproducing one’s own work or the work of another person or persons without proper acknowledgement”
Plagiarism is the reproduction, and presentation as one’s own, of the words or ideas of another.
Examples of these kinds of plagiarism include:
- verbatim copying of another individual/institution’s work without acknowledgement;
- close paraphrasing of another’s work by simply changing a few words or altering the order of presentation, without acknowledgement;
- unacknowledged quotation of phrases from another’s work;
- the deliberate and detailed presentation of another’s concept as one’s own.
Plagiarism can also include self-plagiarism – that is repeating one’s own, earlier work, without acknowledgement.
Collusion is the collaboration by a student with another person in producing a piece of work submitted for assessment, where that piece of work is presented as being solely the work of the student.
This can take the form of conscious collaboration, without official approval, between two or more students in the preparation and production of work which is ultimately submitted by each in an identical, or substantially similar form and/or is represented by each to be the product of his or her individual efforts.
In addition, collusion can take place inadvertently, even if there was no intent to gain an advantage by collaborating. Collusion occurs whenever work is inaccurately presented as the sole work of the student submitting it. For example, if two students share ideas to the extent that the details of any mistakes they might have made will be identical in both pieces of work, then it is very likely that they have colluded, regardless of intent. Discussion with another student while writing a piece of assessed work is not strictly prohibited, but is especially vulnerable to inadvertent collusion. No student should know the answer that another student has submitted or intends to submit, when writing or typing their own answer.
Collusion also occurs where there is unauthorized co-operation between a student and another person in the preparation and production of work which is presented as the student’s own.*
*If you permit another student to cheat, for example by giving them a copy of your work, you are also in contravention of regulation 11, whether you intended for them to copy your work or not.
Where a student is found to have submitted work for assessment that is procured through a third party, with or without a payment being made, this would be considered “Contract Cheating” and would therefore fall under the remit of plagiarism as defined above.
Where work has been passed to a third party for proof reading and this has resulted in changes to the work which go beyond that which is deemed appropriate in the University’s’ Proof Reading Guidance, this would be considered a form of cheating, whether or not the work was paid for.
The University acknowledges that students may wish to seek assistance from third parties, whether they be friends, family or professional proofreaders, to review their work prior to submission. The University’s policy on proofreading sets out what the University considers to be acceptable practice in this area and can be found here.
Advice on Collaboration
The department recognises that discussing ideas about how to tackle questions is a valuable part of the learning process.
Collaboration in the sense of a discussion of general strategies or help of a general nature are allowed, detailed discussions and comparison of numerical results or computer code are not permitted. The work you submit should be written in your own words and you should not ask to see written work, computer code or computer output belonging to another student.
Training and Resources
All students are advised to complete the university’s training courses on plagiarism and referencing.
It is becoming increasingly common for students to use repositories (such as GitHub and GitLab to store and manage their coursework or related software. If you do this, you must make sure that your repositories are marked as “private” (and remain so, even after you have left the University), since by default they may be public and may be seen by other students. If you make your coursework public, and it is viewed or copied by other students, you may be investigated for abetting plagiarism (just as if you had deliberately handed your work to another student to copy).
If you need to make a “portfolio” visible to potential employers, then the above still holds - either give the employer individual access (if the repository allows it), or make sure no coursework materials are included.
Use of Source Matching Software
Where the format and style of the assessment allows, the Department of Statistics uses source matching software packages as part of the submission process for assessed work. The report from source matching software packages is included as part of the consideration of assessed work, and in all further investigation of cases of suspected plagiarism, alongside the application of sound academic judgement.
Students are advised against using source matching software packages at other institutions or source matching software available online. Source matching software often automatically adds all new material to its database so this practice may lead to students’ work being investigated for plagiarism.
Investigation of Suspected Cheating
When a marker has concerns about a piece of assessment it is passed to the module leader (if the marker is not the Module Leader). If the Module Leader is clear that the case is one of poor academic practice, or that there is no case to answer, the assessment is marked normally.
If the Module Leader is unclear whether the case is one of poor academic practice, or if the Module Leader believes cheating has occurred, the matter is referred to the Academic Conduct Panel. The Panel may decide on the basis of the submitted material that the assessment exhibits poor academic practice; or that there is no case to answer, in this instance the assessment is returned to the Module Leader to provide the appropriate outcome.
If the Academic Conduct Panel considers there is evidence of poor academic practice, or that cheating has occurred, the Panel will ask the student to make a statement.
If, after the student’s statement, the Academic Conduct Panel decides that the case is one of poor academic practice, or that there is no case to answer, the assessment is returned to the Module Leader to provide the appropriate outcome.
If the Academic Conduct Panel decides that there is evidence of cheating, it will refer the matter to the Deputy Head of Department for Teaching and Learning DHoD T&L who acts on behalf of the Head of Department. If there is evidence of a serious case of cheating, the DHoD T&L may refer the case to an Investigating Committee of the Senate (ICS). If the DHoD T&L uses powers under the Regulation to determine whether or not an offence has occurred, the DHoD T&L will provide the student with a reasonable opportunity to make representations on their own behalf, before determining whether an offence has occurred.
In the event that it is determined that an offence has occurred (without ICS), the DHoD T&L shall determine the penalty. The student shall be informed of the outcome. The student has a right to appeal to an Investigating Committee of the Senate, in accordance with the Regulation, against the decision. If the student accepts the penalty, the matter ends and the outcome is reported to the Examination Board. If the student appeals, the procedure relating to an Investigating Committee of the Senate is invoked.
The Statistics Department will deal with all cases of suspected cheating in Statistics modules and report the outcome to a student’s home department, if different.
Cheating by students from the Statistics department in modules taught by other departments will be dealt with within that other department and reported back to the Statistics Exam Board.
Penalties available to the Department
A reduction in mark for the piece of work in which the plagiarism has occurred (with or without the opportunity to resubmit or undertake a further assessment). The mark may be reduced up to the zero limit.
Re-submission of the original work with revised referencing, for a capped mark;
Re-submission of a new piece of work for a reduced or capped mark.
Students should be advised that the Department of Statistics usually applies a zero grade for the entire piece of assessed work for coursework with low CATS weighting (≤2 CATS).
Support for Students under Investigation
Being under investigation for cheating can be stressful for the students concerned. If you are informed that you are being investigated for suspected cheating you may find the following helpful;
- We are committed to high standards of professionalism and academic conduct and sometimes we may investigate a case where it is found that cheating did not occur. The focus of an academic conduct panel will be understanding how a situation which caused concerns arose.
- You are entitled to bring another person to any meetings relating to investigation of suspected cheating. You may wish to invite a friend, family member, personal tutor, year tutor or advisor from the SU.
- If you are found guilty of cheating in one piece of assessed work with a low CATS value it is not likely to have a significant effect on your module or year mark. The severity of the consequences increases for any subsequent offences which is deemed to be sufficient deterrent to repeat offences.