Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

What is cheating?



Approved by Senate November 2007

Senate has recently approved amendments to these guidelines. The major changes are in the process for dealing with suspected cases of inappropriate conduct and the record keeping associated with this. The revised process is effective immediately. The new record keeping system (an institutional register recording all deliberate offences and associated penalties) is not yet in place.

The material below is extracted from the amended guidelines. The new guidelines will not be on the website before the start of 2008.

Definitions of coursework

Coursework is assessable work (eg, essays, assignments, reports, tests, and practical, tutorial and seminar work) produced by students and normally submitted during periods of teaching. Theses and dissertations are not covered by these provisions.

Definitions of inappropriate conduct in coursework/what is cheating?

The general principle for determining whether cheating has occurred is whether work that is submitted for grading is the student’s own work, reflecting his or her learning. If someone else’s work – from whatever source – is portrayed by a student as being their own work, without proper attribution, then it is cheating. In addition, if a student gives some or all of their work to another student who then represents it as theirs, then the student who gave the work is assisting or colluding in cheating. Both parties in this case may be subject to penalties. The following illustrative examples are included in the guidelines.

  1. Plagiarism - Using the work of others and presenting it as one’s own without explicitly acknowledging its source; not acknowledging the full extent of indebtedness to a source; paraphrasing of another work without attribution.
  2. Copying from another student’s coursework (with or without their knowledge) or passing another student’s work off as one’s own.
  3. Making up or fabricating data such as using false data in the writing up of laboratory reports, or using made-up quotations from interviewees.
  4. Submitting the same, or a substantially similar, assignment for assessment in more than one course.
  5. Impersonating someone else.
  6. Misrepresenting disability, temporary illness or injury or exceptional circumstances beyond your control, and then claiming special conditions.
  7. Using material obtained from commercial essay or assignment services, including web-based sources.

The guidelines point out that there is a danger of cheating where students use a third party to edit work and separate guidelines for students have been developed around this.

The guidelines also recognise the difficulties group work/teamwork might pose in this area. The guidelines note that cheating has occurred if a number of students work through a solution in what is intended to be an individual’s assignment, or if two students submit an identical section of an assignment.