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Unfair Practice

Cardiff Metropolitan University expects its community to uphold values of academic integrity by following academic conventions and honestly acknowledging the contributions of others in the production and submission of assessment.

It is Unfair Practice, sometimes referred to as 'academic misconduct', to do something which may result in an unpermitted academic advantage, either for yourself or for someone else. Such acts potentially disadvantage those students who have completed their assessments fairly and undermine the integrity of the University's academic standards and awards.

Unfair Practice includes:

Plagiarism

Using another person's words or ideas without acknowledgement and submitting them for assessment as though it were your own work. Examples can include:

  • Use of any quotation(s) from someone else's published or unpublished work whether from a textbook, an article or in any other format, where the quotation is not clearly identified with quotation marks and properly cited.
  • Use of another person's words or ideas that has been slightly changed or paraphrased to make it look different from the original.
  • Summarising another person's ideas, judgments, diagrams, figures, or computer programmes without reference to that person in the text and the source in the bibliography.
  • Self-plagiarism – using your own work from a previous assignment/module when it has not been expressly permitted.

Collusion

Work undertaken with others is submitted and passed off as solely the work of one person.

e.g. several students work together on an assessment or online exam and individually submit work which contains sections which are the same.

Contract Cheating

Paying for all or part of an assignment to be written by someone else, e.g. through an essay-writing service, and submitting it in your name.

Misconduct during an Exam

Anything which is against the exam-condition assessment regulations, which includes:

  • Using unauthorised material or an electronic device
  • Impersonating someone else to take the exam on their behalf
  • Communicating with someone other than the invigilator

Fabrication of Data

Falsely claiming to have carried out experiments, observations, interviews or other forms of data collection and/or analysis.


Unfair Practice Procedure

Cardiff Metropolitan University has high academic standards and takes any allegation of Unfair Practice very seriously.

If, in the course of marking an assessment or invigilating an exam, any student is suspected of having engaged with any of the above, an allegation of Unfair Practice will be sent by the school to Registry Services, who will process the case and ultimately issue the outcome.

Please see here for a step-by-step guide to how cases are processed. UP Step Guide 2022 (English).docx

The Unfair Practice procedures are available in full at this link, as part of the Academic Handbook: https://www.cardiffmet.ac.uk/registry/academichandbook/Pages/Ah1_08.aspx


Student Support

Unfair Practice Procedure Support

If you need help understanding or negotiating the Unfair Practice procedure or process, the Students' Union provide impartial advice about academic regulations and procedures, including Unfair Practice: www.cardiffmetsu.co.uk/support/academic/

Email: suadvice@cardiffmet.ac.uk

Academic Skills Support

If you feel you need more support with your academic writing or have questions about how to make sure your assessments are properly referenced (especially if you have already been issued with a penalty for Unfair Practice and want to avoid it happening again), Library Services provide information about Academic Skills and training in Academic Practice.

Student Wellbeing Support

If you are struggling with your academic workload and/or personal circumstances and feel you need to speak somebody, you can contact the Student Wellbeing Team in Student Services.

Please note, students at our partner institutions will need to use local Student Services.


Frequently Asked Questions

We hope you find the below Frequently Asked Questions helpful. If you have a query relating to Unfair Practice which is not answered by the FAQs, please email aup@cardiffmet.ac.uk

What should I do while I'm waiting for my case to be considered? How long will it take?

While your case is being processed you should continue to submit assessments for your other modules.

You should normally hear from the Unfair Practice team within a few weeks of your case being referred to us by your school or college. If your case needs to be considered by a Committee of Enquiry, or if you have opted for this, it could take up to 8 weeks. Please see the step-by-step guide to how cases are processed [insert link] for further information as to what to expect.

Can I resubmit my work early?

No, unfortunately you cannot resubmit for the assignment in question until you have received an official Exam Board outcome from your school or college which confirms what your reassessment details are.

What are the penalties for Unfair Practice?

For a first offence, it is likely a student would be offered the Fixed Penalty (accepting responsibility that an offence has taken place) which involves the assignment mark being cancelled to zero, with the assessment to be resubmitted at the next attempt number, and the module capped at the minimum pass mark.

A second offence may usually (but not always) attract a Second Level Fixed Penalty which involves cancelling of any previous marks and retaking the module, capped (with relevant fees).

Where a student is already out of attempts for an assessment, no further opportunity to resubmit is possible and the module will be failed.

A third offence (or a very serious earlier offence) may result in complete disqualification from the University. Please see further details within the Unfair Practice Procedure.

Will a case of UP stop me progressing/graduating?

Possibly, depending on when your reassessment will be confirmed by an Exam Board.

Even if you accept a Fixed Penalty within the stipulated two weeks, you will have failed the assessment and must wait to be issued your reassessment the same time as anyone else who has failed the module – this means you will need to wait for the upcoming Exam Board before reassessment requirements are confirmed, and then your reassessment mark will be considered at the next Exam Board after that.

If your Unfair Practice is on a module which is considered at a Semester 1 Exam Board, you might be permitted to complete reassessment during Semester 2 for consideration at a summer Exam Board. Otherwise, your reassessment will probably be set for over the summer and it's likely you will not have confirmation of progression/award until September.

If you are a final year student, unfortunately this means you may not be awarded in time for the July graduation ceremonies that year, however you will be invited to attend a future ceremony.

Will Unfair Practice be noted on my student record?

Yes, any confirmed Unfair Practice will be noted on your student record, however this will not show on any final transcript, certificate or HEAR (Higher Education Achievement Report).

What if I had Mitigating Circumstances at the time of submission?

While we sympathise with any students experiencing difficult personal circumstances while trying to keep up with their studies, having Mitigating Circumstances, even if they have been formally recognised by the University, does not protect you from the consequences of submitting work which is not properly referenced or not written solely by you. If you are struggling with your workload, you should always seek support and never submit an incomplete assessment which is not fully referenced.

What if I submitted the wrong assignment in error?

It is a student's responsibility to submit the correct file to the relevant assessment point and uploading the wrong file is not an excuse for submitting incorrectly referenced work. As part of the submission process, students confirm the work being submitted is their own final submission and what they intend to be assessed.

Why has my Turnitin similarity percentage changed from when I submitted?

When you submit to Turnitin via Moodle it produces an initial similarity percentage. When the whole cohort has submitted, the module leader then processes the module and all of its submissions. This sometimes increases the similarity percentage if more matches are found and a similarity index % is always subject to change as a result of this.

Is my submission acceptable if my Turnitin similarity percentage is under a certain number?

There is no threshold for an 'acceptable' Turnitin similarity index. Submissions are considered on a case by case basis and just because you have a low Turnitin score, doesn't mean that your submission would not be scrutinised to check for correct academic practice.

Where can I get more support with my academic writing?

If you feel you need more support with your academic writing or have questions about how to make sure your assessments are properly referenced (especially if you have already been issued with a penalty for Unfair Practice and want to avoid it happening again), there is information on training and resources available from Library Services.

What is the Committee of Enquiry (CoE)?

Students may be given the choice of whether to accept a 'Fixed Penalty' (and accept responsibility that an offence has taken place) or request for their case to be considered by a panel of academics who make up the Committee of Enquiry.

If your submission is worth over 30 credits, it is a dissertation or major project, or it's an alleged third offence, your case will automatically be forwarded for committee consideration.

What happens in a committee? Will it be online? Do I have to attend?

During a Committee of Enquiry, your case will be considered by a panel of academics who will seek to establish if, on the balance of probabilities given the evidence available, Unfair Practice has or has not occurred. All evidence to be considered will also be sent to you in advance and will include your submission, the allegation report from the school/college, any Turnitin report for the submission in question, and may also include:

  • any submissions or sources which your work seems to match;
  • notes or transcript from any interview regarding the allegations;
  • any formal statements submitted by you or any other witnesses/parties involved.

Currently, all committees are conducted online via Microsoft Teams.

Your case will be heard whether you attend or not. You will need to inform us in advance if you plan to attend the committee so we will know to expect you and can send you an invitation.

If you are not able to attend you can send a statement in advance for the committee to consider. If you cannot attend your committee, you are entitled to seek representation (for example, by a member of the Students' Union), however in such instances students are encouraged to submit a statement to the committee in advance, as any representative could not answer questions regarding your assignment production or submission, but could only witness that procedures are being correctly followed.

Can someone come with me to the committee?

You are entitled to be accompanied at the Committee by a friend or family member who may act as moral support, however you need to let us know in advance if you intend to bring somebody with you. The Unfair Practice procedures also stipulate that you must notify the University if they have any legal qualifications – they cannot attend in any legal capacity.

Will there be an interpreter for the committee if English is not my first language?

No, the meeting will be conducted in English (or Welsh if requested). If you are concerned about participating in English, you can arrange for someone to accompany you who can interpret for you.

What if I am unhappy with the Committee of Enquiry outcome?

If your case has been considered by a Committee of Enquiry, after you have received the formal outcome you may submit an appeal but only on one or both of the below specific grounds:

1. Irregularities in the conduct of the Unfair Practice procedure which may have affected the Committee's decision-making

2. Exceptional personal circumstances relevant to the Unfair Practice which could not have been reported to the Committee before its meeting

The Students' Union can advise you about whether you may have grounds for appeal. You can only submit an appeal via the relevant online form within 14 days of your Committee of Enquiry outcome letter.

More information about appeals is available on the Appeals webpage.