BPP University outlines Academic Malpractice as either 'Poor Academic Practice' or 'Academic Misconduct'
What does Academic Malpractice mean?
The University defines it as an act 'whereby a student may gain an un-permitted or unfair advantage in an examination or assessment'.
This can take many forms including:
- Bribery / intimidation;
- Unauthorised possession or reference; or
- Breach of the rubics of assessment.
Full definitions of these terms are available in MoPPs, Part H, Section 10.
Poor Academic Practice means that a student has not deliberately cheated in order to gain an unfair advantage from others. For example, they have not taken adequate care to ensure that their work has been referenced properly.
Academic Misconduct is when a student has acted to gain an unfair advantage during a piece of assessment in order to receive a better outcome, or where they have received benefits that mean other students are at a disadvantage.
Any allegation of academic malpractice should be taken very seriously. Depending on the severity of the allegation, you may be invited to a meeting with the Programme Team to discuss the allegation in the first instance. If they feel that there was a breach of the regulations, then in most circumstances you will be invited to complete a Case Management Form detailing your comments relating to the allegation. The Office of Regulation & Compliance (ORC) will contact you regarding this. At this stage you can also provide them with evidence of any mitigating factors.
If required to attend a formal hearing this will be held by a panel. The panel is normally made up of 3 senior members of staff that have not had any prior involvement in the investigation. At the hearing, you will have the opportunity to give your explanation in response to the allegation.
Why is it important to prepare for it?
The panel has a wide variety of penalties they can give to students, and base their judgement on experience from other cases, the degree of intent and any other aggravating factors. Therefore, it is really important to submit all information and be as open and honest as possible throughout the investigation. Penalties can range from a formal warning, to a module being capped and a mark of zero being awarded, or even termination of a student’s registration.
How can the Independent Advisors help?
- Explain the Academic misconduct procedure to you in greater detail;
- Provide tailored advice on your case;
- Experience of having supported other students through the procedure;
- Advise and review any submissions that you make to the University; and/or
- Attend all meetings alongside you.
If you would like support, advice or guidance whilst going through an academic malpractice hearing, please get in touch with the Independent Advice Team on firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to offer you free confidential support.