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Academic misconduct review highlights areas for concern at the University of Sussex

Bethan Hunt, Education Officer Education Officer, Bethan Hunt, is working to improve problems with the current system

A report produced by the Students' Union for the University highlights failures of the academic misconduct process and suggests solutions.

Academic misconduct is broadly defined as any prohibited and dishonest means to receive course credit, a higher grade, or avoid a lower grade.

The report found that, in total, there were 241 cases of academic misconduct in 2013/14, an increase of 64 from 2012/13. The majority of misconduct cases involved first and second year undergraduates.

Reasons for misconduct included:

  • Social norms
  • Lack of culture emphasising academic integrity
  • Highly competitive environments
  • High stress levels amongst students

The report also highlighted the way that students with English as a second language get caught in plagiarism more frequently than native speakers due to the way they construct text, sometimes copying phrases from source materials.

The research found that younger students, men and students who get lower grades were more likely to take part in academic misconduct.

The report also shows that when misconduct does occur, there is often apprehension among faculty when it comes to reporting it due to lack of time, evidence or because of negative experiences in the past.

The document concludes by looking at perceived flaws with academic misconduct panels and listing possible improvements to panels, procedures and ways to decrease misconduct amongst international students.

The University has a task & finish group looking into some of the issues discussed in this report.

View the whole report >>>

Education Officer, Bethan Hunt, commented on the report:

I am pleased to see that the University are working on problems that have arisen in this area. Academic misconduct affects quite a large number of students. Hopefully changes can be made to existing processes and support systems can be put in place to help alleviate these issues in future.

The Students' Union provides support and advocacy for students facing academic misconduct procedures.

 

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