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Student Academic Integrity Policy

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) Charles Darwin University (CDU) is committed to fostering a culture of personal and academic integrity, developing graduates with a strong sense of personal and professional ethics. Students and staff share the responsibility of creating an environment where academic honesty and independent learning are well understood and valued.

(2) The University will train its staff to provide consistent and coherent support to students in all matters related to academic integrity. CDU will prioritise the prevention of academic dishonesty by providing information and education so that every student understands their obligation to work independently and apply the required industry or professional standards in their assessments and broader education.

(3) Any form of cheating, plagiarism, collusion, or dishonesty, devalues the quality of learning for every student and undermines the academic standards of the University. Allegations of academic misconduct will be taken seriously and dealt with fairly, consistently, and transparently.

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Section 2 - Purpose

(4) This Policy outlines the University’s expectations of academic integrity for every student, including the principles and framework for upholding the high standards required and for managing alleged breaches.

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Section 3 - Scope

(5) This policy applies to all students enrolled at the University or with a partner organisation in:

  1. a vocational qualification, training product or short course,
  2. a higher education coursework qualification, single unit of study or short course,
  3. the coursework components of a higher degree by research.

(6) The policy applies to all assessment activities including those on campus, online, in workplaces or in the field.

(7) The University may deal with academic misconduct under this Policy if the individual was a student at the time of the alleged misconduct, even if they are no longer a student when proceedings are started or finalised.

(8) Where a student is suspected of engaging in fraudulent behaviour the case may be dealt with under the Fraud and Corruption Control Policy.

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Section 4 - Policy Principles

(9) Academic integrity is the demonstration of the values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility in achieving academic outcomes, resulting in a growing sense of ethical and professional behaviour.

(10) To create a culture of academic integrity, the University will:

  1. educate students, making resources available and providing training that develops every student’s understanding of appropriate academic conventions for their study and develops their knowledge of the professional conduct required in their industry.
  2. educate staff to provide advice, resources and context-specific support to students.
  3. create an environment of mutual trust, where student ideas and work are respected, assessed with integrity and properly attributed. Employers and other members of the community will be able to trust that a student’s work is original and a result of their own skills and work.
  4. prevent misconduct by identifying the root causes of breaches and improving the ways in which students are assessed, creating a learning environment where students are known to staff and supported to build their skills and encouraging a teaching and learning environment that educates students about expectations of academic integrity and appropriate referencing techniques to reduce opportunities for student academic misconduct.
  5. intervene early when academic misconduct is suspected or detected, acting on alleged breaches by ensuring that investigations are fair, confidential and timely and decisions are evidence-based and in accordance with the principles of procedural fairness.
  6. continuously improve approaches to academic integrity, tracking the uptake and effectiveness of educational resources, providing staff with best practice resources, guidance, and training and monitoring trends or emerging practices in academic misconduct.

(11) Academic staff have a significant role to play in creating a culture that fosters academic honesty and excellence. Academic staff who assess students’ work are responsible for:

  1. implementing the University’s prevention and education strategies,
  2. demonstrating good practice at all times with respect to unit content and assessment delivery,
  3. modeling good practice and providing support and advice to students in preparing them to undertake academic tasks,
  4. educating students in appropriate academic integrity techniques, clearly explaining what constitutes plagiarism, collusion and other forms of cheating within that unit or training, and
  5. identifying and acting on instances of academic misconduct, including referring them to relevant staff.

(12) The University expects that students will act honestly and do the right thing for themselves, each other and the University. To meet the required standards of academic integrity, students will:

  1. learn about academic integrity by participating in learning activities and accessing resources designed to educate students about appropriate academic conventions and professional or industry standards.
  2. act in good faith when undertaking learning and assessment activities:
    1. completing University assignments or tasks in a responsible and conscientious manner, pursuing intellectual freedom through the honest search for knowledge,
    2. understanding and avoiding plagiarism by acknowledging the ideas, work and contribution of others and never misrepresenting someone else’s work as their own;
    3. understanding and avoiding collusion or other forms of cheating by not providing work to others, not purchasing work or promoting the purchasing of work to others, and not falsifying results,
    4. following relevant ethics or professional guidelines, including when accessing confidential or sensitive data, when interacting with clients or patients and when on lands managed by Indigenous communities,
    5. declaring any conflicts of interest, including but not limited to close personal relationships with staff, and
    6. avoiding coercive or threatening behaviour, or any attempts to gain an unfair advantage.
  3. Be truthful when providing documentation to the University, submitting original work, giving due credit to the work of others and supplying additional information when requested, including saving back-up copies to provide proof of authorship.
  4. Role-model academic integrity within the University, speaking up against breaches in academic or research integrity, where it is safe to do so; and committing to creating an ethical and professional University environment, online, on campus, in the field and in the workplace.

Types of Academic Misconduct

(13) Academic misconduct occurs where a student seeks an unfair advantage for themselves or others by behaving in a way that is contrary to the ethical principles of academic honesty and integrity, and includes plagiarism, contract cheating, examination cheating, duplicate submission, fabrication, misrepresentation, impersonation, academic fraud and solicitation.

Term Definition
Academic Fraud A false representation made in attempting to gain an unfair advantage.
Cheating A deliberate attempt to gain an unfair advantage, including:
  1. unauthorised early access to assessment/exam papers or answer sheets;
  2. communicating with or copying from another person during an exam; or
  3. supplying or receiving unauthorised material in an examination.
Collusion Any unauthorised collaboration in preparation or presentation of work, including knowingly allowing personal work to be copied by others.
Contract Cheating Securing a person or computer program to complete part or all of your assessment, including using work prepared by another person.
Duplicate Submission Resubmitting or largely reusing work that you have previously had assessed as new work, without permission from the lecturer/tutor.
Fabrication The intentional use of information or data that has been made up but is implied to be real.
Impersonation Assuming the identity of another person and completing assessments on their behalf.
Misrepresentation Presenting an untrue or incomplete statement that could mislead, including:
  1. about attendance or participation in practical, performance or professional learning and assessment activities;
  2. citations to non-existent or incorrect sources; or
  3. failing to disclose information when there is a duty to disclose it, or when failing to disclose it misleads the assessor.
Plagiarism Presenting the work of another as your own work without proper acknowledgement that clearly identifies which parts of the work originate from another source.

Work includes ideas, interpretations, words or creative works such as works in print and electronic media, published and unpublished documents, designs, music, sounds, images, photographs, computer codes and ideas gained through working in a team.
Solicitation and Promoting the Breach of Academic Integrity Offering, inducing or advertising for a person to complete an assessment on your behalf, including work likely to be used for cheating, misrepresentation and/or plagiarism.

Note that a student who agrees to assist another student through solicitation, cheating, misrepresentation or plagiarism (for example by willingly sharing their own work or advertising the availability of their own work or someone else’s work) is also in breach of academic integrity, and will be subject to disciplinary action.

Academic Misconduct Resolution

(14) Breaches of academic integrity will usually be dealt with under this Policy in the first instance, acknowledging that repeated or serious cases may be referred to the Code of Conduct - Students for action.

(15) The University will:

  1. investigate allegations of academic misconduct in a consistent, transparent and timely manner;
  2. act in accordance with the principles of procedural fairness and confidentiality, including advising students of allegations of misconduct against them in a timely manner and ensuring that students have an opportunity to respond to any allegation against them and to appeal any penalties imposed;
  3. make decisions on whether an act of misconduct has occurred after the facts have been established to the satisfaction of the decision-maker, ensuring that staff with direct interest in an allegation against a student are not involved in making a determination of misconduct in relation to that student; and
  4. not take into account previous misconduct breaches when determining whether a minor breach has occurred, but may take into account previous breaches when deciding on penalties to be imposed.

(16) The University recognises that there are varying degrees of seriousness in relation to breaches of academic integrity, indicated below.

Level Description Penalties / outcomes Impact on results
Serious Academic Misconduct will be deemed serious if it appears to be:
  1. deliberately planned, and/or
  2. is substantial in scale or scope
All cases of contract cheating will be deemed serious.
  1. Mandated education (see clause 17),and
  2. Recorded on student file, and
  3. Fail (0%) or Unsatisfactory for the submitted work.
  4. Fail or Not Competent for the unit.


For severe or repeated cases, and for all cases of contract cheating:
  1. Disciplinary action under the Student Code of Conduct.
  2. Referral to external agencies for conduct deemed a reportable or criminal offence.
Fail (0%) (HE)

Not Competent (VET)
Minor All academic misconduct not deemed to be serious will be deemed minor.
  1. Mandated education (see clause 17), and
  2. Recorded on student file, and
  3. For HE students:
    1. Warning with 0-10% reduction in marks, or
    2. Second attempt at the assessment, or
    3. Second attempt at the assessment with Pass only grade available, or
    4. Mark original content only, disregarding sections in question.
  4. For VET students:
    1. Warning only, or
    2. Warning with supplementary skills assessment, or
    3. Warning with second attempt at the assessment item(s).
Depending on the breach:
  1. Full range of marks and grades, or a reduced range (HE)
  2. Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory assessment outcome or Competent or Not Competent unit outcome (VET)

(17) The University will refer all students who breach academic integrity, regardless of the level of breach, to undertake an educative intervention strategy to ensure future academic integrity. This includes, but is not limited to:

  1. appointment with the trainer or lecturer to refresh knowledge on required standards, and/or
  2. referral to the Language and Learning support team for support, and/or
  3. requirement to repeat the academic integrity induction module.

Responding to Minor Breaches

(18) The VET Team Leader or HE Unit Coordinator will manage minor breaches of academic integrity, with potential breaches referred to them by trainers, lecturers, markers, or exam invigilators.

(19) The VET Team Leader or HE Unit Coordinator will assess referred cases using their academic expertise and judgement in addition to the evidence from the person making the referral and any supporting evidence from text-matching software or other technology to assist in determining the percentage of similarity between the students submitted work and other sources as a guide.

(20) Where the VET Team Leader or HE Unit Coordinator does not find a breach to have occurred, the matter will be dismissed, and the work referred back to the assessor or marker who will mark the assessment in full.

(21) Where the VET Team Leader or HE Unit Coordinator finds sufficient evidence of a breach, they will:

  1. advise the student in writing of the type of academic breach detected;
  2. provide the student with a copy of the evidence; and
  3. invite the student to a meeting or provide them with the opportunity to respond in writing.

(22) The student will have five (5) working days to attend a meeting or provide a response to the allegation. Where no response is received within the stipulated time period, the VET Team Leader or HE Unit Coordinator will proceed based on the available evidence.

(23) The VET Team Leader or HE Unit Coordinator will make a decision about whether a breach has occurred, taking into account:

  1. the type of academic misconduct;
  2. the extent of the misconduct;
  3. the experience of the student; and
  4. the stage or level of the student in their course.

(24) If the VET Team Leader or HE Unit Coordinator decides that a breach has not occurred, no further action will be taken and no record will be held against the student file.

(25) If the VET Team Leader or HE Unit Coordinator decides that a minor breach has occurred, they will determine the most appropriate outcome for the breach, and may take the student’s history of academic integrity breaches into account.

(26) Once an outcome has been determined, the VET Team Leader or HE Unit Coordinator will:

  1. advise the student in writing of the outcome and any action to be taken;
  2. refer the student to undertake appropriate educative intervention;
  3. record the mark; and
  4. inform the student of the option to request a review by the College Dean if the student disagrees with their decision. Reviews must be submitted within 10 working days of the date of the VET Team Leader or HE Unit Coordinator's decision.

Responding to Serious Breaches

(27) The VET Team Leader or HE Unit Coordinator will refer serious breaches to the College Dean for assessment of the evidence and decision.

(28) The College Dean will assess referred cases using their academic expertise and judgement in addition to the evidence from the person making the referral and any supporting evidence from text-matching software or other technology to assist in determining the percentage of similarity between the students submitted work and other sources as a guide.

(29) Where the College Dean does not find a serious breach to have occurred, the matter will be referred back to the VET Team Leader or HE Unit Coordinator to be assessed as a minor breach.

(30) Where the College Dean finds sufficient evidence to support an allegation of a serious breach, they will:

  1. advise the student in writing of the type of academic breach detected; and
  2. provide the student with a copy of the evidence; and
  3. invite the student to a meeting or provide them with the opportunity to respond in writing.

(31) The student will have five (5) working days to attend a meeting or provide a response to the allegation. Where no response is received within the stipulated time period, the College Dean will proceed based on the available evidence.

(32) The College Dean will make a decision about whether a breach has occurred, taking into account:

  1. the type of academic misconduct;
  2. the extent of the misconduct;
  3. the experience of the student; and
  4. the stage or level of the student in their course.

(33) If the College Dean decides that a breach has not occurred, no further action will be taken and no record will be held against the student file.

(34) If the College Dean decides that a breach has occurred, they will determine the most appropriate outcome for the breach, and may take the student’s history of academic integrity breaches into account.

(35) Once an outcome has been determined, usually within 10 working days of the meeting with the student, the College Dean will:

  1. advise the student in writing of the outcome and any action to be taken, including whether the case will be referred for action under the Code of Conduct - Students (for severe cases) or to external agencies for conduct deemed reportable or a criminal offence, as applicable;
  2. refer the student to undertake appropriate educative intervention;
  3. record the fail grade or Not Competent notation; and
  4. inform the student of the option to appeal the finding by the Student Appeals Committee (see clauses 44 – 46).

Appeal Against Decision

(36) A student can lodge an appeal in writing (or another accessible format) with the Student Policy and Complaints team within twenty (20) working days of receiving the academic misconduct outcome.

  1. Late appeals will be accepted where there are exceptional circumstances that prevented timely lodging of an appeal.

(37) An appeal will only be accepted where one or more of the following conditions have been met:

  1. The process was not followed correctly, or failed to provide procedural fairness;
  2. Additional information or evidence is available now, but was not reasonably available when required for the academic misconduct case; or
  3. The decision was manifestly unjust.

(38) The Student Policy and Complaints team will acknowledge receipt of an appeal within two (2) working days.

(39) Appeals will be assessed by the Student Policy and Complaints team. Students may be asked to clarify the appeal, provide a detailed statement or provide additional evidence. Information may also be requested from other relevant parties.

(40) The team will then:

  1. refer the complaint to the next meeting of the Student Appeals Committee.
  2. reject the appeal based on it failing to meet the conditions at clause 37.

(41) The Student Appeals Committee may request to meet with the appellant and with other parties to the appeal, including the person responsible for determining the outcome of the academic misconduct. They may also request or access additional information. The Student Appeals Committee will then decide on the appeal outcome based on the evidence to hand. Where there is conflicting evidence, they may make a determination based on the balance of probabilities.

(42) Students will usually be provided with a written outcome within twenty (20) working days of the Student Appeals Committee finalising the outcome, and will include details of the basis for any decisions.

  1. An appeal outcome can be delayed due to the complexity or serious nature of the matter, or because parties to the appeal are temporarily unavailable, or because the there is a time lag in accessing relevant information.
  2. Where such a delay occurs, the student will be informed of a revised timeframe.

(43) The Student Policy and Complaints team will monitor the progress of all appeals and keep students informed about their progress.

External Avenue for Appeal

(44) The outcome of an appeal is final and there are no further avenues of recourse within the University.

(45) Where a student is dissatisfied with the outcome of an appeal, they may refer the matter to an appropriate external organisation, usually (but not limited to) the Ombudsman NT www.ombudsman.nt.gov.au.

  1. Students may choose to take their appeal to other regulatory or statutory authorities, guided by their stated scope of power or jurisdiction.

(46) If a student on the VET Student Loan Scheme lodges an external complaint and is charged a fee, the University will reimburse the cost of the resolution process. However, where the student is accompanied or assisted by another person at the review, it will be at the student’s expense.

Formal Record of Breach and Monitoring

(47) The VET Team Leader or HE Unit Coordinator or College Dean will submit a full record of all stages of academic misconduct proceedings including all actions, evidence, correspondence, meetings and minutes, on a confidential file with the Student Policy and Complaints team. When misconduct is determined to have taken place, a summary of the investigation and determination will be recorded on the student's file.

(48) The Student Policy and Complaints team will monitor, review and report on breaches of academic integrity to the Vice-chancellor's Advisory Committee, Academic Board and the Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee. Reporting will occur in accordance with the University’s reporting cycle.

(49) The Student Policy and Complaints team will monitor, review, and report instances of multiple breaches by individual students to relevant College Deans.

(50) Confidential records will be disposed of according to the Records Management - Retention and Disposal Procedure.

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Section 5 - Non-compliance

(51) Non-compliance with Governance Documents is considered a breach of the Code of Conduct - Staff and the Code of Conduct - Students, as applicable, and is treated seriously by the University. Reports of concerns about non-compliance will be managed in accordance with the applicable disciplinary procedures.

(52) All staff members have an individual responsibility to raise any suspicion, allegation or report of bribery or improper conduct in accordance with the Fraud and Corruption Control Policy and Whistleblower Reporting (Improper Conduct) Procedure.