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Academic misconduct - CS022303

Student A and student B were found by their provider to have submitted identical essays for assessment in different modules. Student A immediately admitted that they had bought the essay and submitted it without alteration. Student B said that they were the author of the essay and they had uploaded it to an external company for help with proof reading. Student B suggested that this service had stolen and sold the work.

An academic misconduct panel met and decided that student B had committed contract cheating.  The panel noted that student B’s general level of English in the panel was not consistent with the essay, and that they had admitted seeking proof reading help. The panel said that either student B had help that went beyond proof reading, or that they had purchased the essay.

The provider rejected student B’s appeal on the basis that there was strong evidence of contract cheating. Student B complained to us.

We upheld student B’s complaint (we found it Justified). 

Student B had supplied evidence to the panel showing their work in draft, some of which was in their first language. The student also argued that their written English is stronger than their spoken English and that they were nervous when appearing before the panel. The panel did not properly consider this evidence. The panel incorrectly believed that the evidence had already been considered at an exploratory oral exam, and that the referral to the panel had been made because academic staff had formed a view that student B could not have been the author of the work. This was not the case. The panel also questioned student B about statements it said student B had made, when they were in fact comments made by student A who had admitted to buying the essay.

We recommended that the provider consider the case against the student afresh, including a new investigation and panel hearing if appropriate.