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Academic misconduct - CS022304

Two undergraduate students were suspected of sharing answers (colluding) during remote online assessments and the provider took action under the Student Conduct procedure.

The investigator met with each student, and both denied sharing answers. They said that they had studied together and had learnt the material in a way that would be easy to remember. The investigator decided that the students had colluded during the exams because it was unlikely that they could have memorised and replicated such a large amount of information with such high degree of similarity. Both students disclosed that they had access to a mobile phone during the exam and the provider changed the case against them to include cheating, though both denied using the devices to cheat. The investigator applied a penalty that both students were required to repeat the year with capped marks in the affected assessment.

The students appealed on the same basis that they were able to provide evidence to demonstrate their ability to memorise and recite large amounts of information. They noted that this was part of their faith and educational tradition. The students also said it was unfair that the investigator decided that they had cheated without giving them a chance to respond. They argued that there was insufficient evidence to prove that they had cheated.

The provider rejected the appeals because it decided that the students had not established grounds. The students complained to us.

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

We decided that the students had raised points that were valid grounds for appeal. We also noted that the penalty that had been applied was not one that the investigator was permitted to apply under the regulations.

We recommended that the provider should offer to reconsider the students’ appeals. We also recommended that the provider should review its procedure for investigating academic misconduct in assessment.