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Academic misconduct - CS022308

An international student was invited to a disciplinary panel after a large proportion of their essay was found to be identical in content and structure to a previous student’s submission in the same module.

The student said that they had not intended to plagiarise. However, the provider’s regulations said that a student’s intention was not relevant to whether they had committed plagiarism. The panel decided that the student had plagiarised and gave a mark of zero for the assignment. It also capped the re-assessment mark and required the student to undertake relevant training.

The student appealed on the basis that the penalty was disproportionate. They said that health issues, and the fact that English was not their first language, had affected their engagement on the course. The provider rejected the appeal, saying that the penalty it had applied was appropriate in view of the evidence and mitigation presented.

The student complained to us.

We did not uphold the student’s complaint (we decided that it was “Not Justified”). We decided that the provider had properly applied the definition of plagiarism in its procedures and reasonably used its academic judgment when deciding whether the student’s work was plagiarised. The student was given a fair opportunity to respond to the case against them, both before and during the panel hearing. We concluded that the provider had considered the student’s mitigation when applying the penalty and that the penalty itself was in line with those set out within its procedures and was proportionate to first-time misconduct.