Minor and serious academic misconduct

The university distinguishes between minor and serious cases of academic misconduct, depending on the gravity of the offence, and the circumstances. There are several factors to take into account:

  • whether the student has committed academic misconduct before;
  • evidence that the student intended to gain unfair advantage;
  • level of study – at higher SCQF levels, a case would be viewed more seriously;
  • in cases of plagiarism, the proportion of the assessment that has been plagiarised;
  • whether or not critical aspects of the assessment have been plagiarised (ie key ideas central to the assessment and associated learning outcomes);
  • impact of offence on other students eg in groupwork assessments, examinations;
  • credit value and weighting of the assessment, ie a larger / more significant piece of work would be viewed more seriously.
  • Small proportion of an essay plagiarised e.g. copied from a text book or other source without acknowledgement;
  • Incorrect or inadequate referencing (e.g. Turnitin similarity score refers to many short sections which are unacknowledged);
  • Misunderstanding about a groupwork assessment brief, where students have collaborated on what should be an individual contribution.
  • Cheating in an exam;
  • Significant sections of an essay plagiarised e.g. copied from a text book or other source without acknowledgement;
  • Significant proportion of a report copied from another student’s work;
  • Essay purchased from internet site and submitted as student’s own work;
  • Any second offence.

Minor vs serious is not the same as informal vs formal procedure.

A minor offence may be addressed through the informal procedure, and no penalty applied, or just an admonition (informal warning). Alternatively, a minor offence may be taken through a formal investigation, particularly if the student's mark is to be penalised.

A serious offence will always be subject to a formal investigation.

Minor and serious cases


x-ref to ASQR Appendix G

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