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Section 9: Student Academic Misconduct Procedure

Published for 2019-20



9.1 Introduction and Scope of Application9.4 Procedures
9.2 Definitions9.5 Appeals Process
9.3 Adjudication and Penalty Guidance 

9.1 Introduction and Scope of Application

1.The Student Academic Misconduct procedure sets out how UCL will investigate and penalise any conduct which is considered to breach UCL’s assessment regulations and which is likely to give an unfair advantage to the candidate and/ or affect the security of assessments and/ or affect the integrity of the degrees awarded by UCL. 
 Scope
2.These procedures apply to all current and former taught students of UCL, including Undergraduates, Taught Postgraduates and Postgraduate Research Students when undertaking taught elements.
3.All instances of Research Misconduct, whether by taught students, research students or members of staff will be investigated under UCL’s Procedure for Investigating and Resolving Allegations of Misconduct in Academic Research.
4.These procedures apply to all methods of assessment and to both summative and formative assessment.
5.Incoming Intercollegiate and Affiliate students are normally subject to the procedures at their home institution. If UCL identifies Academic Misconduct, the information will be shared with the home institution.
6.UCL students studying modules at other institutions are subject to the host institution's Academic Misconduct procedures. The host institution should provide UCL with information on any cases of Academic Misconduct committed by a UCL student, including the penalty imposed. Resulting issues of progression and award on the UCL degree should be decided by the relevant UCL Board of Examiners.
7.Students studying at another institution with a formal Academic Partnership with UCL are subject to the procedures as outlined in the individual Memorandum of Agreement.
8.Wherever in the procedures a holder of office is referred to, or where there is an obvious conflict of interest, the words 'or their nominee' are to be understood.
9.Where the procedures refer to the ‘Department’, this should be taken to also mean any departmental equivalents within UCL’s organisation structures, such as Division or Institute, and Departmental Tutor and Departmental Panel should be interpreted accordingly.
10.Where the procedures refer to the Departmental Tutor, this may be delegated to the Programme Leader or Exam Board Chair.
11.Students may seek advice on their case or the procedures from the Students' Union UCL Advice Service.
12.Where successful completion of a programme of study will lead to part or full professional accreditation, membership of a professional body, or the right to practise professionally, UCL retains the rights to notify the relevant professional body and/or any UCL fitness to practise officer or panel to which such power has been delegated, of any proven Academic Misconduct.
 Guiding Principles
13.In considering allegations of Academic Misconduct adjudicators should apply “on the balance of probabilities” as the standard of proof.
14.Where allegations of suspected Academic Misconduct are being investigated, Departments should, where possible, check all available summative work the student has submitted within the same assessment period.
15.Under no circumstances during any stage of the Academic Misconduct procedure will a student be granted an additional attempt at assessment beyond those normally permitted.
16.In investigating allegations of Academic Misconduct adjudicators can make use of TurnItIn software and submit the work of the student to it.
17.If, after investigation, no case of Academic Misconduct is found against a student, no record will be kept on the student’s official record. Where a student is found to have committed Academic Misconduct, this will be placed on their official record.

9.2 Definitions

1.Academic Misconduct is defined as any action or attempted action that may result in a student obtaining an unfair academic advantage. For the purposes of this procedure this includes, but will not necessarily be restricted to, the following:
 a)Examination Room Misconduct, including:
  
  • i. The use or possession of unauthorised books, notes, software, electronic devices, paper, or other materials in an examination other than those permitted in Chapter 4, Section 4: Examinations.
  • ii. The unauthorised marking or annotation of any materials authorised for use in an examination (such as the Candidate Card Printout), or writing notes on hands, or other parts of the body.
  • iii. Reading or writing before the start of the examination (with the exception of student information on the answer book front cover and examination envelope), or writing after the one minute allowance has passed.
  • iv. The unauthorised removal of an examination script or stationery in any state from the examination room except by a person with the designated authority.
  • v. Any attempt to confer with or gain access to the script of any other candidate during the period of the examination.
  • vi. Any attempt to gain access to or tamper with examination envelopes, answer books, question papers or other examination stationery before or after submission.
  • vii. Removing oneself from the examination room during the period of an examination without permission from a member of staff.
  • viii. Impersonation or attempted impersonation of a candidate or soliciting or attempt to solicit such impersonation.
  • ix. Committing plagiarism or self-plagiarism.
  • x. Causing a disturbance or disrupting the examination process
  • xi. Any other behaviour that can reasonably be considered to have given a candidate an unfair advantage.
 b)Plagiarism: defined as the representation of other people’s work or ideas as the student’s own without appropriate referencing or acknowledgement. 
 c)Self-Plagiarism: defined as the reproduction or resubmission of a student’s own work which has been submitted for assessment at UCL or any other institution. This does not include earlier formative drafts of the particular assessment.
 d)Collusion: defined as the unauthorised collaboration by two or more students on any assessment.
 e)Any attempt to gain access to the assessed coursework of any other candidate with or without the knowledge of the other candidate, unless authorisation to do so has been given by the module convenor.
 f)Falsification: defined as the fraudulent creation, alteration or misrepresentation of data, or any other information.
 g)Contract Cheating: defined as commissioning a piece of assessment to be carried out by a third party, with the intention of submitting it as if it were the student’s own.
 h)Falsification of Extenuating Circumstances.
 i)Any conduct that is likely to affect the security of assessments.
 j)Any other conduct that would give an unfair academic advantage to a student.
2.For the purposes of this procedure, the following will not be considered Academic Misconduct:
 a)Poor Academic Practice: Where it is established that the student has not yet received teaching or guidance on Academic Misconduct and the use of referencing protocols, instances of plagiarism may be considered under the Poor Academic Practice procedures in 9.4.1.
 b)Language and Writing review: defined as having a third-party check areas of academic writing such as structure, fluency, presentation, grammar, spelling, and punctuation. However, this may be considered Academic Misconduct if substantive changes to content have been made by the reviewer or at their recommendation, which would suggest that the reviewer had either produced or determined the substantive content of the submission.

9.3 Adjudication and Penalty Guidance

1.The following guidance indicates who should adjudicate the offence being considered, and the penalties that are within scope.
2.The choice of penalty from within the permitted range will be a matter of academic judgment left to the discretion of the adjudicating body.
3.Academic Misconduct will be considered a second offence if a penalty has already been received for any prior offence which has taken place during the degree programme on which the student is registered.
4.“Component” in the guidance below refers to a Component as defined in Chapter 2, Section 3.1.1: Components.
 Clicking the image or link below will open the full Adjudication and Penalty Guidance Table:
Thumbnail of Chapter 6 - Penalty Table

9.4 Procedures

9.4.1 Module Convenor - Poor Academic Practice

1.Where the Module Convenor is presented with evidence of the representation of work or ideas as the student’s own without appropriate referencing or acknowledgement, they must determine whether this amounts to Plagiarism or Poor Academic Practice with reference to 9.2.2 above.
2.Where the Module Convenor deems the evidence to amount to Poor Academic Practice, they must take the following action to address this:
 i)Require the student to undertake UCL’s Introduction to Academic Integrity course; and
 ii)Require the student to meet with the Departmental Tutor, Departmental Graduate Tutor or Programme Leader to discuss the Poor Academic Practice and receive warning that any further instances of Poor Academic Practice would be deemed to amount to Academic Misconduct and penalised as outlined in 9.3; and
 iii)Require the student to present the work in question with corrections to address all of the Poor Academic Practice. If the student fails to present such work the matter will be dealt with as one of plagiarism. Presenting the corrected work will not count as another assessment ‘attempt’. The original mark awarded to the work prior to the corrections being made will stand but will only be entered formally on the record once the corrected version of the work has been presented.
 iv)Ensure that the Poor Academic Practice is recorded on the module minutes in Portico.

9.4.2 Module Convenor - Standard Procedure

1.Where an allegation of Academic Misconduct is initially made, the Module Convenor must first determine the appropriate Adjudication process as outlined in 9.3.
2.Determination of the extent of plagiarised material is a matter of academic judgment to be made by the Module Convenor. TurnItIn reports will be relevant but not conclusive evidence in this regard.
3.Where the matter falls within the adjudication scope of the Module Convenor and, after investigation, Academic Misconduct is found to have been committed, the Module Convenor will apply the penalty indicated in the Adjudication and Penalty Guidance table (see 9.3 above).
4.Where the penalty imposed would prevent the progression or award of a student the misconduct must be referred to a Departmental Panel.
5.The Module Convenor should formally notify the student of the decision, or that the case has been referred onto a Departmental Panel, within 10 working days of the allegation being made.
6.Where a penalty is applied, the Module Convenor must ensure that this is recorded on the module minutes in Portico.
7.Where the matter falls outside the adjudication scope of the Module Convenor, the Module Convenor must refer the case to either the Departmental Tutor, a Departmental Panel, or the Academic Misconduct Panel, as prescribed in Section 9.3.
8.In referring a case onto the Departmental Tutor, Departmental Panel, or Academic Misconduct Panel for consideration, the Module Convenor must send the following:
 i)An Academic Misconduct Report Form, with Parts 1 and 2 completed (see annex 6.1);    
 ii)A copy of the affected assessment, where applicable annotated or highlighted to identify the extent of the Academic Misconduct.
 iii)Any other evidence relevant to the case.
9.Students may appeal against the decision of the Module Convenor under the procedures outlined under 9.5 Appeals Process.

9.4.3 Departmental Tutor – Standard Procedure

1.Where the matter falls within the adjudication scope of the Departmental Tutor and, after investigation, Academic Misconduct is found to have been committed, the Departmental Tutor or their nominee will apply the penalty indicated in the Adjudication and Penalty Guidance table (see 9.3 above), unless the penalty imposed would prevent the progression or award of a student, in which case the misconduct must be referred to a Departmental Panel.
2.Where the penalty imposed would prevent the progression or award of a student the misconduct must be referred to a Departmental Panel.
3.The Departmental Tutor should formally notify the student of the decision, or that the case has been referred onto a Departmental Panel, within 10 working days of the allegation being made.
4.Where a penalty is applied, the Departmental Tutor must ensure that this is recorded on the module minutes in Portico.
5.In referring a case onto a Departmental Panel or the Academic Misconduct Panel for consideration, the Departmental Tutor must send the following:
 i)An Academic Misconduct Report Form, with Parts 1 and 2 completed (see annex 6.1);
 ii)A copy of the affected assessment, where applicable annotated or highlighted to identify the extent of the Academic Misconduct.
 iii)Any other evidence relevant to the case.
6.Students may appeal against the decision of the Departmental Tutor under the procedures outlined under 9.5 Appeals Process.

9.4.4 Departmental Panel

1.Where a case of Academic Misconduct is referred to a Departmental Panel, the Chair of the Board of Examiners for the module concerned should appoint a secretary from the same Department, who will be responsible for all communications, completion of Part 3 of the Academic Misconduct Report Form, circulation of documentary evidence, and organisation of the panel.
2.The Secretary must provide the student with the following:
 i)A copy of all documentary evidence relating to the case;
 ii)Part 1 of the Academic Misconduct Report Form;
 iii)A link to these Student Academic Misconduct Procedures;
 iv)An invitation to the Departmental Panel, outlining the date, time, and location;
 v)A request to the student to submit a statement, which must be received no later than two working days before the Departmental Panel;
 vi)A statement confirming that the student may bring a ‘friend’ who must be a member of staff at UCL, Students’ Union Advisor, or a student currently registered at UCL. The person may be legally qualified but they will not be acting in a legal capacity. The person must not be a member of the Academic Misconduct decision or panel procedure.
3.A Departmental Panel should be organised within four working weeks of the student being informed of the alleged Academic Misconduct, unless either of the following applies: 
 i)There are reasonable circumstances that make this impractical, in which case the student must be kept informed of this; or
 ii)The student has reasonable grounds to request a postponement of the panel hearing to a later date.
4.The Departmental Panel should be constituted as follows:
 i)Chair of the Board of Examiners owning the affected module (acting as Chair); and  
 ii)At least two other members of staff from the Department not directly involved in the teaching of the affected module(s);
 iii)Where possible, the Faculty Tutor, the Faculty Graduate Tutor, or their nominee, will be invited to act as an observer;
 iv)Where the affected module is delivered by a Department other than the student’s own, the Chair of the Board of Examiners for the student’s Home Department or their nominee.
5.The quorum for the Departmental Panel must be three including the Chair.
6.The Secretary must provide to the panel all documentary evidence and statements relating to the case. 
7.There must be no communication in relation to the allegations, either written or oral, between the Departmental Panel and either the student or the member(s) of staff involved in the affected module.
8.The purpose of the Departmental Panel will be to investigate the grounds on which the allegation has been made; decide, on the balance of probabilities, whether Academic Misconduct has occurred and, if so, determine which penalty to impose as per the Adjudication and Penalty Guidance table (see 9.3 above).
9.Where a penalty is imposed on a student, the following action must also be taken:
 i)Require the student to undertake UCL’s Introduction to Academic Integrity course and
 ii)Require the student to meet with the Departmental Tutor, Departmental Graduate Tutor or Programme Leader, to discuss the Academic Misconduct and receive warning that any further instances of Academic Misconduct may have severe consequences as outlined in 9.3.
10.The Secretary should inform the student of the Departmental Panel decision informally within one working day of the hearing, send formal notification including Part 4 of the Academic Misconduct Report Form within one working week and record this on the module minutes in Portico. 
11.Students may appeal against the decision of the Departmental Panel under the procedures outlined under 9.5 Appeals Process.

9.4.5 Departmental Panel – Contract Cheating

1.Where there is suspicion of Contract Cheating, the Chair of the Departmental Panel may, with the approval of the Faculty Tutor, initiate an investigatory viva to establish authorship.
2.The student should be informed that there is an allegation of Contract Cheating and be invited to an investigatory viva as soon as practicable, consideration being given to the timing of the student’s other assessments.
3.The viva should be conducted by the Departmental Panel which should inform the student whether or not the case will proceed within five working days of the viva taking place.
4.If prima facie evidence of lack of authorship is found to exist, the Departmental Panel must forward all of the relevant documentation to the Secretary of the Academic Misconduct Panel to be considered under the Academic Misconduct Panel procedures (see 9.4.7 below).

9.4.6 Academic Misconduct Panel – Examination Misconduct special procedure 

1.Where an allegation of Examination Misconduct is made, UCL Examinations or the Department organising the examination must provide the Academic Misconduct Panel Secretary with the following: 
 i)For centrally-organised examinations, the Supervisor Report Form.
 ii)For Departmentally-organised examinations, an Academic Misconduct Report Form, with Parts 1 and 2 completed (see annex 6.1);
 iii)A student statement, taken at the time the misconduct is found;
 iv)A supervisor statement, taken at the time the misconduct is found;
 v)Any other evidence relevant to the case;
2.All cases of Examination Misconduct will be considered under the Academic Misconduct Panel procedures (see 9.4.8 below), with the exception of the following minor Examination Hall Misconduct which will result in the student being issued with a Hall Warning:
 i)Opaque pencil cases or staplers;
 ii)Food, hot drinks, alcoholic drinks or carbonated drinks (except on medical grounds with prior approval);
 iii)Use of an E-cigarette;
 iv)Use of ear plugs (except UCL-issued ear plugs provided on medical grounds with prior approval);
 v)Wearing of headgear (except on religious grounds).
3.In consultation with the Director of Academic Services, some cases of Examination Misconduct may be considered to be of a minor or technical nature, and under those circumstances will not be considered under the Academic Misconduct Panel Procedures.
4.The Academic Misconduct Panel Secretary will inform the student of this, and remind the student they must strictly to observe the examination regulations.

9.4.7 Academic Misconduct Panel 

1.Where a case of Academic Misconduct is referred to an Academic Misconduct Panel, the Secretary of the Academic Misconduct Panel (appointed by the Registrar, Student & Registry Services) will be responsible for all communications, circulation of documentary evidence, and organisation of the panel.
2.The Secretary must provide the student with the following:
 i) A copy of all documentary evidence relating to the case;
 ii)Where applicable, Part 1 of the Academic Misconduct Report Form;
 iii)A link to these Student Academic Misconduct Procedures;
 iv)An invitation to the Academic Misconduct Panel, outlining the date, time, and location;
 v)A request to submit a statement, which must be received no later than two working days before the Academic Misconduct Panel;
 vi)A statement confirming that the student may bring a ‘friend’ who must be a member of staff at UCL, Students’ Union Advisor, or a student currently registered at UCL. The person may be legally qualified but they will not be acting in a legal capacity. The person must not be a member of the Academic Misconduct decision or panel procedure.
3.The student’s statement, with any other information provided by the student, will be sent to the Chair of the Board of Examiners for the module concerned, who will be invited to reply to any points raised in the statement which have not been covered in the information so far received by the Secretary.
4.An Academic Misconduct Panel should be organised within four working weeks of the student being informed of the alleged Academic Misconduct, unless either of the following applies:
 i)There are reasonable circumstances that make this impractical, in which case the student must be kept informed of this; or 
 ii)The student has reasonable grounds to request a postponement of the panel hearing to a later date.
5.The Academic Misconduct Panel should be constituted as follows:
 i)The Pro Vice-Provost (Student Experience) who shall be Chair of the Panel. The Chair may delegate to a nominee and must do so if the case involves a student from the chair’s faculty; and
 ii)A Faculty Tutor or Faculty Graduate Tutor nominated by the Chair of the Panel who should neither be from any Department involved nor Chair of any Board of Examiners involved, unless it is determined that the disciplinary expertise is required on the panel; and
 iii) A Sabbatical Officer of the Students' Union UCL and
 iv)The Director of UCL Academic Services or his/her nominee.
6.The quorum for the Academic Misconduct Panel must be three including the Chair.
7.The Secretary must provide to the panel all documentary evidence relating to the case.
8.There must be no communication in relation to the allegations, either written or oral, between the Academic Misconduct Panel and either the student or the member(s) of staff involved in the affected module. Any such communication by any party directly with members of the Academic Misconduct Panel will not be admitted as part of the case documentation.
9.An audio recording of the hearing will be taken for the purpose of providing a factual record in the event of the hearing going to appeal.
10.The purpose of the Academic Misconduct Panel will be to investigate the grounds on which the allegation has been made, decide on the balance of probabilities whether Academic Misconduct has occurred and, if so, determine which penalty to impose as per the Adjudication and Penalty Guidance table (see 9.3 above).
11.Where a penalty other than expulsion is imposed on a student, the following action must also be taken:
 i)Require the student to undertake UCL’s Introduction to Academic Integrity course and
 ii)Require the student to meet with the Department to discuss the Academic Misconduct and receive warning that any further instances of Academic Misconduct may have severe consequences as outlined in 9.3. 
12.The Secretary should inform the student of the Academic Misconduct Panel decision informally within one working day of the hearing, send formal notification including Part 4 of the Academic Misconduct Report Form within one working week and record this on the module minutes in Portico.
13.Students may appeal against the decision of the Academic Misconduct Panel under the procedures outlined under 9.5 Appeals Process.

9.5 Appeals Process

1.An appeal against an Academic Misconduct decision will only be heard if it is based on one or more of the following grounds:
 i)The decision or panel process was not conducted in accordance to the procedures;
 ii)Fresh evidence has become available which was not available and could not reasonably be available for consideration during the decision or panel process.
2.Students must, within 10 working days of receiving formal notification of the decision, send notification to appeal to the Casework Team (casework@ucl.ac.uk), providing all documentation regarding the appeal, any statements they wish to make, and the grounds on which the appeal is being made.
3.No further communications will be accepted for consideration under an appeal after 10 working days of the contested decision being made.
4.As soon as is practicable after receipt of such notification the Casework Team should present the documentation relevant to the appeal to the Chair of the UCL Academic Misconduct Appeals Panel who will decide on the evidence available whether or not the appeal should be taken forward, and notify the Casework Team to that effect, normally within 10 working days of receipt of the documentation.
5.If it is decided not to proceed with the appeal, the Casework Team will inform the student of the decision of the Chair of the Appeals Panel, giving reasons, normally within five working days of receiving it.
6.Where an appeal is being made against a Module Convenor decision, and it is decided that the appeal will be taken forward, the Casework Team must refer the case back to a Departmental Panel to be considered again under the process outlined in 9.4.4 above.
7.Where the appeal is being made against a Departmental Panel decision or Academic Misconduct Panel decision and it is decided that the appeal will be taken forward, the Casework Team will inform the student and make the necessary arrangements for the appeal to be held as early as possible, and in any case within three calendar months of receipt of the notification of intention to appeal. The student will be notified of the date of the appeal and will be invited to attend, accompanied by a ‘friend’ (see paragraph 9.5.2.4 above).
8.The constitution of an Appeals Panel should be as follows:
 i)the Chair of the UCL Education Committee, or their nominee, who should be Chair of the Appeals Panel; and
 ii)two members of academic staff to be nominated by the Chair of Academic Board; and
 iii)a Students' Union UCL Sabbatical Officer or nominee.
9.Members of the Appeals Panel must not have been involved in the decision or panel process against whose decision the appeal is made, nor a member of any Department involved, nor have assisted the student in any way with the presentation of their case at any stage.
10.The Chair of the Appeals Panel must be different to the Chair of the original decision or panel process under consideration e.g. where the Pro Vice-Provost (Student Experience) chaired the original panel, they must nominate a different chair for the Appeals Panel)
11.The quorum for the Appeals Panel is three including the Chair.
12.The Secretary of the Appeals Panel will be appointed by the Registrar, Student & Registry Services, and must not have acted in any decision or panel process being appealed. 
13.The Registrar, Student & Registry Services, may also appoint a representative to act as an observer during the proceedings of the Appeals Panel and to provide the Panel with all relevant information relating to the student’s academic position.
14.The Chair of the original Panel or their nominee will also be invited to attend the Appeal hearing as a witness.
15.The Appeals Panel and all other parties should receive a statement of the grounds for appeal and a copy of the Report of the original proceedings and any other evidence relevant to the allegations in question as is considered appropriate.
16.A sound recording will be made by UCL of each hearing for the purpose of providing a factual record in the event of the matter going to further appeal with the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA).
17.An Appeals Panel has power to reverse or modify the decision appealed in any way that it thinks fit.
18.In reaching its decision an Appeals Panel should take into consideration the evidence provided.
19.The decision of an Appeals Panel must be reached by a majority vote of the members of the Panel and announced as the decision of the Panel. 
20.The votes of individual Panel members must always be treated as confidential and there must be no disclosure either of individual votes or of information showing whether the decision was reached by a unanimous or a majority vote.
21.The Panel may adjourn for a period not exceeding seven days for the purpose of deciding upon the appropriate action to be taken upon the appeal.
22.Within 10 working days of the conclusion of the hearing the Appeals Panel should notify the Casework Team, in writing, of the outcome of the appeal. The Casework Team will in turn notify all parties of the decision of the Appeals Panel and the decision will be included in an annual report on its proceedings submitted to UCL Education Committee.
23.A decision of an Appeals Panel will be final as far as internal UCL procedures are concerned.
24.Any further appeal must be made via the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA), via their website (http://www.oiahe.org.uk).