In 2022, TEQSA investigated complaints about several providers’ handling of academic integrity matters.
TEQSA expects that providers maintain vigilance over academic integrity across all areas of educational operations, including admissions, delivery, assessment and credentialling of graduates. Further, providers are expected to take a proactive approach to identify risks or breaches to integrity and take action to mitigate these risks and prevent recurrence of identified breaches.
The HES Framework requires providers to take action to mitigate risks to academic integrity:
- standards 1.4.3 and 1.4.4 require providers to ensure that methods of assessment can confirm that specified learning outcomes have been achieved, and that upon completion of their course, students have demonstrated all learning outcomes prescribed for their course.
- section 5.2 requires providers to implement procedures and policies that uphold academic integrity and address misconduct or allegations of misconduct. Preventative action must be taken to mitigate foreseeable risks or to prevent the recurrence of identified breaches. Guidance on integrity must be provided to students, and providers are responsible for ensuring that third-party delivery of teaching does not compromise academic integrity.
- standard 6.2.1 requires that the corporate governing body of a provider ensures that qualifications are awarded legitimately.
- standards 6.3.1 and 6.3.2 require that processes and structures are established, and responsibilities assigned, to achieve effective academic governance and oversight which will ensure the quality of teaching, learning and research.
Our review focused on providers’ academic integrity policy and procedure suites, and how these were implemented in practice.
Our review identified the following themes:
- failure to take adequate action when academic misconduct was identified, e.g. the imposition of penalties
- poorly documented and opaque practices for adjusting marks, particularly from fail to pass grades
- lack of systematic recording of academic integrity breaches and limited evidence that governing entities were regularly reviewing changes to academic integrity settings
- inadequate implementation of technology solutions as barriers to plagiarism.
What providers can do
We encourage providers to:
- implement and maintain thorough records of academic integrity breaches and engage in regular data analysis to mitigate academic integrity risks
- review aggregate trends in academic cheating and integrity matters regularly at the academic and/or corporate board level, ensuring that approaches are consistent, proportionate and effectively tailored to current integrity threats
- ensure that academic integrity policies are easily accessible and that integrity content is embedded throughout courses of study
- identify underlying causes of academic integrity breaches and provide additional support to students where needed
- ensure that software used to detect plagiarism is used systematically to authenticate student submissions and that relevant staff are trained to assess the authenticity of student work
- develop and implement clear rules, delegations and documentation protocols for moderation processes, especially for cases where moderation results in the upgrade of a fail grade to a pass.
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