Towards consistent penalty decisions for breaches of academic regulations in one UK university

Jude Carroll, Jon Appleton


This paper investigates the extent to which policies and procedures designed to achieve fair, consistent treatment of student plagiarism are effective in one UK university. The
case study uses a model more frequently linked to reliability in assessment decisions to inspect penalty decisions and consider ways of achieving greater consistency. The study
notes activities that are important in achieving greater consistency such as sharing assumptions and information between decision makers, introducing specialist officers, and
restricting penalty choice. The authors describe a tariff system for choosing appropriate penalties and evaluate its potential for future monitoring of decisions. Areas for continued attention are identified in the case study, because fully consistent treatment cannot yet be demonstrated.


plagiarism, punishment tariff, institutional change, higher education policy,

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