Sitting for assessments

Rules, assessment offences and cheating

Your academic success as a student rests on your performance in assessments taken throughout the course of your programme.

It is important therefore that you meet the certain basic standards expected of you during the assessment process. The rules and regulations for assessment are in place to ensure fairness for all students and that University of London examinations maintain their integrity.

Every year however we uncover incidents where students have broken the rules for assessment. The university takes these cases very seriously.

If we receive a report claiming that you have committed an offence, your results for the year will automatically be withheld whilst your case is investigated. Students who are found to be guilty of breaking the rules may receive a penalty, ranging from a warning, through to cancellation of a module, an entire year’s work or, in very serious cases, termination of registration.

You should seek out and remind yourself of the standards you should meet whenever you are approaching assessment. You can do this by:

  • consulting the appropriate sections in the General Regulations, Programme Regulations, Student Guide and Programme Handbook.
  • reading material posted on your programme’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).
  • reading information provided to you with your examination admission notice.

Coursework offences

Writing coursework, whether a small assignment or a large research project, can be a difficult process, requiring focus and planning.

There are challenges to overcome, from identifying the brief, to conducting research, analysing the findings and presenting your written work. That last point – presenting your written work – is of particular importance, but can be given the least amount of attention by students who have not taken the time to understand the importance of referencing.
 

In academic writing, referencing is key
It is crucial that you fully credit the work of others in your written work. If somebody else’s work, appears without full acknowledgement, there is the possibility that you could end up receiving credit for that work. This is dishonest and undermines the integrity of your work. This is plagiarism.
 

Plagiarism
Under the General Regulations plagiarism is the intentional or unintentional use of somebody else’s work, when it is not properly referenced and is therefore presented as your own. Another person’s work includes any source that is published or unpublished, including words, images, diagrams, formulae, audio recordings, computer code, ideas and judgements, discoveries and results.

Plagiarism is an assessment offence.

The majority of plagiarism cases will receive at least a penalty mark of zero, with harsher penalties available for further or particularly serious offences.


Referencing systems
There are a variety of referencing styles available, but they all follow the same basic principles. The differences are largely down to the way in which the references should appear on the page - for example, the Harvard style uses brackets after a quoted passage to inform the reader of the source, while the Vancouver style uses a footnote system.

These are universally recognised and widely used systems. They will not only be important for succeeding in your University of London coursework, but also for preparing you for any academic writing you may do in the future.

Please note: The Harvard style is the most common referencing system, but you should take care to ensure that you are following the specific guidance set out for your programme.


General advice
Some important points of general advice to remember are:

  • Any word for word quotation, no matter how short, should always be placed within quotation marks, or indented, and followed with a clear reference.
  • A reference at the end of a copied passage, without also using quotation marks, is only partial referencing and may still count as plagiarism.
  • Referring to an idea or discovery belonging to another author does require referencing, but not quotation marks, providing that the words are your own.
  • Paraphrasing – that is changing words and phrases so that they do not appear identical to the source, but say the same thing – can still count as plagiarism if not referenced properly.
  • A bibliography alone is probably not enough! Including a list of references at the end of your assignment or project only says that you referred to those sources during your research, nothing more.
  • If you submit the same piece of work, or a significant part of the same piece of work, twice this is considered as ‘self-plagiarism’. This applies equally to work you have previously submitted to the same programme, as well as work submitted to different programmes, institutions or publications in the past. If you make use of your own previous work, you must reference it in the same way you would any other third party source.