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General Academic Information

Plagiarism

Plagiarism is something that you will hear talked about a lot on The Pre-sessional Programme as it is something that we take very seriously. On the programme, we will be teaching you what plagiarism is, why you must not do it, and how to avoid it.

Very basically, plagiarism is when you hand in a piece of work which is not completely your own, but which you are saying is your own.  This may, for example, be an essay or presentation that someone else has corrected for you, or even written for you (this also includes translation software).  It may be work that includes large sections copied from the internet or books written by other people but which you are pretending is your own work (perhaps by not telling your reader where these sections have come from).  All of these are serious academic offences.

At university you are expected to refer often to the articles, research and books you have read in your own writing, but these references to other people’s work must be used to support your own arguments, and not the other way around.  Essays which include too many references (particularly quotations) can also be plagiarised if there is not enough of your own work or ideas.

International students (and indeed British students) sometimes find it very difficult to express other people’s ideas in their own words, as a paraphrase or a summary, but it is one of the most important skills that you will have to acquire before starting on your degree programme next September.  It is also a learned skill, and therefore one that you can certainly improve and develop with practice.

On this programme, you will be taught how to avoid plagiarism and how best to incorporate other people’s ideas into your own writing and in your own words.  At the beginning of the programme we will ask you to do a ‘Plagiarism Awareness Task’ so that we can assess right at the beginning how much you actually know about plagiarism and the kind of help you need to develop your own referencing skills.  You can find ‘Guidelines to Citing and Referencing’ in Appendix I to help you with this.

When you submit your academic assignments, we will check for plagiarism using software called Turnitin.  Everybody has a very individual style of writing and your tutors will become very familiar with yours.  When marking your assignments, they will therefore be able to detect very easily any work which is not your own. The College Statement on Plagiarism is also given in the above appendix.  You must submit a signed ‘Plagiarism Declaration’ (see appendix I) for each written assignment you submit.

If plagiarism occurs, the following procedures will apply: 

Formative Work         

  • If a student is deemed to have plagiarised to an extent that is 20% or less of the work, the student will lose marks in accordance with the assessment criteria.
  • If the student is deemed to have plagiarised to an extent that is more than 20% of the work, the student will score ‘0’ and will not be permitted to resubmit.  In the next meeting with their personal tutor, the issue of plagiarism will be further discussed and clarified and if necessary further support and instruction will be provided.

Summative Work   

  • If a student is deemed to have plagiarised to an extent that is 20% or less of the work, the student will lose marks in accordance with the assessment criteria.
  • If the student is deemed to have plagiarised in a summative piece of work to an extent that is more than 20% of the work, the student will be asked to attend the English Language Centre’s misconduct board [1]
  • At the ELC misconduct board, if the student is deemed to have plagiarised to an extent that is more than 20% of the work, the student will score ‘0’ . There will be no opportunity to re-submit summative work with a capped mark on this programme, due to the extremely tight time constraints of this programme.

If a student is considered by the marker of the work to have:

  • had external assistance with the work that takes the result beyond what their tutor would consider to be capable of on their own
  • written the work in collusion with another writer
  • paid for an external organisation to do the work for them
  • any other external assistance that goes beyond what permissible within a British University

The English Language Centre has the right to ask the student to demonstrate that it is their work in another format. This may be a discussion on the work with members of the ELC misconduct board and/or it may involve assessing another written piece of writing done under timed conditions. The aim of the above will be for the student to demonstrate to the board that it is their work that was marked.

If the boards are not convinced, they have the right to score the essay as ‘0’. There will be no opportunity to re-submit summative work on this programme, due to the extremely tight time constraints of this programme.

If the student does not agree with the ELC misconduct board in the above circumstances, they have the right to ask for the case to be passed to the University misconduct board.

It is therefore in your own interest right from the beginning of this programme to learn to recognise plagiarism and to avoid it through developing your own referencing skills and learning to summarise, paraphrase and quote correctly.



[1] The 2011-2014 ELC Misconduct board consists of a minimum of two members.  These may include the Deputy Director and any of the Centre’s co-ordinators. Academic tutors may also be present.

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