Malpractice and Maladministration in Internal Assessments (Honesty and Integrity in Assessment)

Malpractice and Maladministration in Internal Assessments (Honesty and Integrity in Assessment)

Malpractice/Maladministration in Internally Assessed Qualifications

Malpractice, including maladministration and non-compliance involves any deliberate action, neglect, default or other practice that compromises the assessment process or the integrity of an awarding body qualification, or damages the reputation and credibility of the College.

Malpractice incidents may be intentional and aim to give unfair advantage in an exam or assessment situation (deliberate non-compliance). Some may result due to ignorance of awarding body requirements, carelessness or forgetfulness in applying exam or assessment requirements (maladministration). Staff and students should refer to relevant awarding body policy, procedures or guidance on dealing with the malpractice/maladministration of internally assessed qualifications.

If malpractice occurs this could lead to disciplinary action being taken. This Malpractice Policy and Procedures should therefore be read in conjunction with the College’s Disciplinary Policies.

Awarding Body Requirements

To comply with awarding body requirements a system and procedures for recording suspected instances of malpractice must be in place.

This information will be available for awarding body quality assurance activities on request.  In addition, for those qualifications that are subject to statutory regulation by SQA Accreditation or Ofqual, the College is required to report any suspected case of malpractice to the relevant awarding body.

Reporting malpractice/maladministration to awarding bodies

Following an investigation by a curriculum area into alleged malpractice/maladministration, the Depute Principal or a nominated Senior Manager will submit a written report to the awarding body accompanied by the following documentation:

•    A detailed account of the circumstances of the alleged malpractice and details of any investigations carried out

•    Written statements from relevant centre staff, candidates or third parties

•    Any work of the student(s) and internal assessment or verification records relevant to the investigation

•    The investigation findings identifying the nature and implications of any malpractice identified

•    Any remedial action being taken by the College to ensure integrity of certification now and in the future

Student Malpractice

Malpractice by a student in internal assessment could take place during the:

•    preparation and authentication of coursework
•    presentation of practical work
•    compilation of portfolios of internal assessment evidence
•    internal assessment

The following examples of student malpractice are not exhaustive. Staff should be vigilant to other forms of suspected malpractice that could affect the integrity of qualifications.  These can include:

•    Impersonation – pretending to be someone else
•    Plagiarism – failure to acknowledge sources and/or the submission by a student, of another person’s work, claiming it to be their own
•    Collusion with others when an assessment has to be completed individually
•    Copying from another student
•    Presenting inappropriate, offensive, discriminatory or obscene materials as assessment evidence
•    Inappropriate behaviour during an internal assessment that causes disruption to others
•    Interference with or destruction of another student’s work
•    Use of unauthorised items. Physical possession of unauthorised mobile devices, MP 3 players, notes etc

Centre Malpractice/Maladministration

Centre Malpractice, Maladministration and non-compliance in relation to internal assessments can include:

•    Unfair discrimination in assessment on grounds of: Age, Disability, Gender reassignment, Marriage and civil partnership, Pregnancy and maternity, Race, Religion and belief, Sex (Gender) or Sexual orientation and failure to make reasonable adjustments for access to assessment
•    Misuse of assessments, including inappropriate adjustments to assessment materials, processes or assessment decisions
•    Excessive over-direction or collusion with students on how to meet national standards
•    Insecure storage of assessment instruments and specimen answers
•    Unauthorised copying or distributing of exams or assessments
•    Failure to assess or internally verify in accordance with awarding body requirements
•    Failure to record results on completion of assessments
•    Failure to comply with the internal Retention of Evidence and Assessment Records Policy
•    Failure to comply with awarding body procedures for maintenance of accurate assessment records
•     Failure to comply with awarding body procedures for managing and transferring accurate student data
•    Deliberate falsification of college Records of Achievement (RoA) or results data

Retention of Malpractice/Maladministration records

Normally records and documentation of Malpractice/Maladministration must be retained for three years.  However, where there is an appeal to an Awarding Body the timescale is extended to five years.  Records must include:

•    A report containing a statement of the facts, a detailed account of the circumstances of the alleged malpractice, maladministration or non-compliance and details of any investigations carried out by the Associate Principal or Curriculum Manager
•    Written statements from staff and students involved
•    Internal assessment and verification records related to the investigation
•    Details of any actions the College will take to prevent similar instances occurring in the future

Where the alleged malpractice/maladministration may have involved any criminal activity the Police should be informed and they may conduct their own investigations. A decision to contact the Police will be made by the College Principalship.  However, if an internal investigation involves a criminal prosecution or civil claim all records and documentation should be retained for five years after the case and any appeal has been heard.

Procedures for Dealing with Allegations of Student Malpractice

The procedures for handling student malpractice allegations involve the following stages:

Stage 1 – Allegation and college response

If a staff member suspects student malpractice they must:

•    Bring it to the attention of a College Manager
•    Provide a full account of the allegation of malpractice on the Student Assessment Malpractice 1 (M1S) form
•    Pass the completed Student Assessment Malpractice 1 (M1S) form with accompanying evidence to the relevant Faculty Associate Principal

The completed M1S form and the evidence of suspected student malpractice will be reviewed by the Faculty Associate Principal who will decide on the appropriate course of action and if required will appoint an investigating Curriculum Manager.

The review must be concluded and the review decision conveyed to all parties involved in the allegation within 2 working days of receipt of the student malpractice allegation.

In the case of an investigation taking place the relevant Curriculum Manager will:

•    Confirm students are aware of college policies on malpractice and student discipline, their responsibilities, and their rights during any investigation into alleged malpractice
•    Ensure student results are not processed during the course of any investigation and possible appeal
•    Apply appropriate action when a case of suspected student malpractice has been upheld
•    Review future practice of internal quality assurance procedures to minimise the risk of further malpractice taking place

Stage 2 – Investigation

Any investigation of an alleged student malpractice should:

•    Be carried out by the investigating Curriculum Manager within 5 working days of receipt of an Associate Principal’s decision to investigate the alleged malpractice
•    Identify and, if necessary, take action to minimise the risk to current students and requests for certification
•    Complete the Student Malpractice Investigation Report (M2S) including:
•    A detailed account of the circumstances of the alleged malpractice; a record of discussions conducted with students and/or staff; details of how the investigation was conducted; the findings of the investigation and recommendations including any remedial action taken to protect the integrity of the College
•    Attach any written statements gathered from staff and students
•    Attach any work of the students and internal assessment or verification records relevant to the investigation
•    Identify evidence to support any recommended actions
•    Pass the completed Student Malpractice Investigation Report (M2S) and supporting evidence to the Faculty Associate Principal

Stage 3 – Report and decision

Within 5 working days of receipt of the completed Student Malpractice Investigation Report (M2S) the Associate Principal will record their decision on the Student Malpractice Investigation Report (M2S) identifying any:

•    remedial action, or
•    disciplinary action as outlined in the Student Disciplinary Policy and Procedures

Stage 4 – Communicating the decision

Within 5 working days of making a decision on the findings of the investigation the Faculty Associate Principal will inform all parties involved including the Depute Principal of the outcome in writing.

Stage 5 – Appeals against student malpractice decisions

All appeals against malpractice decisions will be conducted through the Student Disciplinary Policy and Procedures.

Procedures for Dealing with Allegations of Centre Malpractice

The procedures for handling centre malpractice or maladministration allegations involve the following stages:

Stage 1 – Allegation and college response

If a staff member suspects centre malpractice/maladministration they must:

•    Bring it to the attention of a College Manager
•    Provide a full account of the allegation of malpractice/maladministration on a Centre Assessment Malpractice/Maladministration (M1C) form
•    Pass the completed Centre Assessment Malpractice/Maladministration (M1C) form with accompanying evidence to the relevant Faculty Associate Principal

The completed M1C form and the evidence of suspected centre malpractice/maladministration will be reviewed by the Associate Principal who will decide on the appropriate course of action. The Associate Principal may:

•    Initiate an investigation in accordance with the College malpractice procedures, ensuring the investigation is independent and avoids any conflicts of interest
•    Withhold the issuing of certificates until the outcome of the investigation has been completed

The review must be concluded and the review decision conveyed to all parties involved in the allegation within 2 working days of receipt of the centre malpractice allegation.

Stage 2 – Investigation

Any investigation of an alleged centre malpractice/maladministration should:

•    Be carried out by the Associate Principal within 5 working days of the decision to investigate the alleged Centre malpractice
•    Identify and, if necessary take action to minimise the risk to current students and requests for certification
•    Complete the Centre Malpractice/Maladministration Investigation Report (M2C) including:
•    A detailed account of the circumstances of the alleged malpractice; a record of discussions conducted with students and/or staff; details of how the investigation was conducted; the findings of the investigation and recommendations including any remedial action taken to protect the integrity of the College
•    Attach any written statements gathered from personnel relevant to the investigation
•    Identify and attach any further evidence relevant to the investigation
•    Identify and attach evidence to support any recommended actions

Stage 3 – Report and decision

Within 5 working days of concluding the investigation of alleged centre malpractice/maladministration, the Associate Principal will:

•    Determine appropriate action to be taken
If a recommendation is to consider staff discipline the Associate Principal will:
•    Pass the completed Centre Malpractice/Maladministration Investigation Report (M2C) and supporting evidence to the Depute Principal for action

Stage 4 – Communicating the Decision

Within 5 working days of making a decision on the findings from their investigation the Faculty Associate Principal will inform all parties including the Depute Principal of the outcome in writing.

Stage 5 – Appeals against Malpractice Decisions

All appeals against centre malpractice decisions will be conducted through the Staff Disciplinary Policy and Procedures.

Summary Timeline

Stage     Next Stage
1. Allegation and college response A review resulting in either no further action or passed on for investigation within 2 days of receiving the allegation Investigation
2. Investigation To be carried out by the appropriate person within 5 working days of the review decision being reached and communicated. Investigation Report
3. Report and decision Complete the appropriate Investigation Report (M2S/M2C) Communicating the decision
4. Communicating the decision Decision to be communicated to all parties concerned within 5 working days of the completion of the investigation. Appeals
5. Appeals Via either Student Disciplinary Policy and Procedures or Staff Disciplinary Policy and Procedures Communicate with Awarding Body/s
6. Communicating with awarding Body/s If applicable a written report will be submitted to the Awarding Body concerned by the Depute Principal or a nominated Senior Manager