Academic Integrity Policy

Approval Date
24 November 2020
Approved By
Chief Executive
Next Review
30 November 2022
Deputy Chief Executive: Academic Delivery
Te Kaihāpai
Baldrige Criteria

Otago Polytechnic Limited (Ltd) is committed to principles of academic integrity and expects that its learners and staff will undertake all assessment tasks with honesty, fairness, respect, and trust. This integrity is essential to the principles of high-quality education and to the reputation of the Otago Polytechnic Ltd.

Cheating is a serious matter and, where proven, will result in disciplinary action. Cheating can take many forms and may occur when a learner compromises academic integrity when completing any academic requirements of Otago Polytechnic Ltd. This may include, but is not restricted to: plagiarism, sitting an examination for someone else, using notes during closed-book examinations, purchasing an essay, receiving notes by cell phone, inventing case studies.

Plagiarism, or the misrepresentation of authorship, is a form of cheating which challenges both learners and academic staff, because it may easily be confused with poor attribution or referencing style: not in itself, evidence of an intention to misrepresent.


1.          Cheating of any kind, if proven, will not be tolerated and may result in disciplinary action.


2.          Learners are expected to follow the principles of academic integrity in all assessment activities and are expected to:

a.         Submit assessments for marking on the basis that they are their own work, or a group’s work, and that the assessment was prepared with integrity.

b.         Acknowledge all sources of information used in the preparation of their assessments  by using the style of referencing required in their Programme Handbook..

c.          Receive academic counselling when cheating is unintended such as an unacknowledged reference.


3.         Academic staff will:

a.         Support learners to reference sources appropriately, providing formative learning opportunities and materials to assist developing an understanding of all aspects of correct referencing.

b.         Follow the process detailed in this policy when they have doubts about the authorship of learner work, on the basis of observed copying or  illicit exchange of information, absent referencing, differences in level of language, recognition of previously published text, or any other indicator.

c.        Ensure serious cheating or repeated plagiarism is managed under Clause 2 of the Learner Discipline policy.

d.       Remain up-to-date with variants of cheating that emerge with technology and changing learner context.


4.          Programme Heads are responsible for ensuring that Programme Handbooks contain the conditions and guidelines regarding authenticity, referencing, plagiarism, copying, cheating, copyright, and that staff remain  up-to-date with variants of cheating that emerge with technology and changing learner context.


5.          Where learners are suspected of cheating a process, as outlined in Standard Operating Procedure 001 will be followed.


6.          The academic staff member will assess the level/amount of suspected cheating, prepare evidence, and discuss with Discipline Head in the first instance.


7.          Where the intention of the learner is considered clearly innocent, the work will be assessed as is. If appropriate, advice on academic integrity may be given by the lecturer to the learner.


8.          Where doubt persists, or the learner is a repeat cheater the evidence and its context should be given to the Head of College/Department by the Discipline Head for review and, depending on the degree of cheating, the matter may be referred to Te Kaihāpai.


9.          A meeting is to be arranged with the learner, learner support person, lecturer and/or Discipline Head and/or Head of College/Department to  present the cheating allegation, evidence and to provide the learner with an opportunity to discuss this.

Where cheating is established, the learner may be instructed to resubmit the assessment if allowed by the programme regulations. Other          actions can include awarding a reduced grade or awarding a failing mark/grade.

Where the cheating is serious, the Head of College/Department must discuss the situation with Te Kaihāpai.


megan gibbons signature

Approved by:
Dr. Megan Gibbons
Chief Executive

Academic Integrity SOP


Minimising plagiarism in an educational context requires the development of a robust policy and a collaborative effort by management, academic staff, and learners to implement and adhere to it. Each group could have specific responsibilities, for example.


  • Develop a policy which clearly defines plagiarism and describes the responsibilities of Otago Polytechnic Ltd’s academic staff and learners
  • Purchase plagiarism detecting software and monitor referencing practices
  • Adopt a specific referencing system such as American Psychological Association (APA) for internal Otago Polytechnic Ltd documents
  • Model appropriate referencing protocols.

Academic Staff:

  • Provide accurate information in the Programme Handbook and facilitate understanding of plagiarism to learners to ensure the long-term benefits of learning how to express information in their own words
  • Provide learners with copies of or hyperlinks to Otago Polytechnic Ltd’s Academic Integrity policy
  • Engage learners in discussions about the institution’s policy
  • Explain the institution’s attitude towards plagiarism
  • Discuss the consequences of plagiarising material, including material from the web
  • Each programme of study should give learners a copy of their programme of study’s guidelines on referencing, explicitly outlining the consequences of plagiarism
  • Make clear the difference between intentional plagiarism and just not properly acknowledging your paraphrased source.
  • Teach learners how to reference both print-based and electronically accessed material
  • Model appropriate academic referencing systems such as APA and show examples where references increased grades.
  • Assign marks to referencing in assessments, reports, etc
  • Reference all sources used in all learning and teaching resources including but not limited to: personal and course handouts, overhead transparencies, and PowerPoint presentations, pictures/images
  • Introduce a peer monitoring system that focuses on referencing  practice
  • Explain the difference between authorised and unauthorised collaboration during assessment activities


  • Know and always observe the rules and expectations regarding the use of other people’s work to ensure the academic integrity of your own work this may include but not limited to quotes and paraphrases from books, reports, newspapers, magazines, journal articles, conference proceeding, brochures, and other learners’ work and the worldwide web.
  • If unsure always refer to the Programme Handbook and guidelines, Academic Integrity Policy, or academic staff member.


At the conclusion of the teaching year, academic staff will be surveyed to report on the incidents of cheating that they have personally observed. What follows is a categorisation of the various incidents reported on the surveys:

This type of cheating was typified by the learner obtaining work from another source.

a. Copying from the web.

b. Sharing one’s work with another learne.r

c. Taking work left on the computer and/or network.

d. Copying from the textbook and associated CD ROM and/or website.

e. Stealing someone else’s work.

f.  Obtaining program code fragments from several sources and putting them together as one programme.

This type of cheating was typified by the learner cheating  in exams:

a. Using cheat sheet(s), lecture notes, and/or textbooks on a closed book exam.

b. Talking in a foreign language during an exam.

c. Using a computer for a programming problem on an exam when the problem was intended to be a paper exercise.

d. Looking at a neighbour’s paper.

e. Printing or e-mailing online test questions when not permitted.

f.  Stealing an exam paper from an academic’s office.


This type of cheating was typified by when learners collaborated to an extent that was forbidden in the assessment.

a. Splitting the work of one (1) assessment among several learners and all submitting the combined work as their own

b. Cooperating on writing computer programs which were meant to be individual effort

c. Receiving professional assistance from off-campus.

d. Swapping assessments.

This type of cheating was typified by the learner attempting to deceive their assessor about their circumstances to achieve an unfair advantage.

a. Obtaining an extension by faking illness

Detecting Plagiarism
There is a range of web-based mechanisms, including Turnitin, which can be used to assist in detecting alleged plagiarism.


Academic Integrity SOP Cheating Flow Chart