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Summary

This is a summary of the NCRQ Malpractice Policy. It sets out some of the more important aspects of malpractice, and how to avoid it. For further details, see the full NCRQ Malpractice Policy available under the "Information" tab in the top menu.

Full policy

What is malpractice?

Malpractice can take several forms, and is not just limited to deliberate acts. It can be committed not just by current students but also former students and third parties.

Before you submit any assessment you will be asked to declare that you have read this policy and that you agree that all submitted work is wholly your own. We take this statement extremely seriously, and we will take any false declaration into consideration if evidence of malpractice is uncovered in your assessments.

Examples of the different types of malpractice are given below:

Plagiarism

Plagiarism is the act of taking someone else’s work and passing it off as your own. This includes incorporating either unattributed direct quotations or substantial paraphrasing from the work of others.

It is important to cite all sources whose work has been drawn upon and reference them fully.

Plagiarism can be intentional or inadvertent - but an offence still exists. You cannot use other people’s ideas, words, images or data in your assignment unless you provide full details of your sources. However, using another student’s work is always unacceptable even if this is referenced, and will result in severe academic and professional penalties.

NCRQ takes plagiarism very seriously, and it can attract severe academic penalties which may impact on your professional career.

Examples of plagiarism include:

  • expressing someone else’s ideas without giving a reference. This includes ideas that are quoted directly and those that are expressed in your own words.

  • using somebody’s exact words without quotation marks and a correct reference

  • expressing ideas using some of your own words but neglecting to significantly change the author’s original version.

It is important to be especially careful when taking ideas from internet sources - much of our plagiarism cases come from students who have copied paragraphs from online policies or documentation.

Ignorance of referencing cannot be accepted as a mitigating circumstance, and will be viewed just as seriously as those who intentionally seek to plagiarise.

Tips:

  • Make sure you reference all the external sources that you have used.

  • NCRQ does not require specific academic referencing to be used (e.g. Harvard or Oxford referencing, etc).

  • It should be clear which parts of the work have been copied (e.g. using quotes, a different font, a number reference, etc.), and where it has come from.

The nature of NCRQ assessments will often require sections of guidance documents to be included in assessments. This is quite acceptable - as long as it is referenced.

Collusion

Collusion is when two or more people combine to produce a piece of work for assessment that is passed off as the work of one student alone. It also includes attempts to collude with others.

Sharing ideas is an excellent way to learn, as you can bounce ideas off each other and find alternative points of view. However, copying from other past or present students is never acceptable.

Examples of collusion:

Student A allows student B to copy their work. Both students will have committed malpractice and both will be penalised.

Acceptable:

✔ Asking a student how to approach an assignment

✔ Sharing ideas about how an assessment has been tackled

✔ Asking a student for help understanding a concept

✔ Explaining theoretical principles and advice on general sources

Unacceptable:

✘ Asking for a copy of a completed assessment (regardless of whether it is used)

✘ Giving another student a copy of your completed assessment

✘ Asking another student for feedback from a completed assessment

✘ Giving another student a copy of your assessment feedback

✘ Posting a question (even if edited to change facts) about an assessment on an online forum

Tips:

  • You should be confident that every sentence of your assessment is your own (unless it is a fully referenced quotation) and you should be able to fully explain concepts, if asked, in your validation interview.

  • Do not show your assessments or feedback to others.

  • If you agree to help other students, do so by improving their understanding, not by giving them the answer. Alternatively, tell them to plan in advance and contact their tutor who will be happy to help them.

  • If in doubt, speak to your tutor. You will not be penalised for asking your tutor a question, even if they are not permitted to answer.

The NCRQ Student Support Forum is moderated and considered a “safe space” for advice. You are encouraged to use this as a forum for help and support. If you ask for or give away too much information in this forum, your post will be edited without penalty unless it is a serious or repeated offence.

Cheating

Cheating is any attempt to gain an unfair advantage in an assessment by dishonest or deceptive means.

Examples of cheating include:

• buying material or paying another person to complete an assignment, or using editors, translators or proof-readers who contribute significantly to the content

• forgery, bribery and falsifying data

• commissioning an assessment from a third party

• obtaining assessment material without authorisation

• asking another student for a completed assessment

• impersonation of a student - pretending to be someone else or arranging for another to take one’s place in an assessment or validation interview

• fraudulent claims for reasonable adjustments or special consideration.

Disclosure

Unauthorised disclosure is an example of malpractice that is of particular importance to NCRQ because of the assignment-based approach to assessments.

Disclosure of any assessment brief, assessment material, or assessor feedback, or parts of them, would be an unauthorised disclosure.

This can be of significant consequence to large number of students and require an assessment to be recalled from circulation.

Unauthorised disclosure can also be investigated and sanctions applied to former students and third parties.

Examples of unauthorised disclosure include:

• posting parts of an assessment question on a public forum, including social media such as LinkedIn or Twitter

• emailing a copy of assessor feedback to another student

• offering hints to another student based on assessor feedback

• sharing assessment-specific information on a public forum, including social media such as LinkedIn or Twitter.

Disclosure of assessment material, completed assessments, or assessor feedback - even after you have completed your qualification - is both academic and professional malpractice. In addition to academic sanctions, it is likely to result in a report to the relevant professional bodies (e.g. IOSH) with a request that your membership is withdrawn for professional misconduct.

Detection

NCRQ has various systems in place for the detection of malpractice. This includes the use of plagiarism detection software for all submitted assessments. Tutors and assessors are also trained to identify suspicious activity and validation interviews are conducted to ensure the validity of a student’s work is verified. There is also automated and manual proactive monitoring of social media and online professional forums for assessment discussions.

NCRQ holds copies of all past assessments within our database, and every new assessment is automatically scanned against these. We are able to detect instances of copying, collusion, and plagiarism from assessments that were submitted many years previously. All students should be aware that more than a single sentence copied from another student will be unacceptable, and be particularly careful if they have come to NCRQ through word of mouth from colleagues, partners, friends or family.

Students are welcome to advise the student support team of their connection to another student at any point during their studies. This may help us ensure that differing assessments are provided, so as to reduce the risk of academic malpractice.

Reporting

Any student or third party may report suspected malpractice to NCRQ by contacting their tutor or student support team. All reports will be treated in the strictest of confidence.

All allegations of academic malpractice will be investigated in order to protect the integrity of our qualifications.

Anonymous reports of malpractice will also be acted upon only if there is supporting evidence, or if the nature of the report warrants it.

Sanctions

Sanctions can include, although are not limited to:

  • complete exclusion from the course and any future qualification

  • temporary suspension

  • revoking a previously awarded qualification or unit

  • capping qualification or assessment grades at a pass

  • sharing the findings of the Malpractice Panel with an employer (where the qualification is funded by them), a professional body (egIOSH, IIRSM) with a recommendation to revoke / refuse membership of the grounds of professional misconduct, or exceptionally the police (where clearly attempting to gain a qualification through deception or for copyright theft where disclosing copies of assessment material or tutor comments

  • requiring resubmission of an assessment (requiring the payment of the relevant fee)

  • an extended validation interview with a tutor

  • a formal warning.

If in doubt, speak to your tutor.