Uni tightens procedures after plagiarism inquiry

The University of Buckingham
The University of Buckingham

A university has overhauled its procedures after criticism over its handling of suspected plagiarism.

On Friday, the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) published the findings of an investigation into the University of Buckingham.

The investigation concerned the university’s handling of suspected plagiarism, after plagiarism was spotted in at least 10 per cent of essays submitted in a Legal Skills and Procedure course assessment in October 2013.

The uni decided to treat the matter as poor academic performance, rather than plagiarism, and reduced students’ marks accordingly.

The team found that the decision did not follow the uni’s regulations, where deduction of marks is listed as a penaly for cases of serious academic misconduct.

However, the team found that the uni’s arrangements for dealing with academic misconduct conform to expectations and that it is making positive efforts to help students avaid plagiarism and to detect misconduct.

It recommended that the uni should clarify its policy on the use of anti-pragiarism software and improve its systems relating to the management of academic misconduct.

A University of Buckingham spokesman said: “The university takes the matter of academic misconduct extremely seriously.

“In noting the review team’s various recommendations, we welcome the conclusion that our procedures for academic misconduct are fit for purpose and conform to the expectations of the UK Quality Code, and that we are taking positive steps to educate and help our students to avoid plagiarism.

“The university has completed a full review of its procedures, and will shortly be submitting an action plan to QAA detailing how we are addressing the recommendations.”