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8.1 Understanding academic integrity

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Academic integrity requires academic responsibilities to be approached in an honest, moral and ethical way. Schools, teachers, parents/carers and others who support students in their learning — including the QCAA — are responsible for promoting and maintaining academic integrity. The QCAA recognises that schools and their staff act with integrity and uphold high standards of professional conduct in adhering to the procedures and guidelines in this handbook.

Schools promote academic integrity when they:

  • emphasise the importance of ethical academic conduct and scholarship
  • develop school processes to support sound academic practice
  • ensure teachers, students and parents/carers have a clear shared understanding of expectations and responsibilities for maintaining academic integrity
  • implement programs to improve students’ academic skills
  • explicitly teach the use of appropriate processes and materials in academic work, including an understanding of ownership of information, ideas and images and critical and responsible use of artificial intelligence (AI)
  • communicate the consequences and implications of academic misconduct clearly throughout the school community, with explicit reference to the use of AI.

When students genuinely demonstrate their learning, they achieve results based on their own work and effort. These results may lead to benefits such as lifelong learning, certification, employment, university entry or awards.

8.1.1 Responsibilities for promoting academic integrity

Schools are responsible for fostering a learning environment that encourages mutual trust and respect. In doing so, schools develop processes for teaching, learning and assessment and develop an assessment policy (see Section 8.4: Developing a school assessment policy).


  • develop and regularly review school assessment policies and procedures ensuring alignment with QCAA policies and other relevant guidelines about the responsible use of AI
  • ensure that assessment implementation maintains the integrity of assessment at all times and in all cases — including the use of flexible delivery options and AARA in situations affecting individual students, or development of comparable assessment
  • consistently apply policies to develop academic integrity and minimise academic misconduct
  • develop assessment that expects students to demonstrate knowledge and skills, and enables authentication of their own individual student work
  • decide on a style of referencing to be used for student responses and explicitly teach this style of referencing to students
  • model academic integrity, e.g. by practising appropriate research, suitable use of AI, referencing, and adherence to copyright laws as a school community
  • communicate the school’s expectations for academic integrity and policies for academic misconduct clearly to students and parents/carers
  • use QCAA-developed resources and school-developed programs to help students and teachers understand the importance of academic integrity.

8.1.2 Understanding academic misconduct

Academic misconduct incorporates a broad range of behaviours by which students inappropriately and falsely demonstrate their learning. Schools are responsible for managing school-based processes and consequences through a school-developed assessment policy when there is evidence of academic misconduct in internal assessment (see Section 8.4: Developing a school assessment policy). Schools should use proactive strategies to minimise opportunities for academic misconduct.

The types of misconduct and examples listed in the table below are not exhaustive.

Common types of academic misconduct, with examples
Type of misconductExamples
Cheating while under supervised conditions A student:
  • begins to write during perusal time or continues to write after the instruction to stop writing is given
  • uses unauthorised equipment, materials or AI
  • has any notation written on their body, clothing or any object brought into an assessment room
  • communicates with any person other than a supervisor during an examination, e.g. through speaking, signing, electronic device or other means, such as passing notes, making gestures or sharing equipment with another student.
Collusion When:
  • more than one student works to produce a response and that response is submitted as individual work by one or multiple students
  • a student assists another student to commit an act of academic misconduct
  • a student gives or receives a response to an assessment.
Contract cheating A student:
  • pays for a person or a service to complete a response to an assessment
  • sells or trades a response to an assessment.
Copying work A student:
  • deliberately or knowingly makes it possible for another student to copy responses
  • looks at another student’s work during a supervised assessment
  • copies another student’s work during a supervised assessment.
Disclosing or receiving information about an assessment A student or other person:
  • gives or accesses unauthorised information that compromises the integrity of the assessment, such as stimulus or suggested answers/responses, before a response to an assessment is completed
  • makes any attempt to give or receive access to secure assessment materials.
Fabricating A student:
  • invents or exaggerates data
  • lists incorrect or fictitious references including false or misleading information generated from the use of AI.

A student arranges for another person or technology to complete a response to an assessment in their place, e.g. impersonating the student in a performance or supervised assessment.

A student completes a response to an assessment in place of another student.

Misconduct during a supervised assessment

A student distracts and/or disrupts others in an assessment room.

Plagiarism or lack of referencing

A student completely or partially copies or alters another person’s work or creates work using AI without attribution (this may include text, audio or audiovisual material, figures, tables, design, images, information or ideas).

Plagiarism also includes the use of a translator, including an online translator, as the work produced is not the work of the student.


A student duplicates work, or part of work, already submitted as a response to an assessment instrument in the same or any other subject.

Significant contribution of help

A student or other person arranges for, or allows, a tutor, parent/carer or any person in a supporting role to complete or contribute significantly to the response.

8.1.3 Promoting academic integrity

Schools and teachers can promote academic integrity by modelling and developing students' understanding and awareness of appropriate academic practice.

Students are able to demonstrate what they know and can do by the due date when they understand:

  • forward planning — understanding the components of a task and how long each component might take to complete
  • time management — implementing a plan to achieve the assessment outcome, incorporating adjustments to this as needed. Allowing for unexpected events such as issues with technology or changes in personal circumstances
  • note-taking and summarising — independently synthesising research or gathering information into a new idea or summary
  • referencing — appropriately acknowledging the ideas, work or interpretation of others, including use of AI
  • choosing appropriate examples — selecting appropriate quotes or examples to support an argument or communicate meaning
  • drafting — engaging in drafting and activities to authenticate a response such as at checkpoints, preparing the final draft for formal feedback by editing and refining the response
  • editing — independently refining their own work and using feedback
  • checking — self-assessing compliance with academic integrity guidelines before submitting responses.

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