Reported plagiarism on the rise at CCCU

The number of students submitting plagiarised work at Canterbury Christ Church University have surged – with figures almost doubling in the last four years.

A Unified Freedom of Information request has revealed that there has been a steady increase in the amount of reported plagiarism cases at CCCU.

Back in the academic year of 14/15, written work submitted from 248 students were flagged for plagiarism. This number rose to 416 in the most recent academic year.

Plagiarism at CCCU has been on the rise since 2014

Canterbury Christ Church have since issued a statement regarding the rising reported plagiarism figures at the university.

The university notes that not all reported cases concluded to students being found guilty of plagiarism – some were considered referencing and citing mistakes.

A spokesperson said: “The University is aware of an increase in the number of plagiarism cases reported, which we believe is the result of an increase in the use of the text-matching software, Turnitin, for electronically submitted work.

“Since 2016, the University has required all written work to be submitted through electronic means only, which has led to a rise in the number of student assignments going through text-matching software.

“Since the 2015/16 academic year, the University has operated a revised set of procedures relating to plagiarism that are underpinned by the University’s Learning and Teaching Strategy. These are available here.

“The procedures operate a staged approach to investigating an allegation of plagiarism. It is only when a case is investigated at the final stage that it may result in the student being required to withdraw from their programme.

“The figures reported (via the FOI request) relate to the number of all plagiarism cases that were investigated. However, over the 2015/16 and 2016/17 academic years, less than 2% of cases were escalated to the final stage.

“Early stage investigations show that students, particularly first year students, might need extra support to understand how to accurately use referencing and citations within their assignments and so avoid being suspected of plagiarism.

“The University provides study skills support around what is ‘good’ academic writing and offers guidance to help avoid plagiarism. This can be accessed in person, or online atSkills4study. Students can also access support information via the student support tab in Blackboard, and use Turnitin at the draft stage of their work to check their assignment to avoid plagiarism.”

Earlier this year, it came to light that more and more students in the UK are taking the route of cheating to earn their degrees.

Experts have blamed this increase of cheating at university on pressures such as exam stress and the distraction of part-time jobs.

Unified revealed that essay cheat companies have been targeting students’ social media to promote their cheat products

Thomas Lancaster, a teaching fellow at Imperial College London told The Guardian: “A growing number of young people also feel more pressure than ever before, often turning to cheating to help them get through their degrees.

“It’s also easier to access websites that offer paid-to-order essays.”

Essay mills are one of the leading factors to academic misconduct and plagiarism. They are ‘businesses’ who sells custom made essays or coursework to students who are struggling to meet deadlines.

University leaders across the country are pleading for the government to ban essay mills as they ‘undermine the integrity of degrees’.

Students who are caught submitting work that they did not do can face disciplinary actions and even disqualification from the university.

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Claisse Opulencia

Editor-in-Chief of Unified. Claisse is a third year multimedia journalism student at CCCU. Amnesty Media Award Finalist 2018, IRN Awards Runner-up 2018 and nominated for two SPA Awards 2018.

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