Have you ever wondered about the level of cheating, plagiarism and other illicit actions at the University of Reading?! Data obtained by a Freedom of Information request have revealed an interesting insight into the dark side of Reading! Plagiarism and cheating have been the leading cause of disciplinary action in the last few years, with more than 100 cases being reported. Unsurprisingly, behaviour in halls is another reason for action being taken, along with other areas. Read on for the full story.
As mentioned, plagiarism and cheating were the main causes for disciplinary action. Plagiarism usually takes the form of copying information from the internet, or from other students, and copying and pasting the words into their assignment. ‘Turnitin’ usually takes no prisoners, as many have found to their cost. Cheating is usually done in exams, and can take a range of forms – from smuggling in notes, annotating texts, or concealing crucial information in unexpected places.
Over the last five academic years, there have been over 100 cases of plagiarism and cheating – which is somewhat surprising. It is clearly a very small percentage of students that engage in this sort of activity, with the 2013-14 academic year witnessing the worst levels – with 65 cases. The 2014-15 academic year witnessed 26 cases, with in the past few years the numbers slowly dropping. These figures of course don’t take into account those who unsuccessfully gained an unfair advantage (i.e. those who got away with cheating).
While cheating and plagiarism were the cause of the majority of disciplinary cases, the data also revealed some other details. ‘Bringing the University into disrepute’ is a popular action apparently, with fourteen cases reported in the last few years. Anti-social behaviour, including drunken and violent behaviour, has resulted in over ten cases. Behaviour in halls is another bug-bear seemingly, with several cases from halls leading to disciplinary action being taken against the offender.
In the contemporary age where technology is slowly taking over our lives, it is unsurprising that ‘IT use infringement’ has been the cause of some disciplinary proceedings. Another patron suffered after ‘Misuse of email’. Unfortunately, actions related to sexual-misconduct have risen in the last few years, though thankfully are still low in number. While there are an interesting range of disciplinary cases, it has to be said that clearly the majority of Reading students behave well.
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So, cheating and plagiarism is fairly common, and there have been a range of other illicit activities going on. But in the grand scheme of things, Reading’s students appear to be behaving well, with little cause for concern. In any community of this size, it is inevitable that harmony can only last so long. Remember to check out the news from Reading below, or take a look at one of the article’s picked out above. Finally, consider joining us as a student contributor – write about your own institution!