Academic Integrity – Core Issues & Challenges

If you been struggling to deal with Plagiarism as a Trainer and Assessor or have failed to submit an authentic evidence to your assessor as a student, this blog is for you.

Plagiarism is using the words or ideas of others and passing them off as your own without acknowledging the source. It is usually referred to as a type of “intellectual theft” that can take many forms, from deliberate cheating to accidentally copying from a source without acknowledgement.

As such the act of plagiarising challenges the authenticity of assessment evidence. Australian Skills Quality Authority’s (ASQA) regulatory audit reports on Registered Training Organisations in Australia over the past couple of years reveal an increasing number of non-compliances related to implementing effective assessment systems to effectively manage critical issue of authenticity of assessment evidence.

Moreover, findings of Internal audits conducted over the past 12 months by Careers In Care Consultants on standard 1.8 indicted that close to 70% of RTOs struggled to effectively implement and comply with rules of evidence requirements, in particular ensuring authenticity of evidence collected from learners.

Research in this area further revealed that the core issues were around ensuring compliance with rules of evidence (validity, sufficiency, authenticity and currency)

Critical Issues:

  • VET trainers and assessors demonstrated limited understanding of standard requirements and implications of non-compliance with Clauses 1.8-1 & 1.8-2, SRTO2015).
  • International Students either had no knowledge about ‘citation methods’ or had a very limited understanding of referencing strategies and implications of plagiarism.
  • Training providers struggled to train academic staff and students on standard requirements and implications of non-compliance.

So how to deal with these core issues around authenticity of assessment evidence is the BIG question?

Listed below are some proven strategies based on feedback received from ASQA auditors and CIC Consultant Compliance Auditors.


Educate the students

Inform and educate the students about plagiarism and implications of not following referencing protocols.

Affirm the importance of academic integrity and promote an environment of trust encouraging students to be responsible for their work.

Clarify student expectations and learning outcomes. Clearly define rules of evidence and implications of non-compliance.

Ensure the learning environment is not hostile and challenge academic dishonesty if witnessed.


Set high academic integrity standards

  • Communicate and promote campus-wide academic integrity policy, procedures and protocols.
  • Assign responsibilities to the staff to effectively implement, monitor and review assessment systems and strategies.
  • Organise ‘Plagiarism workshops’ for academic and administrative staff to inform and educate them about policies, procedures and protocols associated with assessment systems.


Train the trainers

  • Conduct professional development training programs for trainers and assessors on ‘Managing Plagiarism’, “Conducting Effective Assessments” and on regulatory standards.
  • Conduct ‘Competency Assessment’ of trainers and assessors to ascertain their competence.
  • Maintain professional development records of all trainers and assessors.


Conduct regular ‘Compliance Audits’

  • Risk assessment & regulatory compliance audits to review implementation of a robust assessment system.
  • Analyse stakeholder feedback (received from students, staff and industry) on assessment practices.
  • Implement continuous improvement initiatives as indicated in compliance audit report.



CIC Consultants annual performance report 2018


Careers In Care Academy is an online upskilling platform that offers industry recommended professional development programs for Vocational Education and Training (VET) professionals as well as students.

Recommended training program: Plagiarism – How to deal with it effectively?

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