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Breach of rules
Information sheet 03
A breach of rules occurs when a student has not abided by the rules for undertaking SACE assessments, or when a teacher is unable to verify that work submitted is the student’s own.
Schools are responsible for:
- ensuring that students are aware of what constitutes a breach of rules in assessments that are directly supervised and those that are indirectly supervised
- investigating, documenting, and notifying the SACE Board of any potential breaches of rules for Stage 2 external assessments
- investigating, documenting, determining, and imposing any penalty to be applied if a breach of rules occurs in Stage 1 or Stage 2 school assessments.
The SACE Board is responsible for deciding on the appropriate penalty for breaches of rules that occur:
- in external assessments, such as examinations, investigations, or performances
- in school assessments, if the breach is identified during moderation and a penalty has not been applied by the school.
All students should have signed a declaration on enrolment in the SACE, stating that they will abide by the rules for undertaking SACE assessments at Stage 1 and Stage 2. Furthermore, when students sign an examination attendance roll, they are making a formal declaration that they will comply with the rules for undertaking examinations, which are printed on their examination attendance slip.
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Rules for undertaking SACE assessments
The following rules apply to school assessments and external assessments at Stage 1 and Stage 2. Some assessments are directly supervised, and others are indirectly supervised, by a teacher or other supervisors.
Assessments that are directly supervised
For assessments that are directly supervised, any infringement of the following conditions is considered a breach of rules. During an assessment, students must not:
- submit work that is not their own
- have in their possession any book or notes (apart from the materials permitted for that test, assignment, or examination), or any other means that would improperly help them in their work
- have in their possession any electronic device (including mobile phones and electronic dictionaries) apart from approved calculators (where permitted)
- directly or indirectly help any other student
- permit any other student to copy from or otherwise use their papers
- directly or indirectly accept help from any other student
- use any papers of any other student
- by any other improper means whatever, obtain or try to obtain, directly or indirectly, help in their work, or help or try to help, directly or indirectly, any other student
- collude with another student to take their place in an assessment (e.g. an examination)
- be guilty of any breach of good order or propriety.
Teachers will inform students if any materials are permitted for an assessment and if any special conditions apply.
Assessments that are indirectly supervised
For assessments that are indirectly supervised, any infringement of the following conditions is considered a breach of rules. Students must:
- submit assessment work that is their own
- submit their work directly to their teacher (or follow a procedure outlined by their teacher) by the due date (extensions may be negotiated with their teacher, but any extensions must be consistent with the school’s policy on deadlines, SACE Board due dates, and/or special provisions)
- show their teacher evidence of the development of their work, so that their teacher can verify that it is the student’s own (refer to Supervision and Verification of Students’ Work Policy)
- clearly identify and reference the ideas or words used in their assessment that are from another person’s work, including information from the internet, books, or pamphlets. Any quoted work should be kept to a minimum — students should refer to the relevant subjects for the SACE Board’s advice on how to avoid plagiarism and guidelines for referencing
- not fabricate, falsify, or misrepresent authorship, evidence, data, findings, or conclusions
- not permit any other student to copy their work
- not permit any other student to otherwise use their work (unless an assessment requires this)
- not use work of any other student (unless an assessment requires this)
- not use work of any others in circumstances that can be defined as undue assistance (e.g. tutors, family, or friends)
- not submit work that has been completed in collusion with other students that is the same or substantially the same as other students’ work
- not submit the same piece of work for assessment in more than one subject
- not circulate or publish online any written work that is being submitted for assessment in the year of enrolment
- not be guilty of any breach of good order or propriety.
Breach of rules — external assessment
In cases where a potential breach of rules has been identified by the school for an external assessment that is either directly or indirectly supervised, the school is responsible for investigating and reporting the breach, using Form 2, with relevant evidence and a recommended penalty, to the SACE Board. Evidence should include details of the situation or events that led to the breach and a copy of the student’s work if relevant. The student should be interviewed by two people, where possible, during the investigation of the breach.
The recommended penalty should not be applied to external assessment results submitted to the SACE Board. The SACE Board will apply an appropriate penalty, taking into account the recommendation from the school.
A student who receives a result of ‘I’ (no result), equivalent to a value of zero for the external assessment component, will receive a scaled score of zero.
Breach of rules — school assessment
In cases where a potential breach of rules has been identified by the school for a school assessment task that is either directly or indirectly supervised, the school is responsible for investigating the breach, and for deciding and applying any penalty deemed appropriate (see recommended penalties below). SACE Board staff are available to discuss and advise on procedures and penalties.
Schools must document all breaches of rules in school assessments, using Form 2.
When an appropriate penalty has been applied, the amended result is the one that must be recorded on the results sheet for final moderation.
Student work that has been penalised as a result of a breach of rules must be identified if selected for inclusion in a sample for final moderation. Schools should refer to Information sheet 55, and submit Form 27 with the materials for final moderation.
If a breach of rules in a school assessment is identified by the school after the submission of results sheets to the SACE Board, the school must contact the SACE Board for an exceptional circumstances application form to request a change to a school assessment result.
Moderators may also identify a potential breach of rules in school assessments submitted for final moderation. Where the breach has not been addressed by the school, the SACE Board will investigate and resolve the issue. Results may be amended after investigation.
Inability to verify work
If a teacher is unable to verify that work submitted is the student’s own, a penalty may be appropriate. The student should be given the opportunity to provide evidence that the work presented is his or her own work.
Where the teacher believes that the work is not the student’s own or that the student has received undue assistance from another person, the student should be interviewed to determine his or her knowledge of the content of the work submitted.
If the teacher is able to verify part of the work, a result can be awarded based on the proportion of the work that the teacher is able to verify.
If there has been no discussion with the student, and the teacher is unable to verify that work submitted is the student's own, the student is in breach of the rules, and the assessment may be liable to receive a result of ‘I’ (no result), equivalent to a value of zero.
If plagiarism is detected in a draft submitted by the student, teachers should, wherever possible, give no feedback other than to advise the student that one or more parts of the work have been identified as being plagiarised. The student then has the opportunity to revise the draft, including removal of any plagiarised material, and submit a draft for comment before the due date.
A penalty for plagiarism should be determined by the teacher in accordance with the performance standards.
If plagiarism is detected in the work submitted for marking, teachers should allocate a grade based on the work that is the student's own. As a guide, where the proportion of the work that has been plagiarised is more than 80% of the content, the student is likely to receive a result of ‘I’ (no result), equivalent to a value of zero. A piece of work should not automatically be given a result of ‘I’.
Teachers should refer to Research advice on the SACE website for more information about plagiarism.
Collusion between students
When work completed by two or more students under indirect supervision is too similar, it may be appropriate to impose no penalty on the student whose work is used by another student. The teacher should determine whether the work of one student has been appropriated without that student’s knowledge or approval, or under duress. If after investigation it is concluded that the work is a combined effort, the teacher should determine an appropriate penalty and result for the work of each student, depending on the contribution of each.
If students collude during an assessment under direct supervision, the students involved are liable to receive a result of ‘I’ (no result), equivalent to a value of zero, for that assessment. The school would need to ascertain the extent of the collusion among all students involved by interviewing each of these students. It is a breach of rules for a student to knowingly permit any other student to copy or use his or her work.
Possession of unapproved materials or devices
If a student is discovered with unapproved materials or using electronic devices such as mobile phones, electronic dictionaries, unapproved calculators, smart watches, or other equipment that may provide undue assistance to that student in a school assessment, a penalty should be applied. The student should be interviewed and the unapproved material examined to determine the extent of any undue assistance. If it cannot be determined whether or not the student has received information that might assist him or her in responding to either completed or yet-to-be-completed parts of the assessment, the student may be liable to receive a result of ‘I’ (no result), equivalent to a value of zero, for that assessment.
SACE coordinators must submit a completed Form 2 if a student is discovered in possession of unapproved materials or devices while completing an external examination. Schools must contact the Executive Manager, Curriculum and Assessment for advice if a student is discovered in possession of unapproved materials or devices.
Breach of good order or propriety
If a student’s conduct is inappropriate during the period of time an assessment is underway, the student may need to be removed and given a result of ‘I’ (no result), equivalent to a value of zero, for that assessment. If the circumstances need further investigation, the student may be permitted to complete the assessment unless it would in any way prejudice the other students’ chances of completing the assessment under the required conditions. In such a case, the student may be permitted to complete the assessment under supervision in a separate room.
Schools should contact the SACE Board for advice on any potential breaches of good order or propriety in materials that students submit for assessment.
Students conducting research that contributes to their SACE have a responsibility to submit only genuine findings or results of their research. If a student submits work that fabricates, falsifies, or misrepresents evidence, a penalty may be appropriate.
If the teacher is able to verify the accuracy of part of the work, a result can be awarded based on the proportion of the work that is genuine and correct.
A student is able to appeal a decision made by the school when he or she believes that the decisions or other actions taken by the school have not been carried out in accordance with the SACE Board’s Supervision and Verification of Students’ Work Policy and Procedures, or the SACE Assuring Assessment Integrity Policy, which is part of the SACE Policy Framework.
For school assessments, appeals are directed in the first instance to the principal of the school. In such cases, schools are advised to refer to the SACE Board’s Supervision and Verification of Students’ Work Policy and Procedures.
Students may appeal the decision of the principal or school by writing to the Chief Executive of the SACE Board, stating details of the decision or action being appealed against and the redress sought.
Within 7 days of receiving a complaint, the Chief Executive will initiate an investigation into the decision or delegate responsibility for this investigation. A letter is sent to the student stating:
- that the complaint has been received
- the name of the person who is investigating the complaint and preparing a report
- that confidentiality is assured.
The investigating officer may take such actions as are necessary and may interview any parties involved in the complaint.
Although the aim of the appeal is to resolve the matter wherever possible, the action or decision complained about may be confirmed, varied, overturned, or sent back for consideration. Any determination by the Chief Executive as a result of the investigation is binding on all parties.
Related policies and procedures
The principles and procedures that underpin supervision and verification are outlined in the SACE Board’s policies and procedures documents for:
- Supervision and Verification of Students’ Work
- Ethical Conduct of Research
- Assessment Deadlines
- Redrafting of Assessed Work
- Reuse of Assessed Work
- Submission Dates for Stage 2 External Assessment and Moderation Materials
- SACE Assuring Assessment Integrity, which is part of the SACE Policy Framework.
Underpinning these policies and procedures is the principle that students submit for assessment only work that is their own, produced without undue assistance from other people or sources.