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Plagiarism and Cheating

In a study environment, cheating means to act dishonestly in any way so that the assessor of the work accepts what you present as genuinely representing your understanding of, and ability in, the subject concerned.

Plagiarism is to copy work without acknowledging the source and is a form of cheating.

TAFE SA aims to create a learning environment where academic honesty is understood and highly valued and therefore will not tolerate plagiarism or cheating, and a penalty may be imposed if you are accused of either.  

It is cheating to:

  • use notes or other resources without permission during formal testing
  • hand in someone else’s work as your own (with or without that person’s permission)
  • hand in a completely duplicated assignment
  • take work without the author’s knowledge
  • allow someone else to hand up your work as their own
  • have several people write one computer program or exercise and hand up multiple copies, all represented (implicitly or explicitly) as individual work
  • use any part of someone else’s work without the proper acknowledgement
  • steal an examination or solution from a lecturer.

It is not cheating to:

  • discuss assignments with lecturers or other students to understand what is being asked for
  • hand in work done alone or with the help of staff
  • get help to correct minor errors in spelling, grammar or syntax (sentence construction)
  • discuss assignment requirements and course materials so that you can better understand the subject (this is, in fact, encouraged)
  • submit one assignment from a group of students where this is explicitly permitted or required
  • use other people’s ideas where they are acknowledged in the appropriate way, such as referencing using footnotes, end notes or the Harvard system of referencing.

Remember that the integrity of a group project is the joint responsibility of all members of the group. Therefore, if cheating of any kind is found in a group project, all members of the group will be held responsible and will be subject to the disciplinary processes.


If you are suspected of cheating, the lecturer will investigate to establish evidence to support the suspicion.

If there is evidence to support the suspicion, the lecturer will notify the Educational Manager and set out the concerns to you in writing, requesting a time to discuss the matter. You will have the opportunity to counter the allegations made against you.

Once you have provided your information, the lecturer may come to one of two decisions:

  • It is a minor or unintentional offence and you will need to undergo an alternative form of assessment, such as a short oral assessment, which may involve talking about the work or questioning. The penalty in this case is that you will receive the lowest level of competency or pass for all the learning outcomes being assessed.
  • It is a serious offence and you will fail the module. Repeated offences of cheating – minor or serious – will result in failure of the module plus a record on your student file, together with the reason.

You will be advised of all penalties writing.

What if I don’t agree with the decision?

If you are accused of and penalised for cheating and believe that the accusation is unjust, you have the right to appeal against the charge. This appeal must be lodged in writing with the educational manager of the program within one week of the penalty being imposed.

The appeal may be lodged against:

  • the process
  • the decision
  • the penalty.

The appeal will be investigated and a decision will be advised to you within a week of your appeal.

If you are having difficulties with your studies, you are encouraged to seek help from student services.

Find out more about Academic Integrity in TAFE SA and access the Academic Integrity Policy and the Academic Integrity Procedure.

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