CEE Assessment@JCU Academic Integrity

Academic Integrity

The Coursework Academic Integrity Policy and Procedures clearly outline the role of educators in promoting and upholding academic integrity within JCU coursework. All educators must be familiar with their responsibilities under this policy and comply with the requirements of the Policy and Procedures.

All JCU staff with teaching responsibilities must complete the JCU Academic Integrity modules for educators (See Coursework Academic Integrity Procedure Section 3). These modules are located within LearnJCU. If you do not see the modules in your LearnJCU, please send through a ServiceNow support request.

Staff with teaching responsibilities are encouraged to complete the TEQSA modules: TEQSA Masterclass: Contract cheating detection and deterrence.

Reporting suspected academic misconduct

All Universities must promote and uphold the academic integrity of their Courses and Units of study (HESF 2023, Standard 5.2.1). At JCU, the Coursework Academic Integrity Procedure (Clause 4.1) requires staff to report instances involving a genuine and reasonably suspected breach of academic integrity by students, staff members or affiliates, each with different reporting requirements under the procedure.

To uphold academic integrity, a JCU staff member must promptly report any suspected student academic misconduct by filling out the Allegation Report Form as soon as the breach is detected or observed. However, anyone (internal or external to JCU) can also refer suspected misconduct to the University. The form needs to include sufficient detail to explain the identified breach and be supported by relevant documentation/evidence (Academic Misconduct Procedure, clause 1.1).


The person submitting the report is not the decision maker and must provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the event is more likely to have occurred than not. In civil law, this is referred to as the 'Balance of Probability', the standard of proof expected by TEQSA when reporting suspected cases of academic misconduct. All supporting evidence must be capable of being defended should the student appeal a decision that misconduct occurred.

To support an accusation of contract cheating, evidence can be drawn from multiple areas to build a defendable case:

  • Textual and electronic evidence from the suspected assessment
  • Knowledge of the student’s academic and linguistic abilities
  • The student’s previous assessment work.

If you suspect plagiarism,

  • supply the SafeAssign Report and
  • any confirmatory document to support the SafeAssign Originality Report such as another student’s assessment item or original journal article.

If the suspicious text is a direct copy from a website or multiple websites, a record of the relevant website page/s with screenshots. A supporting screenshot is recommended as web content can change over time.

Here are some textual signals to check.

  • Very low text match/similarity score (0-5%) – It is unlikely genuine scholarly work will have a very low text match. A very low text match may flag use of Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI), and/or that work has been manipulated to lower text match scores to avoid being flagged.

  • Document properties (author, creation date, editing time, properties blank/wiped) - The metadata of a Word document may indicate an author name does not match the student, an odd creation date, or a very short editing time. If properties are blank they may have been wiped to hide such anomalies.

  • Not appropriate to discipline area - The writing and content may be at odds with the language typical in the assignment/discipline.

  • Unreadable language, lots of jargon, misuse of words - Online ‘article spinners’, Generative AI, translation and/or paraphrasing tools can automatically transform any text into ‘original’ writing that bypasses text-matching software. This writing may sound excessively verbose/complicated, makes little sense, and misuses terms and everyday words.

  • In-text citations and reference list discrepancies – Fake references, references to literature in other languages, references that are not current, or fail to follow the required referencing style can  indicate contract cheating may have taken place.

  • Does not meet requirements – The requirements for the assessment have not been met or followed.

TEQSA Guide: Substantiating contract cheating: A guide for investigators

In addition to textual and electronic evidence, knowledge of your student’s academic and linguistic abilities and previous work can be used as evidence to support a misconduct case or trigger further investigation of an assessment item they have submitted.

  • Quality different to or above expectations – The quality of the work submitted is different to or above expectations based on your knowledge of the student's academic and linguistic abilities. The unexplained difference will trigger further investigation of the assessment item.

  • The student’s previous assessment work – There is a substantial change in the quality of work submitted compared to previous assessment work. Samples of previous work may be used as supporting evidence to build the case.

  • References in languages the student does not speak - Your knowledge of your student's linguistic abilities (English as an Additional Language, main home language other than English) will help to identify where a citation to a journal or other source in a language not spoken by your student is used in an assessment item.