More students caught cheating

The number of University of Otago students caught cheating and committing other dishonest practices increased by more than 50% last year.

Figures released to the Otago Daily Times under the Official Information Act show 72 students were dealt with for dishonest practices last year - a 56.5% increase on the 46 in 2012.

Like the previous year, most incidents related to assignments being plagiarised - some knowingly and others because of ignorance of university policy.

Other cases involved looking at other students' work in exams or bringing notes to exams.

Of the 72 cases, 64 related to internal assessments, with the other eight involving cheating during exams.

Ten cases involved international students. Half of these were during exams.

Students taking humanities papers made up 33 cases, commerce 19, health sciences 11 and sciences 9.

For the second year in a row, the subject area with the most dishonesty cases was ''Maori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies'' with 14 cases.

The most common punishment was to reduce marks or give a zero mark for the relevant assignment.

A university spokeswoman said there were no obvious cheating trends. Students were usually caught by lecturers, who had access to software which could detect plagiarism, or when examination supervisors found unauthorised material during exams.

In some cases, students were caught because they were unaware of proper referencing procedures. These students were referred to the university student learning centre for guidance.

More than 18,500 equivalent full-time students studied at the university last year.

- vaughan.elder@odt.co.nz

natural progression for cheaters

These kind of students will naturally be attracted to the law and accountancy professions if they are not already enrolled in them. They should do well.