20 April 2010 /JME & CJIBMAF AnnualConference 2010Accounting for learner differences in the classroom means some students have to plagiarise
John English & Chris Ireland
If we asked you What issues concern you most when dealing with new students?
You might come up with FE related issuesAttendanceIndependent learning reading & writingCommitment and participationFamily issuesFeedback on workGenerally understanding what is expected
Cohort IssuesEthnic mix/Cultural issuesAge mixMale dominationEntry qualifications
19 or less50555620-2416181325 & over745
Gender & Qualifications
Gender04/0505/0606/07Male525440Female212334Qualifications04/0505/0606/07Non A-level191814A-levelOf which 200 UCAS54596029 (53%)30 (51%)26 (43%)
Personal development planningAcademic and vocational skillsEmployabilityProfessional Body requirementsReflective writingRegular use of formative exercisesEnhance the personal tutor systemShift student focus from numeracyOther issues we had to consider
So overall a fairly easy problem to solve !
Our solutionAIOSo overall a fairly easy problem to solve
Writing in AIO 2006-2008The original approachAnalysing different uses of source textsAnswering quiz style questionsCompleting paraphrase/referencing exercises
Completed within the first month
Writing in AIO 2006-2008Week 4 short assignment submitted (topic - CV)Guided choice of sourcesIndividual written feedback with main focus on writing issues rather than content
OutcomeMany had not got the message about the writing issues including plagiarism
Should we have been surprised?Despite instruction, students do not understand what plagiarism is or how to avoid it. (Carroll & Appleton, 2001)
Students may not have reached a level of development at which they are able to write acceptably. (Carroll, 2009)Students should be allowed to learn from their mistakes. (JISC, 2008)
Student Voice (Final Year)Asked about a critical event in understanding plagiarismIn high school I was fairly unfamiliar with plagiarism until I failed an English coursework for plagiarism. I was stood up in front of the class and told to explain a metaphor in my essay. When I couldn't I was told to re-write the essay. Since then I have always sufficiently referenced others' ideas.
Underpinning the ApproachRecognition of Individual Differencesprior learning learning styles (including learning from mistakes)
Social Constructivismencouraging a critical approachdeep learning / engagement
AIO 2008/9 Induction Week Essay2007 Induction survey indicated students wanted:to get on with studyDay 2 - a 500 word essay to complete by Day 5Sources provided (topic - work placement)Simple brief plagiarism not mentionedSubmission via Turnitin
AIO 2008/9 Feedback on EssayWrittenTutor to individual inc Turnitin (Barrett & Malcolm, 2006)Individual exemplars to group via VLE (Heinrich, 2007)Group report to group via VLE (Heinrich, 2007)OralTutor to individual with audience (optional)Tutor to individual private (optional)
Questionnaire feedback Q1
Had you heard of plagiarism before you came to University?
Questionnaire feedback Q2
Has your understanding of plagiarism changed since starting University? (Yes to Q1)
Questionnaire feedback Q4 & 5
Which added most/least to your understanding of plagiarism?MostLeastBalanceWritten feedback on essay1233-21Oral feedback on essay1421-7Interactive Lecture4519+26Test4916+33Quiz1426-12Report feedback927-18Total143142+1
Some BenefitsStudents positive about process and timingWeek 4 short assignment improved with far fewer plagiarism cases than previous yearsStudents appear more positive about formative assessmentStudents realise early on Accountancy is more than numbers and that writing is key
We cant leave it thereStudents are still developingWriting and other study issues need to be regularly revisited over the entire courseThe assignments can only address limited issuesOther activities need to be considered:e.g. time management & group work
Barrett, R. & Malcolm, J. (2006) Embedding Plagiarism Education in the Assessment Process. International Journal for Educational Integrity, pp.1-9 [online]. Available at: [Accessed on 03 September 2008].
Carroll, J. (2006) Jude Carroll on Plagiarism [online]. Available at: University of Nottingham [Accessed on June 10, 2009].
Carroll, J. (2009) Plagiarism as a Threat to Learning: An Educational Response. In Joughin, G. (Ed.), Assessment, Learning and Judgement in Higher Education: A Critical Review (pp. 115-131). Berlin: Springer.
Carroll, J. & Appleton, J. (2001) Plagiarism: a good practice guide [online]. Available at: [Accessed on 12 December 2006].
Heinrich, H. (2007) E-learning support for Essay Assessment. In N. Buzzetto-More (Ed.), Principles of effective online teaching, pp. 265-279. Santa Rosa, CA: Informing Science Press.
JISC (2008) Roadmap Themes: Teaching the skills [online]. Available at: [Accessed on 30 August 2008].References
*Written feedback on Essay remember many never accessed itAll were identified by someone as most important