Cheating students 'need more support'

A sharp increase in the number of Massey University students caught plagiarising, cheating off classmates or poorly referencing work could be reduced if there was more support for students, a student union leader says.

Cheating and plagiarism incidents have increased at Massey University in the past three years, according to figures obtained under the Official Information Act.

Last year there were 72 incidents of cheating recorded on the university's academic misconduct register, which was up from 56 in 2012 and 17 in 2011.

The university says this doesn't reflect a growing number of cheats - students were instead cheating in multiple ways.

Copying from classmates, cheating in exams and buying assignments were all cases caught by Massey and the trend for each was up. The biggest boost was in the number of students who had poor paraphrasing or unclear referencing and were deemed to be cheating.

Nine incidents were recorded last year, which was up from the zero cases raised in 2011 and 2012.

Massey University Students' Association president Linsey Higgins said more could be done to fix the high number of plagiarism incidents and problems caused by below-par referencing by educating undergraduates.

"More resources could be put into academic support to ensure plagiarism is eliminated . . ."

Massey offers one-to-one support for students, as well as electronic, online and printed resources.

Massey spokesman James Gardiner has said the university takes academic integrity "extremely seriously" and there were consequences for cheats regardless of what level the breaches were. Fairfax NZ

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