Detecting and Reporting Violations of Academic Integrity

What to do if you detect cheating or plagiarism?

This page is paraphrased from the Office of Student Conduct

If you see cheating in progress:

  • Interrupt the impermissible conduct, identify the student(s) involved, record names, and create a seating chart that will help you contact witnesses at a later time, if necessary.
  • Once you have stopped the impermissible conduct, permit a student to complete the exam, but separate the suspect exam (or exams) from the rest of your pile.
  • Ask students to move apart or change seats.
  • Reiterate your examination-taking expectations/rules.

If you suspect cheating after the fact:

1. Consult:

  • with appropriate colleagues, senior faculty, department chairs, or with the Center for Teaching and Learning.
  • with the Director of the Office of Student Conduct for a preliminary consult (this is confidential and involves no commitment to submit a formal disciplinary case) 215.898.5651.
  • with policies and procedures manual, such as the Pennbook.

2. Address the issue as soon as possible:

  • Keep a copy of the suspected work of academic dishonesty.
  • Meet with the student promptly and outside the class (you may want to have a witness for this meeting). Describe your specific concerns and ask the student open-ended questions. (For example, ask “what happened?” or “can you explain?”)
  • If appropriate, try to determine how justified your concerns are by checking student’s familiarity with vocabulary or concepts in their work and asking about sources
  • Decide consequences:
    • Do nothing if you have become convinced that there has been no academic dishonesty.
    • Consider whether this is poor academic work or academic dishonesty.

3.  Know and follow University procedures

  • Consider academic support resources for a student who is struggling to do it right but needs help. Even if you are convinced a student has cheated or lied, treat him/her respectfully, professionally, and candidly.
  • If you think the student has been dishonest, explain the consequences (e.g. refer matter to the Office of Student Conduct require rewriting, extra work, or other measures you think are appropriate.)