Policy on assessment malpractice

Policy on Assessment Malpractice

Malpractice consists of those acts which undermine the integrity and validity of assessment, the certification of qualifications and the authority of those responsible for conducting assessment and certification.

The School of Babywearing does not tolerate actions (or attempted actions) of malpractice by learners or by staff, in connection with any of our qualifications.

Awarding bodies may impose penalties and/or sanctions on learners or centres where incidents (or attempted incidents) of malpractice have been proven.

Learner malpractice may include:

• Plagiarism by copying and passing off, as the learner’s own, all or part of another person’s work, of any kind and, in particular, items from a website, without the originator’s permission and without appropriately acknowledging the source (Please see also the School of Babywearing Plagiarism Policy)
• Collusion by working collaboratively with other learners to produce work that is submitted as individual learner work. Teamwork is valuable and an essential key skill in many sectors and must be evidenced appropriately
• Impersonation, by pretending to be someone else
• Failing to abide by the instructions or advice of an assessor or awarding body regulations
• Misuse of assessment material
• The alteration of any results document, including certificates

Centre staff malpractice may include:

• Alteration of the awarding body’s assessment and grading criteria
• Allowing evidence, which is known by the staff member not to be the learner’s own, to be included in a learner’s portfolio
• Producing falsified witness statements, for example for evidence the learner has not generated
• Misusing the conditions for Reasonable Adjustments or Special Considerations such that the support has the potential to influence the outcome of the assessment
• Failing to keep learner computer files secure
• Falsifying records/certificates, for example by alteration, substitution or fraud
• Fraudulent certificate claims, by claiming for a certificate prior to the learner completing all the requirements of assessment
• Maladministration, by failing to keep the required records and documents and failing to adhere to awarding body administrative procedures

Preventing Malpractice and Maladministration

It will always be preferable to prevent malpractice and maladministration than to deal with it once it has occurred. In order to do this, the School of Babywearing will:
• Ensure our Centre Administrative contact understands what activity constitutes malpractice or maladministration; their role in preventing it and the need to communicate relevant points to all members of centre staff.
• Develop qualification delivery and assessment systems and procedures that are clearly laid out and communicated to Centres in plain English.
• Communicate any changes to systems and procedures to Centres in a clear and timely manner.
• Monitor the in-Centre procedure for preventing and dealing with malpractice or maladministration is clearly defined and communicated within the Centre.
• Ensure that quality monitoring of all centres is carried out regularly and thoroughly by appropriately trained awarding organisation staff / representatives.
• Ensure that quality monitoring activity (Quality Reviewer/ External Verifier visits for example) include the opportunity to review how the in-Centre procedure for preventing and dealing with malpractice or maladministration is working and identify improvements, where necessary.
• Ensure that the Sanctions Policy is clearly documented and communicated to all Centres to clearly state what the repercussions of malpractice or maladministration could be.
• Provide support to ensure all Centre staff understand their role and responsibility fully.
• Assess the risk posed by each Centre in relation to potential for malpractice and maladministration and taking appropriate steps in response to that level of perceived risk.
• Identify and share good practice.

Investigation

The fundamental principle of investigations is to conduct them in a fair, reasonable and legal manner, ensuring that all relevant information is considered without bias. In carrying out investigations, TQUK will usually aim to deal directly with the Head of the School of Babywearing or their nominee.

TQUK may decide to:
1. Instruct the School of Babywearing to conduct an investigation; or,
2. Conduct an investigation itself; or,
3. Nominate a third party to carry out the investigation on its behalf.

Where TQUK instructs the School of Babywearing to conduct an investigation. The investigation should be carried out by the Head of the School of Babywearing or their nominee as quickly as is possible in accordance with the School of Babywearing policy and procedures, and should be consistent with a fair and thorough investigation.

Where TQUK decides to carry out the investigation itself (where the School of Babywearing does not have the capacity to conduct an investigation, or where the issue is very serious) it should do so in line with its stated policies and procedures.

Where an awarding body appoints an investigator they should be independent of normal or day-to-day working relationships with the centre or individual(s) under investigation. They should also be fully informed about TQUK policies and procedures.

During the investigation

Where the School of Babywearing undertakes the investigation, the investigation of the alleged malpractice or maladministration should:
• Establish the facts, circumstances, and scale of the alleged malpractice or maladministration.
• Identify and, if necessary, take action to minimise the risk to current learners and requests for certification.
• Identify evidence to support any action/decision to be applied.
• Show that discussions have been conducted with individuals-learners and/or staff- in accordance with the School of Babywearing’s own policy and procedures.

When the School of Babywearing conducts the investigation the following principles should be adhered to:
• Confidentiality – all material collected as part of the investigation must be kept secure and not normally disclosed to any third parties (other than regulator or police).
• Rights of individuals –where an individual is suspected of malpractice they should be
o Informed of the allegation made against them (preferably in writing) and the evidence that supports the allegation.
o Provided with the opportunity to consider their response to the allegation and submit a written statement or seek advice, if they wish to.
o Informed of what the possible consequences could be if the malpractice is proven and of the possibility that other parties may be informed e.g. the regulators, the police, the funding agency and professional bodies.
o Informed of the School of Babywearing’s appeals process.
o Advised where the School of Babywearing staff members are interviewed during an investigation that is being carried out by the School of Babywearing, these interviews should be carried out in line with the School of Babywearing policy and procedures (the School of Babywearing’s policy for conducting disciplinary enquiries).
o Advised that they are accompanied by a friend or colleague and these requests should be processed in line with the School of Babywearing and/or TQUK’s policy.
• Where a learner is to be interviewed and they are a minor or vulnerable adult, the School of Babywearing and/or awarding organisation should consider the need to have a parent or guardian or carer present or to have the permission of a parent or guardian or carer prior to the interview taking place.
• Where legal advisors are to be present during interviews this must be made known to other parties involved to give them the same opportunity to be similarly supported.
• Retention and storage of evidence and records – all relevant documents and evidence should be retained in line TQUK’s Malpractice and Maladministration Policy.
• Decisions and action plans – all conclusions and decisions should be based on evidence. A course of proposed action should be identified, agreed between the centre and TQUK, implemented and monitored by TQUK to the point of completion. The actions should address the improvements that are required to the centre’s policies and procedures as well as any action that is related to staff or other resources.

Report
Where the investigation into the alleged malpractice has been carried out by the centre, the Head of the School of Babywearing or their nominee should submit a written report to TQUK.

The report should be accompanied by the following documentation, as appropriate:
• A statement of the facts, a detailed account of the circumstances of alleged malpractice, and details of any investigations carried out by the centre.
• Written statements from the School of Babywearing staff and learners who have been interviewed as part of the investigation.
• Any work of the learners and internal assessment or verification records relevant to the investigation.
• In the case of learner malpractice, any remedial action being taken by the centre to ensure the integrity of certification now and in the future.
• Any mitigating factors that should be considered.

In those cases where TQUK carries out its own investigation, the Head of the School of Babywearing or their nominee should be provided with an opportunity to comment on the factual accuracy of the investigation report before it is finalised

The Decision
Gateway Qualifications will follow its specific procedures for arriving at a final decision on the malpractice investigation, as set out in the Malpractice and Maladministration Policy.

The decision stage should aim to:
• Identify the regulatory/centre approval criteria which it is alleged have been compromised.
• Consider the facts of the case.
• Decide, on the facts, whether malpractice has occurred.
• Establish who is responsible if criteria have been compromised.
• Determine an appropriate level of remedial action to be applied.

In the event of malpractice by a centre, TQUK would consider action to:
• Minimise the risk to the integrity of certification now and in the future.
• Maintain public confidence in the delivery and awarding of qualifications.
• Discourage others from doing likewise.
• Ensure there has been no gain from compromising standards.
• Advise the regulatory authorities of the outcome, where relevant.

In the event of malpractice by a learner, TQUK would consider the remedial action being taken by the School of Babywearing, and advise on its appropriateness.

TQUK’s decision to take further action following the outcome of the investigation will be based only on the evidence available. The decision must be justifiable, reasonable and consistent.

Dealing with cases

The School of Babywearing will implement a system and procedure for recording all suspected or alleged instances of learner malpractice. This will be reviewed by Quality Reviewers as part of their Centre monitoring activities.

If the School of Babywearing staff suspect there has been learner Malpractice before claims for certification are made, or before a monitoring visit, they will:
• Familiarise themselves, and follow TQUK’s procedures for amending results and returning certificates.
• Ensure learners are aware of the School of Babywearing’s policy on Malpractice.
• Conduct an investigation in accordance with the School of Babywearing’s policy and procedures.
• Ensure learners results are not submitted to TQUK during the course of the investigation.
• Apply an appropriate action/decision when a case of suspected learner malpractice is upheld.
• Review the School of Babywearing’s internal quality assurance procedures to minimise the risk of further malpractice.
• Advise TQUK to withhold certification for the qualification or unit where the outcome of the investigation merits it.
• Report the matter to TQUK and to the police if you consider, before or during the investigation, that a malpractice case involves a criminal act.

TQUK will try to minimise any disadvantage to learners in dealing with invalid certification.

In conducting an investigation, the School of Babywearing is required to retain records and documentation for five years. In an investigation involving a criminal prosecution or civil claim, records and documentation should be retained for five years after the case and appeal has been heard. Records should include:
• Report of the facts, account of circumstances and details of investigation carried out by the School of Babywearing.
• Written statements from staff and learners.
• Any learner work, assessment and internal verification records.
• Details of actions taken to ensure the integrity of certification claims.

Policy Reviewed October 2017
Review Date October 2018

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