Purpose

This policy sets out the process and procedures for identifying, investigating and responding to incidents of Academic Misconduct by candidates who have enrolled the CPA Program, Public Practice Program exams or Foundation exams.

Policy background

CPA Australia is a professional member organisation and has a responsibility to protect, defend and exemplify the ethical standards required upon all its members. Therefore CPA Australia must identify, investigate and respond to any incident that may threaten the integrity of the CPA Program and the ethical standards of the organisation to ensure a robust and equitable pathway for any associate member to become a qualified professional.

CPA Program prohibits any Academic Misconduct, which is defined as an action(s) or behaviour likely to result in an unfair academic advantage, whether by advantaging a candidate or disadvantaging another, be it intentional or reckless. All candidates sitting a CPA Program, Public Practice Program or Foundation exam, have also agreed to protect the integrity and equity of the exam by signing a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) upon enrolment into a subject and before accessing the exam content via the Rules and Regulations. Any breach to any of the above is considered as a breach to the CPA Australia Constitution and will be subject to disciplinary action undertaken by CPA Australia’s Professional Conduct Unit.

Scope

This policy applies to all candidates undertaking CPA Program, Public Practice Program or Foundation exams, regardless of their membership status.

Definition

Academic Misconduct is defined as any action(s) or behaviour likely to result in an unfair academic advantage, whether by advantaging a candidate or disadvantaging another, be it intentional or reckless.

Acts of academic misconduct include, but are not limited to:

  • possession of unauthorised material before, during or after the exam
  • use of unauthorised electronic device, particularly those with connectivity to other devices, during the exam
  • refusing to observe the instructions of the invigilator 
  • refusing to observe the exam regulations and instructions
  • obtaining or seeking to obtain access to exam questions
  • sharing or publishing exam questions
  • collusion with another candidates
  • candidate substitution
  • cheating
  • plagiarism, and any other conduct whereby the candidate has sought to obtain an unfair academic advantage are not permitted. 

Approach to allegations of Academic Misconduct

CPA Australia takes a three stage approach to allegations of Academic Misconduct:

  1. Identify a potential incident of Academic Misconduct
  2. Investigate the potential incident of Academic Misconduct
  3. Respond to confirmed incidents of Academic Misconduct

Incident identification

CPA Australia identifies potential incidents of Academic Misconduct through three key channels:

  1. Reports from exam invigilators/supervisors of candidates’
  2. Monitoring activity on social media to identify candidates
  3. Reports from candidates and members who have observed incidents of Academic Misconduct

Incident investigation

All reports received from members and candidates are acknowledged in writing. All identified incidents of potential Academic Misconduct are investigated by the CPA Australia.

Incident response

Once an incident has been confirmed CPA Australia will respond by contacting the member or candidate and advising of the action to be taken.

The decision to refer the incident of Academic Misconduct to the CPA Australia Professional Conduct Unit will be based on a judgement that takes into account:

  • the severity and impact of the incident
  • history of previous incidents by the member
  • response by the member to CPA Australia’s communication.

Notification of the decision

Once a judgement has been made to refer the incident to the CPA Australia Professional Conduct Unit the member will be notified of this decision in writing.

CPA Australia Professional Conduct Unit

The CPA Australia Professional Conduct Unit will investigate the allegation further and conduct hearing sessions.

If academic misconduct is established, the CPA Australia Professional Conduct Unit will impose penalties that include but are not limited to:

  • forfeiture of membership
  • suspension of membership
  • lowering of membership status
  • exclusion from admission as a member
  • requirement to undergo further CPA Program subjects
  • a monetary fine
  • withholding of results
  • failure of a subject.

Any judgements of the CPA Australia Professional Conduct Unit are communicated to the member and also published on the CPA Australia website.