Purpose

This policy sets out the process and procedures for identifying, investigating and responding to incidents of Academic Misconduct by candidates who have enrolled in the CPA Program 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 or Foundation exam have agreed to protect the integrity of the exams through reading and agreeing to the following:

  • The terms and conditions and the relevant rules and regulations (CPA Program or Foundation Exams), including the non-disclosure agreement and privacy statement as part of their enrolment.
  • The exam delivery partner's (Pearson VUE) exam rules when they schedule a test centre or online proctored exam for a Foundation Exam or CPA Program exam
  • The confidentiality agreement presented before commencing all computer-based and online proctored exams

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 or Foundation exams, regardless of their membership status. This Policy governs candidates taking exams via a test centre and in an online proctored environment.

 

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 communication devices, particularly those with connectivity to other devices or any item with smart technology functionality during the exam
  • refusing to observe the exam regulations and instructions relevant to exam delivery mode for a test centre or an online proctored exam
  • completing the exam with assistance from others
  • 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 five key channels:

  1. Reports from exam supervisors (test centres exams)
  2. Reports from invigilators and/or webcam footage (online proctored exam)
  3. Web monitoring services that monitor the internet, online forums, social media platforms and study groups
  4. Data forensic reports obtained from third-party exam security specialists on candidate behaviour during the exam
  5. Reports from candidates and members who have observed incidents of Academic Misconduct

Reports from exam supervisors and online invigilators/proctors

CPA Australia's exam delivery partner, Pearson VUE, is responsible for informing of any alleged academic misconduct via reports from exam supervisors and invigilators. These reports inform CPA Australia of suspected breaches of exam rules, including, but not limited to, an attempt to contact or communicate with another person during your exam, accessing unauthorised materials during the exam, and/or leaving the exam area or screen for a period of time.

Web monitoring

CPA Australia will be engaging test security specialists to monitor online web pages, study groups and social media platforms, in search for candidates engaging in potential plagiarism, cheating, collusion and any other conduct whereby the candidate has sought to obtain an academic unfair advantage.

This monitoring activity will be conducted in multiple languages to ensure the security of our examination is maintained.

Data Forensics

A variety of data points are captured as part of all CPA Australia exams. These data points will undergo statistical analysis against the entire cohort of candidates sitting the exam. Responses that are identified as being a statistical anomaly may be reviewed by CPA Australia and potentially used as supporting evidence to complete an investigation of alleged 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.