- Candidates and Members are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent with the fundamental principles of Academic Integrity.
- CPA Australia strictly prohibits any Academic Misconduct by Candidates or Members, including those enrolled in the CPA Program and the Foundation exams.
- Suspected incidents of Academic Misconduct are identified, assessed, and investigated by CPA Australia.
- Any suspected incident of misconduct relating to Candidates who are Members may be referred to the Professional Conduct Unit at CPA Australia’s sole discretion for further investigation and referral to the Disciplinary Tribunal for an outcome.
- Any suspected incident of misconduct for a Candidate who is a non-member are identified, assessed, and investigated by the Member Education Business Unit. The outcome following the investigation will be determined by the Executive General Manager, Member Education and advised to the Candidate.
- Where Academic Misconduct is suspected or established, CPA Australia may take any action it deems necessary to address the incident(s) in accordance with this policy.
2. Policy overview
CPA Australia is a professional member organisation and has a responsibility to demonstrate its commitment to compliance with the professional, ethical, and technical requirements from time to time required of all its Members and all Candidates who undertake the CPA Program and the Foundation exams offered by CPA Australia. CPA Australia identifies, investigates, and responds to any suspected incident that may threaten the integrity of the CPA Program or the Foundation exams. These actions help to ensure the integrity of the designation and maintain a robust and equitable pathway for any Candidate or Associate Member to become qualified with the status of CPA.
CPA Australia strictly prohibits any Academic Misconduct however it occurs and whether it is unintentional. Reference to some of the types of actions or behaviour (but not all) considered as Academic Misconduct are identified in Section 4.1 of this Policy.
All Candidates and Members by undertaking the CPA Program and the Foundation exams have agreed to protect the integrity of the Exams through reading and agreeing to the following, as applicable:
- CPA Program Rules and Regulations—applicable to Candidates or Members enrolled in the CPA Program;
- Foundation Exams Rules and Regulations—applicable to Candidates or Members enrolled in a Foundation exam;
- Non-disclosure Agreement (NDA)—applicable to Candidates or Members sitting an Exam;
- Pearson VUE Policies and Procedures—applicable to Candidates or Members sitting an Exam;
- Pearson VUE Online Proctored Exam Policies—applicable to Candidates or Members sitting an Online Proctored Exam; and/or
- Associate or CPA Membership Terms and Conditions—applicable to Associate or full Members of CPA Australia.
Together, these are referred to as the Terms and Conditions.
A breach of this Policy or any of the Terms and Conditions may result in Candidates and Members being subject to outcomes at CPA Australia’s sole discretion, including as set out in Section 4.4.
This policy applies to all Candidates and Members, enrolled in or undertaking an Exam.
CPA Australia staff will continuously promote, demonstrate, and implement the principles of Academic Integrity.
This policy only applies to matters relating to Academic Misconduct. For other conduct or disciplinary matters, refer to the CPA Australia website.
2.2 Related Policies and Documents
The following documents should be read and considered in conjunction with this policy:
- A commitment to six fundamental values: honesty, trust, fairness, respect, responsibility, and courage. These are further set out in Section 4.1.
- Academic Misconduct
- An action(s) or behaviour(s) likely to result in an unfair academic advantage, including advantaging or disadvantaging a Candidate and regardless of whether it is unintentional.
- A person (whether a Member of CPA Australia or not) who has enrolled in a subject as part of the CPA Program or Foundation exams.
- Disciplinary Tribunal
- As defined in CPA Australia’s By-Laws.
- An assessment completed by Candidates and/or Members enrolled in either the Foundation exams or CPA Program, which is administered at a test centre or online by CPA Australia’s Exam delivery partner.
- Intellectual Property
- Intellectual property (IP) or intellectual property rights (IP rights): This includes industrial and intellectual property rights of whatever nature throughout the world, conferred under statute, common law or equity, including but not limited to copyright, trademarks, trade, business, domain or company names, trade secrets, know-how, patents, inventions and discoveries whether or not registered or registrable, and includes the right to apply for, register or renew the registration of such rights and all other intellectual property as defined in article 2 of the convention of the World Intellectual Property Organisation 1967; and includes any subject matter, whether tangible or intangible, that attracts or is susceptible to protection by such rights including course materials, Exam papers, guidelines, policies, online and electronic content of any kind, information, and any other protected rights and assets.
- Either an Associate member or a full member of CPA Australia, admitted in accordance with the Constitution and By-laws of CPA Australia.
- Online Proctored Exam
- Exams conducted online from a candidate’s home, office or other suitable location while being monitored by a remote proctor/invigilator.
- Registered Tuition Provider
- Tuition providers that have been approved by CPA Australia to deliver face-to-face and/or online tuition to Candidates and/or Members for the Foundation exams and CPA Program. These providers are considered to have met the quality standards required, and their study materials are approved by CPA Australia. A list of Registered Tuition Providers can be found on the CPA Australia website.
4. Policy requirements
4.1 Fundamental Principles of Academic Integrity
CPA Australia is committed to ensuring that all Candidates and Members conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent with the following fundamental principles of Academic Integrity1:
- Honesty - Always ensuring that you are honest in all interactions with other Candidates, Members and CPA Australia staff;
- Trust - Always acting in a manner that promotes trust and transparency in values, processes and outcomes with other Candidates, Members and CPA Australia staff;
- Fairness - Always demonstrating a commitment to behaving fairly in all aspects of your academic conduct when interacting with other Candidates, Members and CPA Australia staff;
- Respect - Always showing respect for oneself as well as other Candidates, Members and CPA Australia staff;
- Responsibility - Always taking responsibility for maintaining ethical standards which drive and inform your academic conduct and approach to learning and development; and
- Courage - Always having the courage to act in accordance with your values and hold yourself and others to the highest standards of Academic Integrity.
1 Based on The Fundamental Values of Academic Integrity as defined by the International Center for Academic Integrity 2014.
Any behaviours or actions that are inconsistent with, or violate, the above fundamental principles of Academic Integrity may constitute Academic Misconduct and will be investigated in accordance with the processes outlined within this policy.
CPA Australia does not endorse or encourage the use of unauthorised tuition providers. A list of Registered Tuition Providers can be found on the CPA Australia website. Any tuition providers who are not listed on the registered tuition provider list are not affiliated with CPA Australia, and CPA Australia has no oversight of the content or tuition services shared by these providers.
Types of Academic Misconduct may include, but are not limited to, the following.
Misuse of Intellectual Property
Misuse of CPA Australia’s proprietary information and breaching of obligations under the Non-disclosure Agreement (NDA) is considered a type of Academic Misconduct. This includes intentionally or negligently possessing, sharing, distributing, reproducing, publishing, translating, or communicating, in whole or part, any Exam or course materials produced by CPA Australia before, during or after its administration.
The following actions are considered as Misuse of Intellectual Property:
- engaging in the services of an unauthorised tuition provider, where the provider is sharing, distributing, publishing, or communicating information including content relating to an Exam;
- any engagement in exam discussion or recollection, whereby content from an Exam is shared, reproduced, communicated, or translated for the purpose of helping others (including a person or service) to gain an academic and/or financial advantage; and
- sharing, or sharing translations of, CPA Australia’s materials on file-sharing sites, public repositories, or social media.
Any misuse of CPA Australia's Intellectual Property (including, but not limited to, the sharing of or commercialisation of Exam questions) will constitute a breach of this policy and the Terms and Conditions and may result in legal action for infringement of Intellectual Property rights including the seeking of financial remedies and/or Candidates and Members being subject to the outcomes set out in Section 4.4 of this Policy.
Exam cheating (including e-cheating)
Exam cheating encompasses a broad range of dishonest actions or behaviours that breach the Terms and Conditions for the purpose of gaining an unfair academic advantage. The following actions and behaviours are considered as Exam Cheating:
- unauthorised use of information, materials, devices, sources or practices in completing academic activities including possessing and/or using a prohibited item during an Exam (e.g. unapproved calculator, mobile phone, smart technologies, Bluetooth-enabled device and any generative artificial intelligence);
- breaches of the Pearson VUE Policies and Procedures and/or Pearson VUE Online Proctored Exam Policies;
- communicating, or attempting to communicate, with another person or third-party during the Exam (who is not the Exam Invigilator) for the purpose of gaining an academic advantage (for self or others);
- intentionally suspending an Exam through deliberately causing a technical issue;
- discussing an Exam with another person before, during or after its administration; and
- running and/or using (whether directly or indirectly) any program/process or software during the Exam for the benefit of possessing, sharing, distributing, reproducing, publishing, translating, or communicating (in whole or part) the contents of the Exam.
Impersonation is a form of cheating whereby an individual, and or generative artificial intelligence, pretends to be someone else for an Exam (includes all or part of the Exam) – this may also be referred to as candidate substitution, proxy testing, or contract cheating. The following actions are considered as Impersonation:
- allowing someone else to sit an Exam for you (for all or part of the Exam);
- use of generative artificial intelligence (including ChatGPT) to complete any part of the Exam;
- sitting an Exam for someone else (for all or part of the Exam); and/or
- allowing someone else to access your device and complete the Exam on your behalf.
Collusion is a type of Academic Misconduct that involves an individual engaging with one or more persons and/or services to seek, obtain or share questions and/or answers in respect of an Exam. This may be for the purpose of providing an individual with an academic advantage or to obtain financial gain. The following actions are considered as collusion either online or in person:
- ‘helping’ a friend with their Exam and telling them the questions you, or someone else, were asked in the Exam (and/or how to answer each of the questions);
- asking someone else what questions they saw in the Exam; and
- working with another individual or group of individuals to share questions and/or answers in the Exam with one another; and
- any engagement in exam discussion or recollection, whereby content from an Exam is discussed for the purpose of helping others (including a person or service) to gain an academic and/or financial advantage.
Plagiarism is considered as the practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as one's own without acknowledgement of the original source.
For the avoidance of doubt, the following actions are considered as Plagiarism:
- reproduction or publishing of content written by someone else, including another Candidate or Member of CPA Australia; and
- reproducing or copying (in whole or part) the written responses of another person and submitting these as your own within an Exam.
Academic Misconduct is strictly prohibited for all Candidates and Members and will constitute a breach of this policy and the Terms and Conditions. Academic Misconduct may result in legal action for infringement of Intellectual Property rights, which may include the seeking of financial remedies.
Candidates and Members must:
- Always comply with the requirements of this policy and the Terms and Conditions
- Always consider whether your behaviours and actions are aligned to the fundamental principles of Academic Integrity;
- Never engage in Academic Misconduct; and
- Always report any violations or suspected violations of this policy and/or potential occurrences of Academic Misconduct that you observe to CPA Australia.
4.3 Management of suspected Academic Misconduct
CPA Australia takes a three-stage approach to allegations of Academic Misconduct:
- Identify a suspected incident of Academic Misconduct;
- Assess the nature and impact of the suspected Academic Misconduct; and
- Investigate the suspected incident of Academic Misconduct.
These are described in more detail below:
CPA Australia has mechanisms in place to identify suspected incidents of Academic Misconduct, including but not limited to reports produced by CPA Australia’s exam delivery partners, web-monitoring services and data forensic services.
Academic Misconduct may also be identified and reported by other Candidates and Members who have observed suspected incidents of Academic Misconduct.
The Member Education Business Unit is responsible for completing a preliminary investigation of the incident(s) relating to the suspected Academic Misconduct to assess the nature, extent and significance of the suspected Academic Misconduct. The assessment will consider the:
- Type of misconduct;
- Severity of the misconduct and impact on the integrity of the Exam process;
- Whether the Candidate and/or Member has gained an academic advantage, and the nature of such an advantage to self and others and disadvantage to others;
- Prior history of previous Academic Misconduct by the Candidate; and
- Reputational or financial risk to CPA Australia.
Individuals will be informed of the allegations against them, and the process that will be followed by CPA Australia in dealing with the allegations. Individuals will be provided an opportunity to respond to the allegations. All responses will be considered by CPA Australia as part of the investigation conducted.
The Member Education Business Unit may refer a Member to CPA Australia’s Professional Conduct Unit during the investigation process should they establish sufficient grounds to refer a Member based on the suspected academic misconduct.
During the investigation of suspected Academic Misconduct, CPA Australia has the right to do each or all of the following, pending the outcome of the investigation:
- Request a written response to the allegations within the prescribed timeframe stated in the allegation letter (additional time and/or an alternative method of response may be permitted if considered appropriate or necessary in the circumstances);
- Withhold the release of an Exam result;
- Impose conditions on future Exams (including but not limited to sitting in a specified modality and/or date and time);
- Cancellation of an enrolment into a subject; and
- Suspend enrolment in any subject;
The Disciplinary Tribunal may also suspend Membership.
If Academic Misconduct is suspected or established by CPA Australia after the release of exam results, CPA Australia has the right to retrospectively investigate the matter.
4.4 Potential actions for Academic Misconduct
The Member Education Business Unit, at their sole discretion, may refer the suspected incident to CPA Australia’s Professional Conduct Unit if the incident relates to a Member. Members who are referred to the Professional Conduct Unit will be notified by CPA Australia in writing. Once referred, the Professional Conduct Unit will investigate the allegation further and if necessary, refer the matter to a Disciplinary Tribunal. If a matter is referred to the Disciplinary Tribunal, a Member will be notified and the proceedings are heard in confidence. A Disciplinary Tribunal is made up of both CPA Australia Members and non-members and is independent of CPA Australia. Outcomes from a Disciplinary Tribunal may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- 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; and
- Failure of a subject.
Further information on the penalties the Disciplinary Tribunal may apply are listed on the CPA Australia website. Any Disciplinary Tribunal outcomes are communicated to the Member and are published on the CPA Australia website.
Where Academic Misconduct by a Candidate (non-member) is suspected or established, CPA Australia may take actions necessary to address the incident(s), including but not limited to, the following:
- A note of caution;
- An official warning;
- The inability to enrol in a CPA Program and/or Foundation exam;
- The inability to submit any application for assessment (including a skilled migration assessment or membership assessment) with CPA Australia;
- Failure of a subject;
- Conditions imposed in respect of an Exam; and
- Exclusion from admission as a Member.
Candidates (non-members) will be notified in writing of the investigation’s outcome and will be informed of any penalties and/or actions by the Executive General Manager, Member Education.
4.5 Appeal process
Members who are found to have violated the Academic Misconduct policy by the Disciplinary Tribunal are entitled to submit an appeal against the adjudication or the associated outcome, within 20 business days of the outcome being lodged (as per clause 5.7 of the CPA Australia By Laws).
Further details can be found on the CPA Australia website.
4.6 Support for Candidates
CPA Australia acknowledges that the process of investigating and assessing potential occurrences of Academic Misconduct can be stressful for impacted Candidates and Members. As part of the process of investigation, Candidates or Members can bring a support person to any interviews and/or hearing. Candidates may wish to consider:
- Accessing independent advice or external services to support them; and
- Engaging external counselling services.
In accordance with CPA Australia By-Laws, all Disciplinary Tribunal outcomes are published on the CPA Australia website.