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FAQs on SBA

Questions - Revised Procedures in Handling SBA Plagiarism cases:

    Authentication 
    Plagiarism prevention and Student Declaration Form
    Handling plagiarism cases
    Consequences

Answers:

Authentication

  1. Can students make reference to other sources in completing their SBA work?

    Students can make reference to sources but must not plagiarise. They should write in their own word and not simply copy other's work and ideas and present them as their own. It is important that students integrate what they have learnt from the reference materials and contribute their own ideas when they complete the task.

     

     

  2. How can teachers ensure that the SBA related work submitted is the students' own work?

    Teachers can adopt the following measures to ensure the authenticity of students' work: arranging for critical parts of the SBA to be completed in class under teacher supervision, monitoring students' progress regularly, and asking students to keep journals and drafts of their work and to present their work orally and answer questions, if necessary. There are Internet search engines and electronic detection tools which can help to detect plagiarism through comparison of students' work with original materials.

     

     

  3. Teachers need to make an effort to check students' work for plagiarism. Would this lead to significant increase of teachers' workload?

    The revised procedures do not involve major changes to how SBA is administered at schools but will ensure that a unified and consistent approach is adopted in the handling of all plagiarism cases. Teachers know their students well and should be able to detect plagiarism and other malpractice through suitable monitoring of students' work.

     

     

Plagiarism prevention and Student Declaration Form

  1. Can the HKEAA suggest methods to prevent plagiarism in SBA?

    The development of integrity is an important element in moral education. Both schools and parents play a role in teaching their students/children. It is of utmost importance that honesty is maintained in tests and examinations as well as in SBA. At the beginning of the course of study, students should be informed of what plagiarism is and its serious consequences, as well as how to quote and acknowledge sources properly in their work. Schools should ask their students to complete and sign a declaration form at the beginning of each school year in which SBA is undertaken to declare that all SBA tasks/assignments to be completed are their own work and agree to adhere to a code of honour in completing the SBA of all subjects.

     

     

  2. How should schools arrange for students to sign the Declaration Form?

    As the Declaration Form is applicable to all subjects and is to be completed by each student at the beginning of each school year in which SBA is undertaken, school leaders are expected to coordinate and assign suitable staff to take up this work.

     

     

  3. Do S4 students need to sign the Declaration Form?

    Generally speaking, SBA is conducted in S5 and S6, hence S5 and S6 students should be asked to sign the Declaration Form at the beginning of the two school years. In case schools need to start the SBA of certain subject(s) at S4, they should also ask S4 students to sign the Declaration Form at the beginning of the S4 school year.

     

     

  4. When will the revised procedures of requiring students to sign the new Declaration Form be effective? In case schools have already asked their students to sign subject-specific declaration forms earlier, do they still need to ask their students to sign the new form?

    The revised procedures have been implemented with effect from the 2013-14 school year. As the new Declaration Form can help students to better understand the importance of academic honesty and proper conduct in SBA, schools should ask their students to sign the new Declaration Form even if they have already signed the subject-specific declaration forms earlier.

     

     

  5. Do students need to sign other SBA documents or forms, apart from the new Student Declaration Form?

    Individual subjects may require students to sign subject-specific assessment record forms. Schools can also devise suitable documents that best meet their needs.

     

     

  6. If students have not signed the Declaration Form, does it mean that they will not be penalized when they are found to have plagiarised?

    The main purpose of signing the Declaration Form is to strengthen the message to students about academic honesty and proper conduct in SBA. The penalty to be imposed mainly depends on the severity of the offence, irrespective of whether students have signed the Declaration Form or not. Students should be responsible for ensuring that the work produced are their own and bear the consequences of committing plagiarism or other malpractice in SBA.

     

     

  7. Are the Student Declaration Form and Plagiarism Report (for serious cases) available in bilingual versions?

    Both the English and Chinese versions of the two documents have been uploaded to the HKEAA website for schools' use.

     

     

Handling plagiarism cases

  1. How to classify whether the plagiarism case is serious or not? Should 50% or below be classified as less serious and 60% or above a serious case?

    Different subjects have different assessment requirements so it is difficult to quantify the severity of the plagiarism. Generally speaking, serious plagiarism refers to cases in which the whole or nearly the whole SBA task/assignment is plagiarized, with very little or no contribution from the student. Teachers can refer to this guideline and the subject-specific requirements of the assessment to determine whether the plagiarism is serious or not. If necessary, schools can also seek advice from the HKEAA on actual cases.

     

     

  2. For proven plagiarism cases, can schools ask the relevant student to amend or re-submit their work?

    As SBA is conducted as an integral part of teaching and learning, teachers are expected to provide suitable guidance and feedback to students in case any irregularity is identified. If time permits and at the discretion of the school, students could be allowed to amend or re-submit their work within the period stipulated by the school, especially for unintentional or minor offences committed at the initial stage. On the other hand, once the assessment is completed and marks submitted to the HKEAA, no further changes should be made to the students' work or assessment records.

     

     

  3. Schools will be requested to follow up on suspected plagiarism cases identified by the HKEAA during the checking of samples of work. Can schools just change these cases to 'failure to submit' and award zero marks?

    No. As the course of learning and assessment has completed, schools should not return the work to the student for amendment, re-submission or treat it as 'failure to submit' at this stage, but have to follow up with those cases in accordance with HKEAA's guidelines and schools' procedures.

     

     

  4. Would those suspected plagiarism cases identified by the HKEAA during the review of samples of student's work be returned to the principal, panel head or subject teachers for follow up?

    As the SBA marks have been endorsed by the school principal before they are submitted to the HKEAA, any suspected cases identified will be returned to the school for follow up by the principal and teachers.

     

     

  5. For proven plagiarism cases, do schools need to inform students of the penalty imposed?

    Students should be informed of the penalty imposed and the final SBA marks awarded. Schools should handle any queries from their students about assessment decisions in accordance with their established internal procedures. Any queries from students should be resolved before submitting the SBA marks to the HKEAA. After the release of examination results, candidates may only submit applications to the HKEAA for rechecking of their SBA marks but cannot apply for a re-assessment of their performance in SBA.

     

     

  6. In case schools identify any plagiarism in student's work, do they need to submit the related work of the student to the HKEAA?

    Less serious plagiarism cases are to be dealt with by the school. These cases need not be reported to the HKEAA for follow-up. However, schools should keep a proper record of such cases. In case students committing less serious cases are chosen by the SBA System for sample submission to the HKEAA (for review and moderation purposes), the panel head should contact the SBA Team of the HKEAA to request for a change of student(s) for work submission. This is because penalty may have been imposed on these students and hence the marks awarded may not fairly reflect teachers' assessment standards. Detailed procedures are provided in the User Manual of the SBA System.

    Serious plagiarism cases (P cases) will not be chosen by the SBA System for sample submission. After the completion of mark submission, schools should submit a report for each case, together with the students' work and other related documents, to the SBA Team of the HKEAA for follow up.

     

     

Consequences

  1. What are the consequences of committing plagiarism in SBA?

    Copying from other sources, including the Internet, without quoting and acknowledging the sources properly in their work and passing off other's work as their own is a serious malpractice. Students will be subject to severe penalties for proven plagiarism. The HKDSE Examination Regulations stipulate that a candidate may be liable to disqualification from the subject concerned or the whole of the examination, or suffer a mark or grade penalty for breaching the regulations.

     

  2. Compared with the previous penalty of disqualification from the subject, are the revised penalties too lenient?

    In the past, if the plagiarism is identified by the school, the maximum penalty for serious plagiarism would be zero marks for the SBA of the relevant subject. Under the revised procedures, a downgrade by one level in addition to zero marks being given to the task concerned will be imposed for serious plagiarism cases. For extreme cases, e.g. repeated offence of plagiarism, student may even be subject to disqualification from the subject(s) concerned or the whole examination. Less serious cases are to be dealt with by the school, in accordance with their regulations and HKEAA's guidelines. Hence, the revised procedures can both deter students from committing plagiarism as well as provide students with opportunities for continuous improvement during the course of learning.