Academic Integrity Policy

Main Content

Definition and expectations: Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest and responsible manner. Academic integrity is a basic guiding principle that the ACMA and its board members take very seriously. All candidates in a program are expected to act in accordance with this principle.

Academic Integrity
Definition and expectations: Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest and responsible manner. Consistent with this expectation, all candidates should act with personal integrity to help foster an environment in which is indicative of the highest standards of academic pursuit in an ethical manner. (Students and/or individuals in this document refer to person(s) enrolled in an ACMA educational program)
Academic integrity includes a commitment not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation or deception. Such acts of dishonesty violate the fundamental ethical principles of the our community and compromise the worth of work completed by others.
To protect the rights and maintain the trust of honest individuals and support appropriate behavior, the ACMA provides sanctions related to academic dishonesty.

Academic and Disciplinary Sanctions
The ACMA procedures provide for two types of sanctions: academic sanctions and disciplinary sanctions. Academic sanctions range from a warning to removal from the educational program, and include deductions of points or alterations in grades. Academic sanctions are ultimately determined by the chief academic officer. Disciplinary sanctions may be recommended and can include expulsion from the academic program.

ACMA Exam Policy
To implement ACMA policy on academic dishonesty in the most clear and unambiguous manner, the ACMA utilizes ProctorU, a proctoring company dedicated to ensuring that testing is done in the most ethical manner. Being that our educational programs are online, students are recorded via video and audio recording to ensure that there is no behavior indicative of cheating or misrepresentation of their person/identity during the exam.

Student Conduct
The ACMA expects that all course work will be done on an individual basis unless alternate instructions state an alternative is acceptable. Any reference materials used in the preparation of an assignment, whether quoted or paraphrased, must be explicitly cited. In an examination setting, unless the proctor gives explicit prior instructions to the contrary, violations of academic integrity shall consist of any attempt to receive assistance from any person or papers or electronic devices, or of any attempt to give assistance, whether the student doing so has completed his or her own work or not. Other violations include, but are not limited to, any attempt to gain an unfair advantage in regard to an examination, such as tampering with a graded exam or claiming another's work to be one's own as well as utilizing materials (electronic or otherwise) that provide an unfair advantage during the exam testing period.

Infractions

Uncontested Cases
The chief academic officer will arrange a meeting with the student(s) involved, confront them with the information suggesting inappropriate conduct, and ask for an explanation. In cases where more than one student participated in the infraction, it is usually best to confront them together. If the student does not deny the allegation(s) of academic dishonesty, the chief academic officer shall assign an academic sanction using the guidelines (see below)

Contested Cases
If the student denies the allegation(s) of academic dishonesty, the student is to be provided with an explanation of the information in support of the allegation(s). If the student continues to deny the allegation(s), the chief academic officer will instruct the individual(s) to send in writing an email indicating that they contest the accusation(s).

Failure to Send a Written Correspondence
If after notification of a violation of academic integrity, the individual fails to send a written correspondence contesting the accusation, the ACMA will enter the case as "uncontested" on the student's behalf.

Guidelines for Supporting Documentation
The chief academic officer has the responsibility to gather information and documentation which indicates in a clear and convincing way that the student's conduct did violate the academic integrity policies of the ACMA. Since criminal law principles do not apply to the academic living-learning environment, the burden is not on the instructor to 'prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt', as in the courts. Clear and convincing documentation ("supporting information") typically requires the following conditions to be met:

  1. If the supporting information is circumstantial, or subjective in nature, then two corroboratory pieces of information will be required. For example, if a student was observed looking away to the right or left consistently during an exam, then a statement by a proctor attesting to this shall constitute a single piece of supporting information. The second piece of information could be the additional suspicious behavior during the testing period showing significant inappropriate behavior.
  2. Single pieces of supporting information are acceptable if they constitute a "smoking gun", e.g., a cheat sheet, possession of two exam copies, formulae programmed into calculators, another student's name appearing on the exam or the same student observed attending two exams at different times.

In cases where these conditions are met, the chief academic officer is encouraged and authorized to maximally sanction the student, using the guidelines described below. If sufficient supporting documentation (as outlined above) is NOT available to warrant academic sanction, but the chief academic officer nonetheless feels a dishonest act has occurred, then the ACMA will send the individual a letter of warning outlining the ACMA policy on Academic Integrity. Copies of all information, documents, and records pertaining to the case will be placed in the student's file. This letter will remain confidential and may ONLY be used if a second incident against this student is later brought to the attention of the ACMA. This warning letter cannot be used to establish responsibility retroactively, but can be used to assign a sanction.

Categories of Infractions and Assignment of Sanctions
Listed below are guidelines that are used to determine the severity of the dishonest action. These are guidelines only. The ultimate decision is left to the chief academic officer who will make a decision as to what is appropriate to upgrade a violation and they may do so upon consultation with the Board of Governors.
In general: minor infractions involve errors in judgment without a clear intent by the student to violate academic integrity; moderate infractions are unpremeditated dishonest acts that directly affect only one student; and major infractions are premeditated dishonest acts, or dishonest acts.

Minor Infractions

  • A student acts suspiciously during an exam.
  • A student copies information to be used in a closed book board exam.
  • A student reads questions allowed during an exam.

Major Infractions

  • A student poses, or facilitates the posing of, someone else during an exam.
  • A student cheats, or facilitates the cheating of another, on an examination, in a way that is premeditated (e.g. using a cheat sheet, a prearranged system of sharing answers, or some similar method that was planned in advance).
  • A student steals the work of another and uses it as his or her own.
  • A student steals an examination
  • A student causes another student's score to be lower through their actions (e.g., rearranging locating pins on a lab practical, stealing public copies of sample examinations, tampering with data sets).
  • A student attempts to take the same exam more than once: one time under a fictitious name, one time under their real name.
  • A student claims to have taken an exam (when, in fact, they did not) then claims the system "lost" the exam.
  • A student tampers in any manner with any course or ACMA record.

Assignment of Sanctions
Sanction assignment is at the discretion of the chief academic officer, within the guidelines set out by the ACMA. In general, minor infractions involve warnings. However, major infractions generally involve failure and expulsion from an ACMA program. An individual may be allowed to retake an exam or enroll in an ACMA program after waiting a period of at least 1 year and would require special permissions from the chief academic officer.
Any questions or concerns about the ACMA academic integrity policy should be directed towards info@medicalaffairsspecialist.org

The ACMA Accreditation Team