Poor Academic Practice guidelines


These guidelines apply to all students and staff members of the University. 


The purpose of these guidelines is to provide additional information for staff members and students on the category of academic integrity incident known as ‘Poor Academic Practice’. 


The University has three levels of classification for breaches of academic integrity that occur in the preparation and submission of coursework, tests and research work. The three levels are: Poor Academic Practice; Minor Academic Misconduct; and Major Academic Misconduct. 

These guidelines provide additional information on Poor Academic Practice (PAP).  

Note: the introduction of PAP in the Student Academic Conduct Statute 2020 means that ‘naïve or inadvertent’ is no longer used as a category of academic misconduct. 


PAP provides an opportunity for staff to support students early in their academic career to identify and correct poor practices in their academic work. There are no penalties associated with Poor Academic Practice. A course director may adjust marks, but only to correct any unfair advantage the student may have gained as a result of the practice in question. 

PAP records are retained on the Academic Integrity Management System


Poor Academic Practice applies only to coursework; it does not apply to academic integrity breaches in invigilated tests or exams, nor does it apply to research. 

PAP applies only to undergraduate students in their first year of tertiary study in New Zealand, or postgraduate coursework students in their first semester or two quarters of tertiary study in New Zealand. This is because students at the start of their university studies in New Zealand may still be learning about the principles of academic integrity and the expected conventions and practices of academic work. Students in later years of study in the New Zealand system will have had the opportunity to familiarise themselves with these principles and conventions and occasions to practise them. 


Identifying poor academic practice 

PAP is determined, in the first instance, by the course director or academic unit/faculty Academic Integrity Adviser (AIA)

In determining whether the incident is Poor Academic Practice, staff should check: 

[for UG students] whether the student is in their first year of tertiary study in New Zealand

[for PG coursework students] whether the student is in their first semester or two quarters of PG study in New Zealand. 

Note: To determine whether a student is eligible for Poor Academic Practice their record should be checked in Student Services Online (CS9). Discretion may be used where a student is enrolled part-time or re-enrolled after a long absence from study. 

The following matters must also be considered:

  • was the breach minor with respect to the overall impact of the breach on the academic integrity of the work? Minor breaches will usually be related to poor referencing or  paraphrasing practices. If the breach is not minor with respect to the overall integrity of the work, it may be that the incident should be categorised as ‘minor academic misconduct’ and the breaches of academic integrity process should be followed. 
  • the likelihood that the breach is the result of a deliberately dishonest act
  • whether the student has a prior record of academic integrity breach or academic misconduct. If the student has a prior academic misconduct record in the Academic Integrity Management System they are not eligible for PAP and the process for minor and major academic misconduct should be followed. A student can have more than one PAP, but only if they are for different incidents, e.g. one for plagiarism and one for collaboration.
  • the legitimate interests of others
  • the interests and reputation of the University

If the course director or AIA considers the incident to qualify as PAP the process for Poor Academic Practice must be followed.


Notifying the student

Following a breach of academic integrity, the Course Director and/or Academic Integrity Adviser are encouraged to inform students of the allegation via email, and then interview them about suspected PAP or misconduct.  An email template and guidance on how to conduct interviews can be found on the Breaches of Academic Integrity website. 


Processing the case

All PAP cases must be reported using the Academic Integrity Breach Reporting Form. This feeds the breach into the Academic Integrity Management System (AIMS), where all breaches of academic integrity are managed centrally by the Academic Quality Office. 


Disputed finding

If the Course Director/Academic Integrity Adviser upholds the finding and the student disagrees the student may ask the Academic Head to review the finding. This request will be made in writing by the student and acknowledged in writing by the Academic Head. The Academic Head may confirm the finding of PAP, determine that the incident should be treated as minor misconduct, or dismiss the findings of the Course Director/Academic Integrity Adviser. The Head will communicate the decision to the student [see Breaches of Academic Integrity website]. Where the finding is confirmed the Academic Head will advise the course director or Academic Integrity Adviser that the student will be advised in writing of the finding and the outcome (including educative advice and marks adjustment, if appropriate). The Academic Head will also inform the Academic Quality Office, who will update the Academic Integrity Management System accordingly. 


PAP records

Records of Poor Academic Practice are maintained in the Academic Integrity Management System.


The following definitions apply to these guidelines:  

An Academic Integrity Adviser is a member of academic staff in a faculty or academic unit who may act as the delegate of the Course Director to investigate academic integrity incidents.

Staff members means all individuals employed by the University or a full or part-time basis. 

University means the University of Auckland and includes all subsidiaries. 

Key resources

Document management and control

Owner: Provost 

Content manager: Manager, Academic Quality Office 

Approved: 7 September 2022

Due for review: 7 September 2025