Students’ Links
  Essay Writing
  Group Work
  Oral Presentation
  Study Tips / Exams
  Text Study
  Text Study Strategies
  Useful Links
  VCE English Studies
  Policy on Intellectual Theft / Plagiarism  

‘Intellectual theft’ is a euphemism for cheating — the act of stealing someone else's work and claiming ownership.

‘Misrepresentation’, such as wearing School colours, special honorary badges, using certificates or qualifications that have been awarded to someone else, is also a form of intellectual theft.

‘Plagiarism’ is a synonym for cheating and is the act of taking and using, for example, the thoughts, writings, inventions, creations or oral presentations of another person as one's own. The word, plagiarise, stems from the Latin plagiarius, meaning 'kidnapper' - one who steals something and demands a ransom. So, a plagiarist is someone who steals something and wants credit for it - a most underhanded, deceitful and unlawful action. Plagiarism can take a number of forms, such as:

Copying: exactly reproducing another's words
Paraphrasing: expressing the meaning of another's words in different words
Summarising: reproducing the main points of another's argument
Cobbling: copying, paraphrasing or summarising the work of a number of different people and piecing them together to produce one body of text

None of these practices is wrong in itself, but use of one or more, without acknowledgement, constitutes plagiarism, and will not be tolerated. Therefore, all sources must be adequately and accurately acknowledged.*

Intellectual theft is a serious crime in the adult world and forms the basis of much expensive litigation. Both Melbourne High School and the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) maintain that students will be penalised for plagiarism, which is a serious breach of rules. The VCAA's statistical analysis comparing student's School Assessed Coursework / Task results with their GAT results and any available examination results in the same study is used to identify students with unexpectedly high results in their school assessments. For each student identified, schools will be notified of the need to review the authenticity of the student's school-assessed work and the student's understanding of the work. The school must then report the outcomes to the VCAA.


Melbourne High School sets down six general rules that all students in years 9, 10, 11 and 12 must observe when preparing work for assessment. These rules apply to all examinations, tests, assessment tasks, homework tasks, VCE School Assessed Coursework and VCE School Assessed Tasks. They are:
A student must ensure that all unacknowledged work submitted for assessment is genuinely his own.
A student must acknowledge all resources used, including:
• Texts, media material, visual material, websites and any other source material that is the intellectual property of someone else.
• The name(s) and status of any person(s) who provided assistance and the type of assistance provided.
A student must not receive undue assistance from any other person in the preparation and submission of work.
Unacceptable forms of assistance include:
• Use of, or copying of, another person's work or other resources without acknowledgment
• Corrections or improvements made or dictated by another person.
Acceptable levels of assistance include:
• The incorporation of ideas or material derived from other sources (e.g. by reading, viewing or note-taking) but which has been transformed by the student and used in a new context, and
• Prompting and general advice from another person or source which leads to refinements and/or self-correction.
A student must not submit the same piece of work for assessment in more than one subject.
A student who knowingly assists other students in a breach of rules may be penalised.
A student must observe the examination and test conditions that apply to each subject; anything outside these conditions constitutes cheating.
Consequences for breaking assessment rules
Should a student breach these rules, the appropriate penalties will apply, as set out below:
The student will be reprimanded through detention, suspension or expulsion.
The work that infringes the rules will not be accepted and the decision to award the outcome N (not satisfactory) or S (satisfactory) will be made upon the remainder of the work.
A teacher can refuse to accept any part of the work if the infringement is judged as a serious authentication issue and
N will be awarded for the outcome
NA will be submitted for the School-Assessed Coursework or School-Assessed Task.
Teachers have been asked to report to the appropriate Year Level Coordinator when a breach of rules is apparent. The Year Level Coordinator, or in serious cases, the Principal, shall determine which of the above penalties shall be imposed. This may result in a change of the original outcome result from S to N. At VCE level, if N is awarded for an outcome, then, as a consequence, N will be awarded for the unit concerned. Similarly, the detected breach of rules may result in a score change for the task. In the case of VCE units, this score change is to be communicated to the VCAA.

If there is sufficient time before the due dates designated by the School or the VCAA, the student may have the opportunity to resubmit work for satisfactory completion.

Need help? Read the MHS Anti-Plagiarism Guide
* The forms of plagiarism, as defined, are extracts from Steven Tudor's A Guide to Researching and Writing Philosophy Essays, 3rd edition, for The Department of Philosophy, The University of Melbourne, 1997.
Last up-dated 12 November, 2012
Website constructed and maintained by G. Marotous, 2004
© George Marotous. Melbourne High School English Faculty