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SBE master’s students accused of plagiarism

MAASTRICHT. Now that the first online exams have been made, there are also the first cases of fraud. For example, ten out of the hundred master’s students who did the take-home exam for the subject of Behavioural Finance this week, used exactly the same words to answer a number of questions. They will get a NG (No Grade) for their exams and each will be asked to individually provide an explanation to the Examination Board.

Every essay, paper or take-home exam that is submitted to the School of Business and Economics is automatically run through a ‘ plagiarism checker’, says Thomas Post, assistant professor of Finance and responsible for this exam. This is also what happened with the work by his students, who had three hours to answer the questions. ‘’This plagiarism checker highlights sections of text that also occur in other documents. Of course, all my questions were coloured, but in some documents the answers were also highlighted. It struck me that the sections were literally identical. How likely is it that you use exactly the same words as someone else when you need to give arguments and evidence of proof?’’

On the other hand, he heard from his best students that those three hours ‘’were quite short for the task at hand. So, they didn’t have much time to work together.’’

After consultation with the Examination Board on Wednesday, 1 April, it was decided to follow the standard procedure, says Post. ‘’Students who have appearances against them, will get a NG (No Grade). Their exams will go to the Examination Board, which will invite each of them for a talk.’’

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