Articles and Case Studies

Alleged Academic Misconduct

21 Sep 2012

A second year medical student had completed his Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) stations and was part of a group being 'quarantined' from the next group to be examined.

During this time, it was noted that he spoke to the group yet to be examined. This occurred despite being asked by the examination coordinator not to speak to those students and not to use his phone. After the examination, the coordinator reported the student's conduct to the Examination Committee.

A few weeks later, the student received a letter from the Examination Committee stating that an allegation of academic misconduct had been made against him and asking him to attend a meeting with a representative of the Committee and the Associate Dean. The letter concluded that the Committee had a duty to maintain academic standards, including conduct, and if the allegation of academic misconduct was found to be substantiated, disciplinary action would be taken against him, which could include failure to progress to third year.

The student sought advice and discussed his conduct with MDA National's Medico-legal Advisory Services team. The Medico-legal Adviser accompanied the student to the meeting with the Examination Committee representative and Associate Dean. At the meeting, the student acknowledged his conduct had been unacceptable and apologised for his actions on the day. The student said he had reflected on his conduct and would not behave in such an unprofessional manner in future.

Fortunately, no formal penalty was imposed on the student and he was able to proceed to year three of his medical course.

Lessons Learned

  • Be aware of your conduct before, during and after examinations, and follow all reasonable instructions given by the examination provider.
  • Contact our 24 hour Medical Advisory Service if faced with an allegation of academic misconduct.



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