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Collusion means working on an assessment with someone else. Unless it is made explicitly clear that you have been given a joint assessment, you should never work directly with other students on your module or anyone else when creating your work. This includes students from other universities.

Collusion could occur if you and your peers discuss an assessment you are doing in too much detail. The marker will notice something wrong when they come to mark your work, and they notice it is very similar to the work of others.

It is OK to have someone proofread your work, to check grammar and spelling mistakes. This cannot be a student on the same module taking the same assessment. (Read our proofreading guidance for the rules on proofreading at Sussex). It is best to discuss your plans and ideas for your assessment with your tutor and ask them to give suggestions of books and sources to read for your assignment. But you should never accept help from anyone in creating new content for your work. As a general rule, the person helping you should not change the meaning of what you have written. 

Please refer to the collusion definition as set out in the University of Sussex Exams and Assessment regulations.


Collusion is the preparation or production of work for assessment jointly with another person or persons unless explicitly permitted by the assessment. An act of collusion is understood to encompass those who actively assist others or allow others to access their work prior to submission for assessment. In addition any student is guilty of collusion if they access and copy any part of the work of another to derive benefit irrespective of whether permission was given. Where joint preparation is permitted by the assessment but joint production is not, the submitted work must be produced solely by the student making the submission. Where joint production or joint preparation and production of work for assessment is specifically permitted, this must be published in the appropriate module documentation.

How to avoid committing collusion

Know what is expected of you

Even if your tutor has encouraged you to talk about your work together, do not assume it is okay to work as a group. If you are asked to do a joint assignment, this will be made very clear to you by your tutor and in you handbook. The assessment hand-in sheet will look different to a normal one.

If you are unsure whether you are expected to work as a group, or what the boundaries are, be cautious and speak to your tutor first.

Avoid discussing questions in detail

Do not discuss an assignment in detail with other students if you are working on the same question. Even if they do not work directly alongside you, they may come to exactly the same conclusion following a conversation they had with you, and this could be classed as collusion.

Be careful with your work

Do not lend your work to course-mates, or leave it where they can access it. It is an offence to knowingly allow others to use your work. Even if you trust them, you could get a nasty surprise if it turns out they copied some of your ideas.

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