Students in the Digital Analysis course at the ANU will be forced to re-take an exam, potentially delaying their graduation, after the university confirmed a data leak last week.
“The need for a class to re-sit an exam is extremely rare, and is only undertaken when absolutely required,” an ANU spokesperson said after security protocols successfully identified that a breach had occurred.
“The leak has seriously compromised the academic integrity of the exam, to the point where ANU has no other option but to require a re-sit by all students enrolled in the course.”
ANU says the leak was not a cyberattack and that no systems were compromised, with a range of measures already in place to ensure the integrity of course assessments.
“This incident came to light as part of the reporting processes the university has in place for academic integrity. The university is grateful to our students and staff who promptly escalated concerns about the integrity of this assessment for university action,” an ANU spokesperson says.
“This matter is being treated very seriously. ANU is investigating the cause and how this type of incident can be prevented in the future.”
The ANU is the latest national institution to report a digital security or privacy issue in recent months, following revelations of data breaches at Parliament House and the Australian Institute of Sport.
However, some students are more worried about the logistics of having to re-sit their exam, with supplementary assessments being offered in November or January next year. Those opting for a 2020 re-sit won’t be eligible to graduate in December.
The unexpected change of events means some students need to organise to return to Canberra from interstate, or internationally, while others will need to extend their stay in the Territory until they can complete the re-sit.
While the university says it regrets the inconvenience to students who need to re-take the exam, the process is necessary to ensure that academic quality isn’t impacted.
“This action is in the students’ best interest. What makes ANU graduates so employable is the credibility and rigour of their academic qualification; we simply will not compromise on this,” ANU says.
“Any students who feel in any way disadvantaged by these measures are able to follow the university’s assessment appeals process.
“The university will consider alternative exam arrangements and provide support for students affected by this process. If a student experiences financial hardship related to the re-sit then we would encourage them to contact us individually for specific advice and support.”
Students can also direct their inquiries, comments or concerns directly to their academic department.