Redesigning assessments is the primary way to tackle the growing problem of contract cheating.
Recent suggestions focus on the development of authentic assessments: tasks that more closely mirror the real-world demands students will face after they graduate from university.
Widely used plagiarism-detection companies, such as Turnitin, can detect similarities to material that already exists.
But essay-writing companies loudly promote the fact their product is original.
Rather than simply completing an essay, for example, a history student might be tasked with interviewing a local non-profit organisation, and producing a podcast episode.
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Teachers who use authentic assessments hope to reduce cheating by tying learning to student’s hopes for their futures, but one obvious benefit is the difficulty of cheating in such individualised tasks.The growth in contract cheating speaks volumes about the modern view of education as a commodity.A recent survey, led by the University of South Australia, found international students demonstrated proportionately higher cheating behaviours.Yet the criminalisation of such services leads inevitably to the prosecution of cheating students, something the legal system has so far been reluctant to do.But even discounting the possibility of legal action, plagiarism has hefty consequences for university students under misconduct policies, including revoking course credits, expulsion, and a permanent record of cheating.Jedidiah Evans does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.New research on plagiarism at university has revealed students are surprisingly unconcerned about a practice known as “contract cheating”.A recent study on contract cheating in Australia concluded that the over-representation of non-native English speaking students in cheating surveys is linked to the failure of universities to provide support for language and learning development.Students are tasked with completing assessments for which they lack the basic English language skills.In 2017 alone, the UK’s Daily Telegraph reported more than 20,000 students had bought professionally written essays from the country’s two largest essay-writing services.According to a 2018 study, as many as 31 million university students worldwide are paying third parties to complete their assessments.