Contract cheating

Student Identity Verified Assessment

Assessment Design Workshops

Dr Christine Slade & A/Prof Susan Rowland

Contract cheating website services are a serious threat to academic integrity in universities because they challenge the authenticity of student authorship in assessment. Current plagiarism detection strategies do not catch contract cheating students because their purchased assessments responses are individualised and users’ details are hidden behind sophisticated fire walls.  In response we need to ensure that students genuinely complete work for which they get university credit.  This project aims to bring together the creative minds of academics, learning designers and others experiences in assessment design across the university sector to develop a collection of high stakes assessment case studies to demonstrate ways to strengthen the verification of student identity in undertaking these tasks.

View workshop resources

Reports on contract cheating

Custom essay writing services: an exploration and next steps for the UK higher education sector

By the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) 2016, United Kingdom

This report explores the growing threat to UK higher education from custom essay writing services, or ‘essay mills’. It looks at how these services operate, gives examples from their websites, and highlights the claims they make, in particular their guarantees of being ‘plagiarism free’.  It also includes a series of recommendations and specific actions QAA will take to begin to tackle the promotion and use of custom essay writing services.

Download a pdf of the report here.

Identifying and managing contract cheating

Dealing with contract cheating: a question of attribution

  • a downloadable powerpoint presentation by Thomas Lancaster and Robert Clarke (2012)

Contract cheating fact sheet

  • a downloadable guide to identifying and managing contract cheating in assessment tasks by Cath Ellis of the University of NSW (2015)

Photo: University Life 174 by Fransisco Osorio. Creative Commons License (BY 2.0).