Contract Cheating and Academic Integrity in Higher Education: What Can Universities, Governments and Quality Assurance Agencies Do to Understand, Prevent and Respond to the Challenge?

Kuwait International Law School Journal, Special Supplement 4(1) 219-274, 2019

42 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2020

See all articles by Myra Williamson

Myra Williamson

University of Waikato; Kuwait International Law School

Date Written: March 20, 2019

Abstract

There is a global challenge to higher education posed by “contract cheating”. “Contract cheating” occurs when a student contracts a third party to create an assignment for them, and then the student submits it as their own work. This particularly insidious form of cheating has been exacerbated by the commodification of higher education and the increasingly popular “sharing economy”.

Contract cheating not only threatens the academic integrity of the individual student’s grades and their degree; it also raises suspicion about all the degrees awarded by an institution. Globally, universities have been struggling to combat contract cheating. This paper defines and describes the problem and then summarizes the findings of recent research and offers solutions.

New Zealand was one of the first countries to criminalize contract cheating. A legal approach is a solution which every country needs to consider because it directly targets the commercial entities creating the product. A pedagogical approach requires universities to be proactive and there are many things which universities can do to reduce and manage the problem. A quality assurance approach can involve national quality assurance agencies working with government departments and tertiary education providers to conduct research and provide guidance to all universities.

This paper draws on recent research produced by the accreditation agencies, individual researchers, and university organizations. It refers to research in selected countries—especially New Zealand, Australia and the UK—to counteract contract cheating. The solutions will be of interest to all universities, quality assurance agencies and governments because contract cheating is a global problem which challenges the academic integrity of every higher education institution.

Keywords: Contract cheating, Student cheating, Outsourcing of assessment, Academic integrity, Ghost-writing, Essay mills, Teaching and learning practices, Curriculum design

JEL Classification: I120, I123, K10, I121, K30, K40, K42, K49

Suggested Citation

Williamson, Myra, Contract Cheating and Academic Integrity in Higher Education: What Can Universities, Governments and Quality Assurance Agencies Do to Understand, Prevent and Respond to the Challenge? (March 20, 2019). Kuwait International Law School Journal, Special Supplement 4(1) 219-274, 2019 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3621713

Myra Williamson (Contact Author)

University of Waikato ( email )

New Zealand

Kuwait International Law School ( email )

Block 4, Building 800005
Doha City, Jahra 93151
Kuwait

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