A renewed focus on academic integrity to combat contract cheating

The QAA has recently published a report on contract cheating in higher education, which encourages, among other things, a focus on academic integrity to help address contract cheating.

The 37-page report was researched and written in response to higher education sector concerns about the use of ‘essay mills’ by students to engage in contract cheating on assessments. It highlights how student use of a third-party contracted to author an assignment puts at risk the equity, validity, and reliability of assessments, and by extension the qualifications students receive, and for professional qualifications also poses potential risk to the public of individuals practicing without sufficient knowledge or skills.

Included in the report are recommendations and guidance for creating a culture of academic integrity, which it says will support good academic practice and discourage misconduct in assessments. The report notes that everyone in higher education plays an important role in developing and sustaining this culture and offers specific guidance for supporting students, staff, policy development, and so on in institutions.

Following the publication, the HEA published a blog post that discusses academic integrity and offers some useful guidance on how we can evaluate and enhance assessment practice to ensure academic integrity. It also includes links to useful resources on improving assessment practice. The post was also published by HEFCE here last week.

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