Custom Essays And Contract Cheating – A Response

The story on custom essays from the BBC has certainly raised, some debate, no less so than a blog post on custom essays which appeared on the Telegraph web site.

The response, from a representative of the All Answers service largely notes that the quality of essays provided by different online services is variable, and that there are services which have offices that are available to visit.

There is some question about whether students using essay services actually hand in the work as if it were their own. That is certainly a topic which could raise some debate.

A potential lack of support for international students is raised. Again, support will vary from university to university, but there is certainly a market for services that provide students with additional support. There is always a debate about where a tutorial services draws the line between supporting these students and starting to do assessed work for them.

One possible solution that All Answers could consider to avoid students handing in a model essay that they have created for a student would be to forward a copy of each model essay in to the university for which it was created. That would ensure that the student would have the use of a model essay (for instance, to train them to structure an academic argument), but would not be able to submit this as if it were their own work.

Alternatively, a decision could be made so as to not produce a model essay which exactly matches a current assignment. Instead, an essay on a related topic could be produced, hence giving the student an idea of the process that they would need to go through, but which it would not be possible for a student to hand in and receive a passing mark. It will be interesting to see if All Answers moves to go down that route.

One comment

  1. Jen

    The issue surfaced yet again recently in an interview I did with the Times Higher Education (http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/features/essay-mills-university-course-work-to-order/2007934.fullarticle) – you’ll notice that when I mentioned to them that All Answers were “very keen to work with universities to provide a service that can’t be abused in the first place” – but only if universities agree that the company is “a legitimate source of academic help”, the UUK spokesman declined to comment. All Answers has always looked for some way to work with universities but doesn’t have much incentive when universities brand them leeches in the same breath as asking them to hand over copies of the essays. That’s not working together.

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