Two new publications look in detail of the attitudes of university staff and university students in Australia towards contract cheating.
Rowena Harper, T. Bretag, C. Ellis, P. Newton, P. Rozenberg, S. Saddiqui & K. van Haeringen (2018): Contract cheating: a survey of Australian university staff, Studies in Higher Education, DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2018.1462789
If media reports are to be believed, Australian universities are facing a significant and growing problem of students outsourcing their assessment to third parties, a behaviour commonly known as ‘contract cheating’. Teaching staff are integral to preventing and managing this emerging form of cheating, yet there has been little evidence-based research to inform changes to their practice. This paper reports on the findings of a large-scale survey of teaching staff in Australian universities on the topic of contract cheating. It investigated staff experiences with and attitudes towards student cheating, and their views on the individual, contextual and organisational factors that inhibit or support efforts to minimise it. Findings indicate that contract cheating could be addressed by improving key aspects of the teaching and learning environment, including the relationships between students and staff. Such improvements are likely to minimise cheating, and also improve detection when cheating occurs.
Tracey Bretag, Rowena Harper, Michael Burton, Cath Ellis, Philip Newton, Pearl Rozenberg, Sonia Saddiqui & Karen van Haeringen (2018): Contract cheating: a survey of Australian university students, Studies in Higher Education, DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2018.1462788
Recent Australian media scandals suggest that university students are increasingly outsourcing their assessments to third parties – a behaviour known as ‘contract cheating’. This paper reports on findings from a large survey of students from eight Australian universities (n = 14,086) which sought to explore students’ experiences with and attitudes towards contract cheating, and the contextual factors that may influence this behaviour. A spectrum of seven outsourcing behaviours were investigated, and three significant variables were found to be associated with contract cheating: dissatisfaction with the teaching and learning environment, a perception that there are ‘lots of opportunities to cheat’, and speaking a Language Other than English (LOTE) at home. To minimise contract cheating, our evidence suggests that universities need to support the development of teaching and learning environments which nurture strong student–teacher relationships, reduce opportunities to cheat through curriculum and assessment design, and address the well-recognised language and learning needs of LOTE students.