This video blog posts looks at a method that students are using to get essays written on their behalf, often for as little as 1c per word. This technique for contract cheating uses the micro outsourcing site, Fiverr.com which has seen little coverage in the research literature.
As well as services for writing outlines, proof reading, creating programming code, solving Maths problems and the like at $5 a time, the video also shows an essay writer with 251 positive reviews from previous work. That’s at least 251 essays, assuming that not everyone leaves feedback.
There’s some very good feedback about the service and it’s interesting to see how the seller can sometimes produce multiple essays in a single day. That suggests that the quality may be lacking (and there is a suggestion in some of the feedback that there may be some plagiarism), but there are also some very high marks showing, including students with 95%.
One piece of recent feedback stood out to me, with a student noting $100 of repeat business (around 10,000 words in total across multiple essays).
This suggests that students are continuing to cheat regularly and to get away with it, especially when using dirt cheap contract cheating opportunities as is facilitated using sites such as Fiverr.com.
And that’s just one person using one seller on a single site.
There is certainly room for continued investigation of Fiverr.com and other low cost micro outsourcing sites for other instances of contract cheating.
The story discusses the wide range in which students become knowledgeable about contract cheating opportunities, including advertisements placed in the window of shops.
Most usefully are the type of assignments received back from such services. This is something that is very difficult for academics to test due to the ethical implications.
This revealed a £70 and £125 assignment, both of which were of a low standard, but good enough to pass. A third assignment, also costing £70, was judged to be of a 2:1 standard.
This does demonstrate a variety in the quality of assignments received across different subject areas, showing that there are some elements of “pot luck” involved with picking essay writing companies, but if students are just aiming to pass an assignment, spending this money could be worthwhile.
And, our other contract cheating research involving auction sites have shown that there are ways to spend far less than this.
The term contract cheating describes the form of academic dishonesty where students get academic work completed on their behalf, which they then submit for academic credit as if they had created it themselves.
Often contract cheating involves the payment of a fee to a third party, who then creates the work for the student.
One example of contract cheating would be a student being set an essay. They would then use an essay mill service to have this piece of work written for them. The student would then hand in the essay for marking as if they had written this for themselves.
Since this was an entirely original piece of work, it is unlikely that this would be detected using standard anti-plagiarism text matching services such as TurnItIn.
ContractCheating.com is intended to provide an overview of the current research into contract cheating. It is provided on behalf of the originators of the contract cheating phrase, Thomas Lancaster and Robert Clarke.