Student stress causes contract cheating

Reports show a staggering amount of 600 students at the University of Edinburgh cheating in either exams or course work in the past 2 academic years. 

 

The University Standards Watchdog has issued a new government-approved guideline to help address the situation known as “contract cheating”. Students are believed to be paying hundreds of pounds at one time to have their course work written for them.

The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) has advised that universities block certain websites and use stricter cheating-detective software upon student submission – e.g Turnitin, which shows percentage of forged words instantly. The QAA also state that universities should provide assisted support for struggling students by improving their assessment method facilities.

Whilst politicians have voiced of concerns on the matter, the UK Universities Minister, Jo Johnson, welcomed the imposed advice from The QAA, stating:

“This form of cheating is unacceptable and pernicious. It not only undermines standards in our world-class universities, but devalues the hard-earned qualifications of those who don’t cheat.”

With the advice given from The QAA, it has also been urged for universities and institutions to look behind the increasing problems of plagiarism and understand the motives for students cheating in exams and course work. Ametey Doku, vice-president for higher education for the National Union of Students, made comment on this issue, saying:

“…maintenance funding also means that around 70% of students must now take on paid work alongside their studies, which can leave little time for academic work and study. It is easy to see how an essay-mill website could feel able to con students. Many websites play on the vulnerabilities and anxieties of students.”

He added: “We would urge those who are struggling to seek support through their unions and universities rather than looking to a quick fix.”

 

Written by Ruth Suter

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