That companies and individuals are helping students to cheat in exams is something that higher education should be concerned about. This is not just small time business. Exam cheating is an entire industry.
In a keynote presentation I gave at the Higher Education Quality Network conference, themed Assessment, Integrity, Review and held in Melbourne, Australia, I explored the issues surrounding exam cheating and the integrity of future examinations.
This is a real issue, particularly where assessment by examination is being considered as a response to plagiarism and contract cheating. There is, however, also good practice than can be gained from how exams are conducted in a professional environment.
So much exam cheating is supported by technology that is easily concealed. Supplying that technology is big business. It is more useful to think about alternative ways to use examinations as part of the assessment process than to try to simply react to the ever changing technology game.
This presentation focused on sharing the main results and recommendations from the South East European Project on Policies for Academic Integrity (SEEPPAI).
Everything is focused around academic integrity, with particular reference to Romania, where I spoke at an event organised by Turnitin. From my observations of the wider European challenges with regards to academic integrity and discussions in Romania itself, the findings of SEEPPAI are consistent with much of European Europe and South Eastern Europe.
You can see the slides used in the academic integrity presentation on my SlideShare account. They are also embedded below.
Some of the observations relate to what I see as a key challenge regarding student plagiarism. That is, educating students about academic writing and academic integrity and working with them to ensure that teaching is fit for purpose. That’s something I believe we can all work on, regardless of where in Europe or the wider world we’re based.
Robert Clarke presented the conference version of this, so if you did attend his talk, you might find that the emphasis on my video version is different. If nothing else, my presentation did not have the strict time constraints that were present for the conference video and that allowed me to explore this area of exam cheating in more depth.
The ways in which exam cheating technologies are evolving continue to astound me. There is so much more happening now than students sneaking a few notes into an examination. I fear that this will continue to be a big story in the coming months and years.
Many academic studies looking at contract cheating think about this only from the point of view of this being a way for students to get essays, terms papers and assignments written for them.
The reality is that the definition of contract cheating extends much more widely than that. As part of wider work, I’ve recently been looking a lot at exam cheating and there are certainly mechanisms that are easily available for students to use to pay a third party to attend an examination for them.
These slides, originally presented at the CSpace Conference devoted to teaching and learning and held at Birmingham City University look further into the issues about how third parties can become involved in the exam taking process.
The slides from the exam cheating presentation include examples of cheating seen in agency sites, as a spin-off to the work that essay mills already offer and on online classified sites. They also look at the people being paid to held students with exams through advances in technology.
There’s a whole murky underworld of exam cheating going on through students who have the money and this continues to be an area that needs research and practical solutions.