Free PDF: Can markers detect contract cheating? Results from a pilot study.

Can markers detect CC

Hot off the presses, here is a free PDF post-print of our latest article on contract cheating:

Dawson, P., & Sutherland-Smith, W. (in press). Can markers detect contract cheating? Results from a pilot study. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education. doi:10.1080/02602938.2017.1336746

Contract cheating is the purchasing of custom-made university assignments with the intention of submitting them. Websites providing contract cheating services often claim this form of cheating is undetectable, and no published research has examined this claim. This paper documents a pilot study where markers were paid to mark a mixture of real student work and contract cheating assignments, to establish their accuracy at detecting contract cheating. Seven experienced markers individually blind marked the same bundle of 20 second-year psychology assignments, which included 6 that were purchased from contract cheating websites. Sensitivity analyses showed markers detected contract cheating 62% of the time. Specificity analyses showed markers correctly identified real student work 96% of the time. Our results contrast with contract cheating sites’ claims that contract cheating is undetectable. However, they should be taken with caution as they are from one course unit in one discipline.

I’m also presenting on this at Assessment in Higher Education in Manchester. Here are the slides I’ll be using:

Download a copy of the slides here.

Many thanks to everyone who has tweeted, blogged and reported on this important paper – we’ve been featured in national and international media, e.g.:


Please get in touch if you want to discuss this or our other work on contract cheating!

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