Australian Universities Mount Growing Concern for Contract Cheating

As university students and staff slowly prepare for the upcoming academic term they’ll have one more thing to contend with: cheating. As methods of academic dishonesty become more sophisticated, the higher education sector has been challenged to refine their policy frameworks and digitalize their operations. Academic misconduct and the use of contract cheating services have increased during the pandemic as remote courses and online assignments provided more opportunities for students to cheat. 

A global analysis of data from 3 million tests that utilized the platform ProctorU found that confirmed breaches of test regulations were recorded in 6.6 percent which is 14 times higher than the .05 percent reported nearly 2 years ago. An estimated one in 14 students having been caught cheating. And during the height of the pandemic, in 2020 cheating websites received around 7.3 million clicks from Australian students, a 50percent increase from 2019 according to Australia’s academic integrity regulator. 

Particularly in Australia, there have been a variety of media reports on the rise in online cheating and billion-dollar companies being accused of advertising as “study aids” when they’re as ABC News said “are industrialized cheating factories.”  

Universities across the globe are now under increased scrutiny on how they identify and respond to any academic misconduct when it occurs. Their reputation and integrity is on the line for the promise that the student who graduate from their institutions are who they say they are,. 

In Australia, contract cheating has become so pervasive that in September 2020 the federal government announced that it would be going after contract cheating websites and make contract cheating a crime. The Australian Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency is now allowed to block websites, blocking two websites this year with an intention to crack down more in the coming weeks. Yet, with a VPN students can easily bypass these blocked sites, making the challenge even harder for agencies and institutions.  

Many students turn to these websites not out of malice, but necessity with students saying their academic pressures and schedules, on top of taking on jobs to pay for school, force them to turn to these websites to complete their work, In particular, these websites are targeting Australian international students who have heightened pressures on them to succeed due to finances. To support students holistically, institutions need to know what’s happening with their students and implement stronger academic integrity monitoring to ensure students are actually completing exams and assignments without cheating. And if they are found cheating, identify ways to support them on the reasons behind why they cheated in the first place.  

With Symplicity Advocate, universities can rely on a tool trusted by schools like Macquarie University, University of Auckland, University of Western Australia, Duke University, Boston University, Towson University, and more to guide their student conduct teams through the process of preventing and dealing with issues of academic integrity. This, also includes identifying students of concern to address the reasons why someone will, or has, cheated, to provide students with guidance and support to succeed. Schedule a conversation with our team today to learn more. 

Australia, Student Conduct, Academic Integrity, ANZ, AUS, cheating, contract cheating

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