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In recent years, an egregious form of plagiarism has been on the rise: contract cheating, the practice of engaging a third-party to complete assignments. Even worse, this particular form of cheating has been notably hard to catch.
Despite lack of proof, teachers have an increasing awareness of contract cheating.
In an informal poll, we asked U.S.-based educators about contract cheating. A professor at a Research 1 public university in the United States notes:
“In the last couple of years, I have noticed some students turn in papers that displayed compositional abilities well beyond what they’d shown in weekly informal writing. I have no material evidence, but I suspect that they are hiring ghost-writers for their major assignments.”
In discussion with other teachers about contract cheating, Leslieann Hobayan, a Creative Writing Lecturer who also teaches composition at Rutgers University states, “I had students do a lot of in-class writing so I had a sample of how they actually wrote. So when the take-home assignments showed differently, I had evidence.”
Hobayan adds, “These days, my impression is that contract cheating is more prevalent--and to state the obvious, it sucks.”
Educators are an ingenious and nimble tribe, ready to respond to the unexpected, sidestep peril, and think on their feet so that students are ensured safety and learning. Educators, armed with strategies for teaching writing--have continued to evolve with strategies to mitigate plagiarism within the classroom.
We asked a number of secondary and higher education teachers for their boots-on-the-ground tactics to fight back against contract cheating.
These are the tactics they shared:
At Turnitin, we salute teachers who are using their individual wits to enforce academic integrity. And we hope this resource adds to your growing toolkit to deal with contract cheating. Deep thank you to the generous teachers who contributed to this list.
Want to address contract cheating at your institution? Learn more about Turnitin Originality.
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