Exploring the potential of authentic, programmatic assessment to minimise contract cheating

About the Project

‘Contract Cheating and Assessment Design: Exploring the Connection’ is an Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching Strategic Priority Project led by the University of South Australia. Partner institutions are the University of Sydney, the University of New South Wales, Griffith University, and Swansea University, UK.

Following a recent contract cheating scandal affecting several prominent Australian universities, students utisiling online cheat sites to complete assignments has been identified as a significant problem for institutions. Although ‘authenticity’ has long been recognised as a core feature of good assessment practice, its role in nurturing academic integrity has not yet been adequately explored.

Conducted over two years (2016 – 2018), this national project will determine if and how authentic assessment may be used to assure academic integrity. The project focuses on two critical stakeholders in academic integrity-students and teaching staff-and will analyse data from national surveys of these stakeholders. To further investigate the nature and scope of contract cheating, analysis will also be conducted of data sets that demonstrate the types of assignments most commonly contracted out to third parties.

It is envisioned that findings from this project will enhance the sector’s understanding of this critical issue. Project deliverables will transform assessment practices by developing a conceptual model and resources which demonstrate the role of assessment design as one part of an over-reaching strategy to nurture academic integrity in Australian higher education.