The project will generate an evidence base that will provide the higher education sector with a clearer understanding of the relationship between university learning and assessment environments and contract cheating behaviour in Australia. This evidence base will be used to develop the project’s primary output: an assessment design framework that minimises the potential for students to use third party assistance in completing their assessments.

Data Sources

National Student Survey
This survey (n = 10 institutions) will explore students’ attitudes toward and experiences with using third parties to complete assessment, including the individual, contextual and institutional factors that contribute to this behaviour.

National Teaching and Teaching Support Staff Survey
This survey (n = 10 institutions) will explore staff attitudes toward and experiences with student use of third parties to complete assessment. Individual, contextual and institutional factors that affect the implementation of assessment that addresses contract cheating and academic integrity will be investigated.

Academic Integrity Breach Data
Data from two universities’ longitudinal academic integrity databases which show the types of assessment in which contract cheating is most commonly detected. Data shows the number of contract cheating cases detected, the assessment tasks associated with each, the penalties applied and, (in one database only) the detection method. A large data set (n = 20,000) of procurement requests posted to multiple cheat sites which show the types of assessment most commonly contracted out to third parties.

Assessment Design and Academic Integrity Framework

Situated within the good practice literature on assessment design and academic integrity, the framework will:

  • Build on existing research on good assessment practice in the Australian context
  • Contribute to emerging work on authentic, programmatic assessment design
  • Incorporate principles of assessment design for fostering academic integrity

Intended Project Outcomes

  • Assessment Design and Academic Integrity Framework (described above)
  • An open, interactive and user-friendly website to disseminate activity and outcomes as they emerge.
  • Guidelines and supporting resources for institutional environments to ensure that good practice for authentic assessment can be implemented.
  • A national professional development tour of the project members’ universities to build staff capacity in using the framework to address contract cheating.
  • A special hosted conference stream entitled ‘Authentic assessment and contract cheating’ at international academic integrity conferences (for example, International Center for Academic Integrity Annual Conference, USA, February 2017; Plagiarism Across Europe and Beyond, Czech Republic, June 2017).
  • An edited special issue of the International Journal for Educational Integrity on the relationship between assessment design and contract cheating.
  • Analysis and findings based on large Australian data sets will contribute to sector-wide understandings of the relationship between assessment design and the use of third parties in higher education.
  • Publications and conference presentations contributing to the literature on assessment design and its role in addressing contract cheating.