The project has generated 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 has been 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.
National Student Survey (2016)
This survey (n = 10 institutions) explored students’ attitudes toward and experiences with using third parties to complete their assessments, including the individual, contextual and institutional factors that contributed to this behaviour.
National Teaching and Teaching Support Staff Survey (2016)
This survey (n = 10 institutions) explored staff attitudes toward and experiences with their students’ use of third parties to complete assessments. Individual, contextual and institutional factors that affected the implementation of assessment that addresses contract cheating and academic integrity was investigated.
Academic Integrity Breach Data
Data from two universities’ longitudinal academic integrity databases was analysed, showing the types of assessment where contract cheating was most commonly detected. Analysis revealed the number of contract cheating cases detected, the kinds of assessment tasks involved, the penalties applied and (in one database only) the detection method.
Contract Cheating Procurement Requests
The final data set analysed in the project is a sample of online procurement requests (n = 20,000) posted to multiple cheat sites, showing 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.