Master Class: Phill Dawson

Detecting contract cheating

Associate Professor Phillip Dawson, Associate Director, Centre for Research in Assessment and Digital Learning, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia

Phill photo side on small sizeContract cheating happens when a third party completes assessed work on behalf of a student. The term has become synonymous with ‘essay mills’ that can produce seemingly any type of assignment for students in a matter of hours. Estimates of prevalence range from 3% to 15%in terms of the proportion of higher education students admitting to having used a commercial contract cheating site at some stage. Many contract cheating sites claim that contract cheating is undetectable. In this masterclass you will put that claim to the test by attempting to detect contract cheated work.You will also learn how to run a workshop for educators on detecting contract cheating, using the workshop design in a recent paper (Dawson & Sutherland-Smith, 2018). On completing that workshop, markers in the study detected contract cheating 82% of the time. How will you fare?

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