29 April 2020: Detecting and addressing contract cheating in online assessment

Presenter: A/Prof Phillip Dawson (Deakin University, Australia)

The rapid pivot to online learning due to the COVID19 pandemic is seeing a significant shift in the mix of assessment modalities. Due to the needs of physical distancing, scalability and the state of our technological infrastructure, this has led to decisions to greatly reduce the use of large scale invigilated assessments such as practical and written examinations. As a consequence we are also seeing a large increase in the proportion of online non-supervised assessments to replace them. The shift in the mix of assessment provides different opportunities for cheating, especially the use of commercial contract cheating sites. While a wholistic approach to academic integrity is advocated it is likely gaps in the toolkit of support and detection measures will emerge. In the past text matching tools have served us well however such tools are of little use in detecting custom written work produced via contract cheating activity. Technology tools that would enable automated detection are not yet in widespread use, and there is limited evidence so far about effectiveness and accuracy. The job of addressing contract cheating largely falls on front line academic staff – but can they actually detect contract cheating?

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