With a growth in the use of "assignment helpers", this week Your Advice Service is focusing on contract cheating. We will also share case studies of other types of academic misconduct.
Have you seen "Assignment Helpers" on social media? These people are offering to help you write your work for you to submit to University. But, we are here to tell you that not only is this against your code of conduct and of academic integrity which you sign when starting University, but it is also a criminal offence to provide essay writing services to students in exchange for money, or to advertise these services. Using an assignment helper service may seem like a good idea, especially as it can have serious consequences for your degree if the University find out.
Find a case study of contract cheating below.
David is working on his dissertation. It’s his final attempt so he feels under a lot of pressure.
Earlier in the year he was sent several Whatsapp messages by “A” who offers help writing assessments for a fee.
He contacts A and commissions a sample dissertation.
The dissertation looks a bit odd so David makes some changes before he submits the work as his own.
A few weeks later, David is invited to an Academic Conduct Officer (ACO) meeting for a Very Serious accusation of Collusion.
During the meeting the ACO explains they believe the work wasn’t written by David; the dissertation doesn’t meet the brief properly and the metadata is very different to David’s previous work.
The ACO explains that this is a very serious offence as they believe most of the assessment has been bought or copied.
David receives a second invitation to an Academic Conduct Panel and is sent a lot of information and advice to read. The invitation asks him to produce a statement before meeting the Panel.
During the Panel the ACO presents their case to the Panel and explains why they believe that the work has been copied.
David presents his case to the Panel but struggles to evidence that the dissertation is his, as he didn’t do the work.
David has a previous record of academic misconduct and no mitigating circumstances, he receives zero mark for the whole module and is excluded from the University.
Contract cheating - Did You Know?
- Many essay mill companies appear to offer academic writing support. Their websites may have reviews, offers, free advice and tips which at first glance make them appear friendly reliable and legitimate.
- Contract cheats sometimes deliberately plant clues – easter eggs- in their work to show it was not written by you
- Contract cheats can blackmail you by threatening to report you to your University
- Contract cheats can follow you from University to University, or even into work
- Essay mills are now illegal in the UK due to the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill (24 April 2022)
- Advertising or promoting an essay mill service is also illegal
What support is available?
If you are looking for help with an allegation of academic misconduct, please contact Your Advice Service as soon as possible upon receipt of your invitation.
Attach your meeting invite letter, a copy of your Turnitin Report and any other evidence sent with your invite. We can help you prepare for the meeting and support you in the meeting, subject to Advice Caseworker availability. You must give 24 hours’ notice to the meeting organiser if you are being supported as outlined in your invite email.