Assessment & Feedback July SIG meeting

openTEL is pleased to announce that July’s Assessment & Feedback Special Interest Group will host a talk by Professor Phillip Dawson of Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia.

Detecting and preventing contract cheating

Phillip Dawson, Deakin University

Abstract: Internationally, somewhere between 3% and 15% of students admit to having paid someone else to do their assessed work. Extrapolating from all available data, there are likely around 31 million current students who have used these commercial ‘contract cheating’ services. Drastic approaches to addressing problems of cheating are being proposed and trialled, ranging from switching off the Internet during exams at a national level, to imprisonment of people who help students cheat. Less extreme (but still potentially concerning) approaches are also being proposed, such as routine surveillance of students and a return to the days of examinations as the dominant mode of assessment.

Is contract cheating really such an existential threat to higher education? Is it actually impossible to detect and prevent? This presentation reviews the evidence on contract cheating detection, including interventions to improve detection rates. It also covers the relatively thin empirical evidence on what can be done to prevent or ‘design out’ contract cheating. An argument is made for thinking about academic integrity at a macro or programmatic level rather than focusing on securing every act of assessment.

Bio: Associate Professor Phillip (Phill) Dawson is Associate Director of the Centre for Research in Assessment and Digital Learning (CRADLE) at Deakin University, Melbourne. Phill has been engaged in a unique program of empirical work on the detection and prevention of contract cheating, conducting some of the first studies showing that markers can detect contract cheating if asked to do so, and that training can improve detection rates. Phill brings a background in cybersecurity and artificial intelligence to his academic integrity research, which he uses to do things like hack into online exams. His broader interests are in assessment and feedback.

We look forward to seeing you at 14:00 on 1st July in Meeting Room 1, JLB