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safeguarding standards and improving the quality of UK higher education

Contract cheating and academic integrity: QAA responds to essay mill revelations

Date 03/05/2018

An investigation by the BBC has revealed that YouTube stars are being paid to promote contract cheating to their fans.

Contract cheating, where bespoke essays and other assignments are purchased and submitted as a student's own work,
is unacceptable and puts at risk students' academic and professional careers. 

Commenting on the reports, QAA Chief Executive Douglas Blackstock said:

'Cheating has no place in our higher education sector. Contract cheating is particularly pernicious. 

'This is an international problem, complicated by the fact those promoting this activity often operate outside of the UK. 

'Academic integrity means committing to learning, not cheating. We need to better understand why some students seem to think that it's OK to cheat – and work together as a sector to tackle this serious threat to the reputation of UK higher education.'

QAA is working closely with the Department for Education, the National Union of Students, Universities UK, Guild HE and other experts on issue of contract cheating. In October 2017, we published guidance for universities and colleges on identifying and tackling contract cheating. QAA is set to work with sector experts again to expand on this programme of work and ensure that higher education providers have the resources they need to promote academic integrity. 

New advice and guidance to complement the UK Quality Code for Higher Education​ will also address assessment practice and academic misconduct.