We chair a Europe-wide group of agencies producing guidance on preventing academic misconduct.
As the UK's independent body safeguarding quality and standards in higher education, QAA works with sector agencies, government departments, regulators, politicians and academics with expertise in academic misconduct to protect academic integrity and prevent cheating and fraud.
Academic misconduct presents a threat to the world-class reputation of UK higher education. While we are concerned about all forms of cheating in higher education, we have a particular interest in essay mills, commercial entities that make money by encouraging students to cheat.
Academic Integrity Charter
QAA has developed an Academic Integrity Charter for UK higher education. It is intended to provide a baseline position upon which UK providers, as autonomous institutions, can build their own policies and practices to ensure that every student’s qualification is genuine, verifiable and respected.
Since launching the Charter on 21 October 2020, almost 200 institutions have already signed up. The Charter demonstrates the sector’s commitment to academic integrity, and helps us raise awareness of the impact of essay mills.
- QAA/Jisc Guidance on Emerging Cyber Security Threats to the Integrity of UK Teaching & Learning | 16 Aug 2021
- Contracting To Cheat In Higher Education (Second Edition) | 18 Jun 2020
- Assessing with Integrity in Digital Delivery | 07 May 2020
- Contracting To Cheat - Survey on the Impact of QAA’s Guidance | 29 Nov 2019
- Contracting To Cheat In Higher Education (First Edition) | 09 Oct 2017
- Plagiarism In Higher Education - Custom Essay Writing Services: An Exploration and Next Steps for the UK HE Sector | 20 Aug 2016
Exploring QAA Members’ Approaches to Academic | Misconduct Cases and Use of Penalties | Strategic Approaches to Combatting Contract Cheating | Combatting Academic Fraud: Regulations & Policies | Combatting Academic Fraud: Training Staff | Combatting Academic Fraud: Detection | Research: Remote Proctoring Survey Analysis | Current International Practices In Online Proctoring
Essay mills and contract cheating guidance | Adaptable essay mills poster one | Adaptable essay mills poster two | Adaptable essay mills poster three | Combatting Academic Fraud: Information and support for students | 2021 Student Resource (upcoming)
QAA campaigns to raise awareness and take action against threats to academic integrity arising from the use of essay mills, contract cheating and other forms of academic misconduct.
Campaigning for legislation
Since 2017, QAA has campaigned to criminalise essay mills in the UK. These unscrupulous outfits threaten the integrity of UK higher education and prey on vulnerable students. That’s why we’ve worked in collaboration with sector partners to persuade UK governments to ban them. Our 2019 ‘Case for Legislation’ document explains the importance of new laws to criminalise essay mills.
In 2021, the Westminster Government agreed to criminalise essay mills in its Skills and Post-16 Education Bill. Work is currently underway to extend these provisions to all four nations. Criminalisation is a significant step, but this is a complex issue and legislation alone will not defeat essay mills. That’s why we’re regularly producing new guidance for institutions to support them in taking action to protect academic integrity. You can read more about the next steps in our blog post.
Working with partners
We work with partners across the UK higher education sector, and internationally, in taking action to reduce opportunities to cheat and improve detection.
Lobbying online companies
We tackle online advertising from essay mills, and persuade online platforms not to accept paid-for advertising.
PayPal says No to essay mills | 03 Apr 2019
Stop supporting essay mills, Education Sec tells PayPal | 20 Mar 2019
ASA rules against Oxbridge Essays | 09 Jan 2019
QAA calls for online companies to stop essay mills | 06 Dec 2018
ASA bans second essay mill from making misleading claims | 07 Nov 2018
QAA complaint on ‘misleading’ essay mill upheld by ASA | 21 Mar 2018