CRADLE 2019 publications round-up – Part 3: Student experiences / Contract cheating

As 2019 draws to a close, we asked the CRADLE team to look over their impressive list of publications for the year and pick some highlights for a special four-part publication round-up. Today – if you’re looking for new perspectives or some inspiration around student experiences or contract cheating, read on! And if you’re hungry for more food for thought or great ideas, check out our holiday feast – our full 2019 publications round-up!

Part 1: Assessment / Evaluative judgement
Part 2: Professional and workplace contexts / Research practice
Part 4: Feedback

Student experiences

Persisting students’ explanations of and emotional responses to academic failure Open access logo - orange open padlock
R. Ajjawi, M. Dracup, N. Zacharias, S. Bennett* and D. Boud (2019) Higher Education Research and Development.
This is the first study to map out the incidence of academic failure across four large undergraduate courses using large institutional data and an online survey. The study identifies academic failure as a common, highly emotional and significant event in a student’s learning trajectory. We calculated that failing a unit of study increases risk of failure by fourfold, and also identified precipitating factors. We offer a discussion on the need for shared responsibility in helping students to recover and persist.

Paradigm shifts during degrees by higher education research
C. Denniston and J. Tai (2019) The Clinical Teacher.
Frequently, those undertaking a Higher Degree by Research in higher education have a background in a non-education discipline. This short paper reflects on the epistemological shifts that occur during candidature in an education-related area, and provides some tips to assist with the transition.

Conversation starter: Advancing the theory of peer-assisted learning
T. Callese, R. Strowd, B. Navarro, I. Rosenberg, C. Waasdorp Hurtado, J. Tai, J. M. Riddle and A. T. Cianciolo (2019) Teaching and Learning in Medicine, 31(1), pp. 7-16.
Peer-assisted learning is a common phenomenon and something which is frequently implemented for a range of practical reasons. This commentary argues for a scholarly approach to practice. It examines and unpacks existing definitions and suggests ways forward for research in this area.

Contract cheating

Can software improve marker accuracy at detecting contract cheating? A pilot study of the Turnitin Authorship Investigate alpha
P. Dawson, W. Sutherland-Smith and M. Ricksen (2019) Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education.
Contract cheating happens when students outsource their assessed work. We’ve previously shown markers can spot contract cheating, and they can be trained to spot it even more accurately. This new study takes it a step further by equipping markers with reports from Turnitin’s Authorship Investigate. Markers were significantly more accurate at detecting contract cheating when they used this new tool.

Global ENAI poster - headline text reads "Too much study? We will write your assignment for you, but..." followed by negative consequences of contract cheatingYou don’t always get what you pay for: User experiences of engaging with contract cheating sites
W. Sutherland-Smith and K. Dullaghan (2019) Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 44(8), pp. 1148-1162.
This research investigated how the various promises that 18 different contract cheating sites made about their assignments played out in reality. We found that more than 50% of their assignments failed to reach a pass grade, many delivered work late (or not at all), and user’s privacy was not necessarily guaranteed. Our research formed the basis of the European Network for Academic Integrity’s (ENAI) 2019 contract cheating student awareness campaign (right). It was also used in a first-year Chinese international student’s published article about the ghostwriting offers bombarding her student email account.

Staff views on commercial contract cheating in higher education: A survey study in Australia and the UK
R. Awdry and P. M. Newtown (2019) Higher Education, 78(4), pp. 593-610.
There’s been plenty of research into why students choose to contract cheat or outsource their assignments, the prevalence of contract cheating and trends in usage, and possible prevention measures (including legislation). However, little consideration has been given to staff opinions of the problem, despite their experiences in higher education. This paper explores the factors staff believe contribute to contract cheating and poses the question: if such behaviours were criminalised, who should be the focus of legislation – students, companies, or both?

*CRADLE Honorary Professor
CRADLE Doctoral Student

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