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Cheating firms

Discussion in 'Education news' started by adam_nichol, Mar 20, 2019.

  1. adam_nichol

    adam_nichol Occasional commenter

    DfE is urging PayPal to block firms whose "Study support" crosses the line into bought answers (cheating / plagiarism) [https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-47629043]. Good intentions perhaps, but I can't help feeling this is a 19th Century solution to a 21st Century issue.

    Back in the day of powerful national government, you could ban things or make them more difficult to operate until they became the preserve of criminal gangs or just lost their profitability and slunk away. But those days aren't here now. Yes PayPal can block the providers receiving money thru PayPal, but so what? Other payment services exist, and demand for the product (service) continues. Individual firms can be subjected to resistance, but as an online service, they can merely set up somewhere beyond the jurisdiction and reach of any individual national government.

    So, why not look at the foundation of the demand. Some students want to cheat their way to better grades (for whatever reason). Grades are dependant on assessments, and it is these assessments that are vulnerable to cheating. So change the assessments. Essay writing is a skill largely inapplicable to most careers, though an easy way to verify understanding of a concept (assuming no cheating). Is it time then to divorce ourselves from the love of the written essay? Replace it with something that can't be bought in - collaborative projects, research briefs where various stages are seen by assessors and the direction reviewed in collaboration with the student > assessing the process not the end result (in of itself a more useful skill to develop anyway). I'm sure there are other options beyond my immediate imagination on a Wednesday morning.

    If there is no essay to write, there is no essay to buy.
  2. gainly

    gainly Senior commenter

    Coursework for GCSE and A level has been abolished, at least partly because it gave opportunity for widespread cheating. Universities also need to change their assessment methods. When my niece did her degree a few years ago she only had 2 fairly minor exams during the whole 3 years, all the rest was coursework although not generally essays. It seems to leave the system wide open to cheating.
  3. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    The phone in on R5Live this morning (09.00-10.00) was about this topic.
  4. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Was there ever a time when essay writing was a skill in demand outside education, I wonder?

    No doubt PayPal will ignore them as they have done before. As the DfE have admitted it isn't illegal, only immoral. (Not illegal to offer the essays online that is. People who buy might do something illegal with them.) One reason the government hasn't legislated to make the sites illegal is the difficulty of framing the definition of what is prohibited so that it doesn't also ban legitimate revision support sites. And the difficulty of enforcement.

    If the government can't be bothered to make them illegal I think it's a bit much for them to expect PayPal to do it for them! Perhaps if the government put banning legislation in place they'd have more grounds to ask PayPal to act.
  5. Lalex123

    Lalex123 Occasional commenter

    Controlled assessment is the current buzz word and I think the idea is useful in preventing cheating because students need to complete the work in front of a teacher. Would it not benefit the system if universities decided to use this method instead? Or would they prefer to be oblivious to students cheating because of results?
  6. moscowbore

    moscowbore Senior commenter

    I have witnessed plenty of cheating in controlled assessments.
    Notes left on the board, checklists on the wall etc...
    yodaami2 likes this.
  7. gainly

    gainly Senior commenter

    I thought controlled assessment had been abolished in almost every subject in favour of 100% exams.
    yodaami2 likes this.
  8. bessiesmith

    bessiesmith Occasional commenter

    Controlled assessment is still a part in practical subjects. 60% in GCSE Music. It has to be completed with the teacher present.

    I agree that for essays, the assessment process needs to be changed. Surely it would be possible for students to check in regularly with tutors, showing their on-going research and initial drafts of their essay. This would make it much harder to buy in a completed essay.
  9. Lalex123

    Lalex123 Occasional commenter

    Yes but even with those things some people still couldn’t write a good essay :D
  10. num3bers

    num3bers Occasional commenter

    I had thought so too - or rather believed what the government put out on it but apparently many subjects still have coursework . It really annoys me because my subject is 100% exam but many subjects still have coursework and when it comes to SLT I am still battered over the head when kids get grade D or E in my subject ( or even fail) and they get a C or sometimes manage to pass in a subject with coursework ( like History for example - what is that doing with coursework still and geography? ) I am talking A level here not GCSE but I see no need for coursework of any kind ( including "controlled assessment" ).
  11. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    At least such a practice removes the need / pressure for teachers to "make sure" the "coursework is good enough..."
  12. Lalex123

    Lalex123 Occasional commenter

    How can you prove you can play an instrument to pass gcse music without coursework? You might as well just do ABRSM theory exams and totally kill off the subject. No wonder so much s*** policies get through from the government with people making such damaging statements as yourself. This smacks of jealousy because you think everyone else is cheating and you can’t. Well they aren’t.
  13. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    I have to disagree about essay writing having no value. Almost everything I do is a form of essay writing. It teaches you to take material from a variety of sources and present it in a coherent and persuasive way. Anything from a television documentary to a training session is really an essay. A good letter of complaint, the effective running of a meeting, writing a report, all use essay writing skills. I use the skills I learnt writing essays all the time. So I've never been against exams with essays, whether information has been remembered and reused in the exam, or whether it's provided fresh to be analysed. If students have bought essays during their course they'll still fail in their exams because they won't know what to do. I can't say I like collaberative exercises for assessment. Good students can be brought down by weak and lazy ones. Lazy ones can get unreasonable recognition in spite of their lack of input.
  14. adam_nichol

    adam_nichol Occasional commenter

    Essay writing as a process is a valuable thing - the skills involved, that is: research, collation, restructure, (re)presentation, etc. The actual output (eg: a couple of million essays on Shakespeare) is of less value for education (if not for the workplace). In collaborative exercices, contribution can be graded to prevent the free-ride of the lazy....the actual output need be of marginal importance.

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