Big rise in student cheating

Universities across the globe are reporting a spike in student cheating during the pandemic, driven by online learning.

It has led to calls for a fundamental rethinking of what is being taught and assessed, Times Higher Education has reported.

The speedy transition to virtual environments added to student stress and vastly increased their opportunities to use online ‘assistance’. Many students didn’t feel comfortable with online classes, or have safe and reliable environments in which to study, and they often had lecturers who may have been even more hostile to the format.

The University of Waterloo in Canada said cheating was up 146% in a year, with 1,340 reported incidents of cheating. In Australia, the Queensland University of Technology said in September that test-related cheating had quadrupled. And at the University of Houston rates of cheating doubled.

A worry is many students don’t see using the internet to get their answers as cheating. They have grown up with the expectation they can use the internet to find answers.

Times Higher Education – formerly The Times Higher Education Supplement – said in the UK the number of essay mills has grown to just under 1,000 (904).

The rise in cheating means some universities are looking to change the way they assess students. Oral assessments via Zoom is one method being put forward.

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