Suggestions of student households cheating.
It has been suggested that entire student households are being caught cheating in online university exams as collusion becomes “endemic”.
Experts say that the shift to virtual assessments from exam halls during the pandemic has driven an increase in students accused of malpractice, facing expulsion, or having to repeat the year. Having been forced to sit exams in their living quarters a number of students have allegedly been sharing questions with their housemates by photographing answers and copying them, or by taking it in turns to complete sections of the paper.
While MPs have stepped up calls for “essay mill” websites, where a student can pay for an original piece of writing on a particular topic, to be outlawed law firms have warned warn that cheating is increasingly rife among peers themselves and through social media sites such as Snapchat. In one recent case dozens of undergraduates were exchanging answers in real time during an online exam on a social media group, prompting one to take screenshots and inform university officials.
“Clients tell us that collusion is so rife that it has become normalised. Not colluding is the exception,” said barrister Dr Daniel Sokol making further comment that, “Some feel aggrieved that they have been caught and punished when most of their year has done exactly the same thing without penalty. This is now a major problem that has reached endemic proportions. I had one student who said the degree is worthless. We’re seeing a massive rise but I still think that the number of people caught are a small fraction.”
Assessing the scale of the rise in cheating is being hampered by the lack of national figures, however documents made available from Bristol University said, “online assessment has exacerbated collusion and breaches in academic integrity”.
In certain instances “proctoring software”, that monitors eye and body movements and requires a 360-degree scan of the bedroom, has been considered. Additionally experts say that plagiarism software can detect identical errors and typos in responses.