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Murad Prokhorov
Murad Prokhorov

Disclaimer: This Cheat Is Made For Educational ... LINK

The phenomenon of contract cheating presents, potentially, a serious threat to the quality and standards of Higher Education around the world. There have been suggestions, cited below, to tackle the problem using legal means, but we find that current laws are not fit for this purpose. In this article we present a proposal for a specific new law to target contract cheating, which could be enacted in most jurisdictions.

Disclaimer: This cheat is made for educational ...

We test our proposed new law against a number of issues that would need to be considered before any legal approach could be successful; would changing the legal status of contract cheating make it less likely to happen? Could this be achieved in a specific way? If so, who should actually be prosecuted and what offence are they committing? Would it actually address the causes of contract cheating? We suggest some answers to these questions, but then also identify a number of unintended potential consequences. We therefore additionally consider whether a legal approach is possible or even desirable.

We conclude that a legal approach to contract cheating is possible, and, on balance, appropriate. Using UK law as an example, we offer a specific suggestion to lawmakers, around the world, for how this might be achieved, and conclude that the most successful approach would be to focus largely on a law targeting the providers of contract cheating, in particular commercial services.

We begin by introducing the current legal status of contract cheating, and demonstrate how the current legal position is not suitable to tackle contract cheating. Based upon this background research, we make a proposal for a specific new law to tackle contract cheating (Table 1). We then test this law against various issues which have dogged previous attempts to tackle contract cheating through legal means.

Many definitions of contract cheating exist in the academic literature, and we began this article with one of our own. Commonly cited are those put forward by Clarke and Lancaster and which are used by this special edition of the International Journal of Educational Integrity ( ). The IJEI website states

As a standalone law, the proposal in Table 1 would not always address the international nature of contract cheating; as discussed above, an episode of contract cheating can include just three actors (student, university, third party), but may include many more; a company, regulated by a government, hosted on a website, with advertisers and advertising, a bidding system with multiple writers etc. Every single one of these actors could be in a different country. Generally, an offence will only be prosecuted in the jurisdiction in which the offence takes place, unless specific laws enable extra-territorial jurisdiction or co-operation.Footnote 8 Legal approaches to contract cheating need to consider how to address this international aspect.

We have identified a new law (Table 1) that could be used to mount a legal challenge to contract cheating, in particular commercial contract cheating services. We have also highlighted principles of extraterritoriality that could be used to address the international nature of contract cheating (Table 2), along with further principles regulating international advertising. Any change to the laws governing Higher Education would of course require that the regulations of education providers were reviewed to ensure that the complied with new laws. However, there are a number of additional factors that need to be considered when developing a legal approach to contract cheating of the type identified in Tables 1 and 2, and we work them through in this section, also showing how existing laws do not address these issues.

Clearly, if are committed on University premises (e.g. assault or theft) then these may be dealt with through legal means. But in the case of contract cheating, this could mean the criminalisation of a behaviour that has traditionally been addressed largely through academic means and happens largely within the context of academic study.

The proposals made in Tables 1 and 2 would go a long way to addressing many of these unintended consequences. They would directly target specific actors identified in red in Fig. 1, and would therefore protect the relationships between other actors (blue), and not add deterrents associated with additional workloads. They would allow for a positive, academic-integrity focused approach to be continued within Higher Education institutions, while targeting external agencies that offer or support contract cheating services.

Some complications may however arise where one of the other actors identified in blue in Fig. 1 is, themselves, also a provider of contract cheating services. Indeed, preliminary findings from a large research project in Australia indicate that students are more likely to outsource assignments to friends or family than they are to commercial services.Footnote 14 We propose that the laws be used primarily to target large-scale commercial organisations, but the spirit of the law could also have a deterrent effect on outsourcing to friends and family. It is even possible that the proposal in Table 1 could be amended to exclude prosecution of individual students enrolled at a Higher Education institution, directing them instead to be pursued through traditional academic means, although in our view this could create a loophole for commercial services to exploit.

It is difficult to see how criminalisation would address of the causes of contract cheating. There is obviously a demand for contract cheating services, or there would not be hundreds of websites offering them. Many causes have been proposed for this demand, similar to the causes of academic misconduct generally (not just contract cheating); a motivation to get a better grade; poor time management; personal/cultural beliefs, e.g. that plagiarism is not wrong; negative attitudes towards authority/tutors; availability of opportunity (e.g. it is easy to do); commercialisation of universities with a focus on recruitment and retention which conflicts with sanctioning or even removing students for plagiarism (Park 2003; Brimble 2015). Many of these motivators, which are in essence demand-led market forces, would not be directly diminished by criminalisation of the supply although new specific offences in relation to the supply side of contract cheating could be drawn to the attention of students which might act as a deterrent to commissioning.

In fig. 1 above we note that the core relationship between a student and essay writer and a student and University is governed primarily (but not exclusively) by the (Civil) law of contract. Although in this paper we focus primarily on the role that the criminal law could play in preventing contracting cheating we acknowledge that the civil law through breach of contact claims may also have a role. However it is unlikely that students would want to publicly pursue claims against essay mills in the courts if the student does not receive what they contracted for and a University is unlikely (for reasons noted below) to pursue a contractual claim against a student for loss suffered in marking and grading a submission that was not entirely the work of a student and for loss in respect of the time and resources spent in subsequently pursuing a student for academic misconduct. Nevertheless there are potential approaches to tackling contract cheating through civil law, and potential complications of so doing. These are beyond the scope of this paper and will inform future research.

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To answer this question, a distinction must be made between the instrument and the acknowledgment. A Notary Public is not authorized to change, alter or draft any instrument. However, a Notary Public may correct the certificate of acknowledgment to reflect the proper facts. For example, if an acknowledgment is taken in Webb County and the certificate shows Marion County, the certificate may be corrected as follows:

Contract cheating, also known as ghostwriting is similar to impersonation in that a student hires a third party to complete work on their behalf.[48] Essay mills fall under this category. While it is believed that contract cheating has significantly increased since 2014, there are currently no figures to demonstrate this surge.[49] This is a relatively new form of cheating, seemingly gaining traction in the 1940s when an increasing amount of advertisements for ghostwriters could be seen on university campuses and in newspapers.[50] This trend continued to grow into the 1960s and 1970s.[51] According to a study conducted in 2019, it is estimated that the ghostwriting industry produces a revenue of approximately $100 million.[52]

Plagiarism, as defined in the 1995 Random House Compact Unabridged Dictionary, is the "use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one's own original work".[53] In academia, this can range from borrowing without attribution a particularly apt phrase, to paraphrasing someone else's original idea without citation, to wholesale contract cheating.[54]

Recommendations of sanctions to be imposed will be made to the Dean of the school or college in which the student is enrolled. Possible sanctions for a violation of academic integrity include, but are not limited to: assignment of a failing grade for the assignment and/or course, disciplinary probation, suspension, and/or dismissal from the University. While grades are very important in the current educational system and the University is a highly competitive environment, it is not worth the risk of your overall grade, reputation, and career. 041b061a72


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