Contract cheating is the practice of students engaging a third-party to complete work for them. It occurs when someone other than the student completes a piece of work which the student then submits for assessment/credit.
Searching the term on any search engine will turn up many articles, papers, and websites that show how prevalent the problem is. In response, governments have made it and are making it illegal.
***Contract cheating is illegal in many parts of the world***
Contract cheating is already illegal in many places throughout the world, with Australia having the most stringent laws which would punish a tutor found guilty with up to 2 years in prison and a $100,000 AUD fine. Contract cheating is also illegal in 17 states in the US, certain states in India, New Zealand, and very soon the UK. At the time of writing, Parliament is about to pass a bill that would make this illegal in England and Wales.
Read on to see examples of contract cheating and how to report it
Examples of unethical requests
On occasion, despite being warned very clearly not to, students ask for unethical help on Spires, which constitutes the following:
Completing an assignment - completing any work on behalf of the student is clearly unethical and constitutes academic misconduct.
Helping with take home/open book exams - tutors should not help with these types of exams/assessment.
Writing a dissertation or essay - writing anything for a student constitutes plagiarism.
Writing code or statistical tests for a student to submit - is cheating/plagiarism.
Helping with 'locked papers' - Locked papers are usually last year's A Level or GCSE papers, which are not publicly available. Schools often use these papers to assess students.
Asking for solutions to question sheets - We advise caution. Especially if they are just showing you screenshots of a particular question. You should ask for the full original PDF/file with all the dates, years, and deadlines clearly visible, along with the department and/or School/University. This way you can tell if it is an assessed piece of work or not. If they refuse to show you the original file then refuse to tutor them.
*** Spires does not condone cheating, plagiarism or unethical help of any kind ***
We take a zero tolerance policy on both tutors and students found to be engaging in such practices.
Reporting requests from the jobs board
If you see a request on the jobs board which is unethical in its nature, then you can use the flag on the job to alert the Spires team.
When you click this button we get a report and will investigate the request. We sometimes see genuine requests from students that look dubious to our tutors but are innocent upon investigation.
However, if two tutors flag the job, it automatically gets taken down from the jobs board and the student will be emailed and warned about the nature of their request and that they should edit the request if they want genuine help, or they will be blocked from Spires if they are actually trying to cheat.
Reporting requests from the messenger
If a student is asking you directly for unethical help in the messenger then you can open the job information and report the student using the report button.
You can always contact us on the blue button if you are unsure about the nature of a job or what to do about a particular student's messages or requests.