Contract cheating in Australian higher education

a comparison of non-university higher education providers and universities

Tracey Bretag*, Rowena Harper, Kiata Rundle, Philip M. Newton, Cath Ellis, Sonia Saddiqui, Karen van Haeringen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


This article reports on one aspect of a nationally funded research project on contract cheating in Australian higher education. The project explored students' and educators’ experiences of contract cheating, and the contextual factors that may influence it. This article reports the key findings from non-university higher education providers (NUHEPs). It compares survey responses from 961 students and 91 educators at four NUHEPs with previously reported findings from eight universities (14,086 students and 1,147 staff). NUHEP and university students report engaging in contract cheating in similar ways. However, while NUHEP educators spend more time teaching academic literacies and discussing contract cheating, NUHEP students are 12 times more likely than university students to report use of a professional academic writing service. Both NUHEP and university educators require systematic professional development regarding the relationship between the teaching and learning environment and students’ contract cheating behaviour. NUHEPs need to be cognisant of students’ vulnerability to commercial contract cheating services, and ensure they have access to timely academic and social support.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-139
Number of pages15
JournalAssessment and Evaluation in Higher Education
Issue number1
Early online date24 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • academic integrity
  • Contract cheating
  • higher education providers
  • NUHEPs
  • universities

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