Authentic Assessment for ‘Ghostbusting’

Showcase Presenter: Lisa Maurice-Takerei

Ghostwriting was first defined in the mid 2000s by Clarke and Lancaster [1] as students actively seeks another person to undertake an assessment task for them. Generally, this form of cheating is seen as a commercial transaction where money changes hands [2]. There is a perception among academics that there is a rise in this type of academic misconduct overall. Recent studies suggest that surveys designed to determine the prevalence of this kind of cheating are not reliable and so it is difficult to ascertain how common contract cheating is in Higher Education and whether or not there has been a recent increase in incidents of contract writing. Nevertheless, while several studies have focussed on software for the detection of ghostwriting and plagiarism many universities lack consistent policies and procedures to tackle ghostwriting. Glendinning [3] however, suggests that policies and procedures aside, the place of academic as at the frontline in terms of detection and deterrence of ghostwriting cannot be ignored. Indeed, the topic of ghost writing has been high on the agenda of learning and teaching concerns throughout our faculty over the last months. In response to the suggestion that academics are at the front line in terms of the detection and deterrence of ghostwriting, we propose authentic assessment design as a response to this phenomenon.

Attendees at this showcase will be introduced to the 4Ds of ‘ghostbusting’ gleaned from a former contract writer, David Tomar, who identifies a range of strategies under the headings; Design (including differentiation), Deterrence, Detection and Dedication. Attendees will be invited to combine their collective knowledge, in discussion, to develop a resource/strategy in response to their own teaching environment as a response to the 4 Ds.

Dr Lisa Maurice-Takerei is and Academic Development Advisor at AUT who works with academics as they navigate their unique teaching contexts. Lisa believes that teaching and learning presents constant opportunities for growth and transformation; “at its best it changes us”. She helps academics recognise that Teaching and Learning is a negotiated process that presents opportunities to review and recast at a personal, paper and programme level.

[1] Clarke, R., and Lancaster, T. (2007). “Establishing a systematic six-stage process for detecting contract cheating,” in 2nd International Conference on Pervasive Computing and Applications, 2007, (New York, NY: ICPCA 2007), 342–247.

[2] Newton, P. M. (2018). “How Common Is Commercial Contract Cheating in Higher Education and Is It Increasing? A Systematic Review.” Frontiers in Education 3: 67.

[3] Glendinning, I. (2014). “Responses to student plagiarism in higher education across Europe,” in International Journal for Educational Integrity, 10:1, 4-20.