Press Release

Turnitin Announces Development of Solution to Address Contract Cheating in Partnership with Leading Educational Institutions

OAKLAND, Calif; NEWCASTLE, UK; MELBOURNE, AU – February 1, 2018 - One in three college instructors report that their students have submitted papers written by someone else. However, instructors feel they lack the evidence and resources to take action. This survey conducted by Turnitin—a company at the forefront of academic integrity solutions for 20 years—supports the growing concern in academia that custom writing services are increasing the prevalence of “contract cheating” and diminishing the value of higher education. Click to Tweet.

“Contract cheating,” sometimes known as ghostwriting, is the practice of students engaging a third-party individual or service to complete their written assessments. Today, Turnitin announced a partnership with leading educational institutions to take action against contract cheating. With the help of academic integrity researchers, forensic linguists, and machine learning experts, Turnitin is developing a solution to counter the threat contract cheating poses to institutions’ values.

Turnitin’s upcoming solution, Authorship Investigation—available in the second half of 2018—will support institutions in identifying and investigating potential contract cheating incidences. The new capability will use a combination of machine learning algorithms and forensic linguistic best practices to detect major differences in students’ writing style between papers. The following institutions have joined forces with Turnitin to advise the development process: Deakin University, Griffith University, University of California San Diego, University of New South Wales, University of Northampton, University of Queensland, and University of Wollongong.

“Academic integrity is at the foundation of the educational enterprise and contract cheating poses a serious threat to that foundation,” said Tricia Bertram Gallant, UC San Diego’s Director of Academic Integrity. “Ultimately paying attention to pedagogy and assessment design is the best method for preventing contract cheating, but when it happens regardless it would be useful to have a tool to help identify it.”

“Educational institutions around the world stand united in our commitment to academic integrity.
We must constantly adapt and adjust our approach to it in the face of new challenges as they
emerge such as contract cheating,” said Cath Ellis, Associate Dean (Education) in the Faculty of
Arts and Social Sciences, UNSW. “A new industry is servicing a demand for assessment work to be completed to order for students so it goes unnoticed by existing detection tools. Something that enables institutions to identify when this is happening in a way that is both efficient and effective is going to be a big step forward.”                

“Turnitin prides itself on being a leader in academic integrity tools. We’ve addressed copy-paste plagiarism, student collusion, and research misconduct,” said Turnitin CEO Chris Caren. “Taking on emerging threats to academic integrity like contract cheating is a natural extension of our mission. As forms of academic misconduct evolve, so must Turnitin’s offerings. We believe in the value of higher education, and we see our forthcoming solution as playing an essential role in protecting the degrees institutions confer.”

Learn more about the problem of contract cheating and Turnitin’s upcoming solution here.

About Turnitin

Turnitin is your partner in education with integrity. Turnitin’s originality checking and authorship investigation services ensure academic integrity, promote critical thinking, and help students improve their authentic writing. Turnitin provides instructors with the tools to prevent plagiarism, engage students in the writing process, and provide personalized feedback. Turnitin is used by more than 30 million students at 15,000 institutions in 140 countries. Backed by Insight Venture Partners, GIC, Norwest Venture Partners, Lead Edge Capital and Georgian Partners, Turnitin is headquartered in Oakland, Calif., with international offices in Newcastle, U.K., Utrecht, Netherlands, Melbourne, Australia, Seoul, Korea and throughout Latin America. @Turnitin

Note to media: Online press kit with social-sized graphics and additional background here.

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Media Contacts:
Amanda Zeligs Hand for Turnitin, azeligshand@turnitin.com or 510-764-7600 *1018
Jennifer Harrison for Turnitin, jennifer@jharrisonpr.com or 916-716-0636

Tweet 1: 1 in 3 #highered faculty suspect student work authored by third party. @Turnitin takes action  http://bit.ly/TurnitinAuth

Tweet 2: Contract cheating is on the rise in #highered. @Turnitin announces plans for new product to identify and investigate #ContractCheating http://bit.ly/TurnitinAuth

Summary: Turnitin will develop a solution to help institutions identify and investigate contract cheating. One in three college faculty report students have submitted papers written by someone else.

Tags: Turnitin, Authorship Investigation, contract cheating, ghostwriting, cheating, higher education, college, university, student, academia, academic cheating, education, college faculty, academic integrity, contract writing services.


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