What Is Contract Cheating

Although it has been defined in different ways, contract cheating is best described as the “outsourcing of student work to third parties” (Lancaster & Clarke, 2016, p. 639).

Contract cheating can happen through “family and friends; academic custom writing sites; legitimate learning sites (eg. file sharing, discussion and micro-tutoring sites); legitimate non-learning sites (eg. freelancing sites and online auction sites); paid exam takers; and pre-written essay banks” (Ellis, Zucker, & Randall, 2018, p. 2)

The act of contract cheating, and its associated behaviors: undermines learning; erodes learning environments; damages learning relationships; places the student, the faculty/teacher, the educational organization, and society at risk from students who will graduate with knowledge gaps; undeserved academic awards; and a propensity to engage in dishonest behaviors in their professional careers (Guerroro-Dib, Portales, & Heredia-Escorza, 2020; Harding, Carpenter, Finelli, & Passow, 2004; Lancaster, 2020).

For current information on contract cheating, and strategies to prevent contract cheating and promote academic integrity in learning environments,  check the Quality Assurance Agency UK’s online report titled Contracting to Cheat in Higher Education and the Tertiary Education Quality Education Standards (Australia) web page.


IDOA Twenty in 20 Global Conversations on Contract Cheating Videos

Watch the IDOA Twenty in 20 Global Conversations on Contract Cheating Videos Here:

Part One 

Part Two

Part Three



View Dr. Thomas Lancaster’s September 21 Webinar, “Taking Action Against Contract Cheating”