Cheating by students on courses and in exams in British universities and colleges is on the increase, according to official university returns. Blame for the rise is partly due to the widespread availability of essays and answers on the internet that can easily be downloaded and submitted as a student’s own work.
The highest figures for cheating come from the University of the West of England (UWE), which identified more than 300 cases in the last academic year, up from 245 in 2005/06. This represents about 1% of its students, and could be a result of its solid detection procedures, according to the university.
At Bristol University, more than 70 cases were reported last year (from 12,000 undergraduates), against 46 at Bath University (13,000 undergraduates). Bath’s figures more than doubled from 2005/2006.
Cheating, by copying someone else’s work and passing it off as your own, can be difficult for university authorities to detect. But universities employ a variety of means, including specialist plagiarism software and visiting the websites that students use.