The Telegraph reports that essay mill websites must warn students that they face being punished by their universities for submitting fake work, the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has ruled.
The website of UK Essays has been misleading customers by failing to make them aware of the risks associated with submitting purchased essays, the watchdog said.
The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), whose complaint prompted the investigation, said it is a “landmark” decision Ian Kimber, the QAA’s director of academic standards, said: “Essay mills mislead students and put their academic and professional careers at risk.”
The ASA also said that UK Essays misled customers by selectively quoting from articles and implying that they had received positive press coverage.
Last year it emerged that more than 20,000 students are buying professionally-written essays every year
Research carried out by Doctor Thomas Lancaster and Robert Clarke, two of the UK’s leading experts in essay cheating, showed that tens of thousands of students are purchasing tailor-made essays via online “essay mills” in order to circumvent plagiarism software and cheat their way to top-class degrees.
Universities already have strict anti-plagiarism systems in place to detect the copying of academic texts. But contract cheating, where students purchase professionally-written essays to submit as their own original work, is far harder to detect.
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