University of Nottingham

Understanding contracted support and building resilient assessment



Understanding contracted support and building resilient assessment


There is currently concern in the UK over the practice of students purchasing bespoke answers to their course assignments. Such ‘contract cheating’ is thought to be widespread although often undetected.

Students’ use of ‘contracted support’ is certainly a major challenge for assessment across the Higher Education sector. Yet we believe simply outlawing authoring service providers misunderstands the ambiguity of this activity.

This project will take a lead on developing practical policies and strategies around help-seeking more widely. We seek to develop a better understanding of how students understand and pursue help-seeking, and how such matters are understood by staff; especially, how the design of assignment tasks can protect academic integrity.

The outputs will include evidence-based policy recommendations for enhanced educational experiences.

Project Category:


Funding Allocated:


Funding stream:

Education Partnership Fund


University of Birmingham
Dr Anke Buttner, Psychology

University of Nottingham
Professor Charles Crook, Education and Dr Elizabeth Nixon, Business


In Partnership: The Universities of Birmingham and Nottingham

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Telephone: +44 (0)121 414 3974

The University of Nottingham
University Park,

Telephone: +44 (0)115 846 7554