I saw this post at University of Venus, which sent me to read the links that Monica Miller provides.

This article, The Smart Set: The Term Paper Artist – October 10, 2008, old as it is, made me shudder.  So did this one “The Shadow Scholar”, from the Chronicle of Higher Ed – perhaps more well known. Anyone want to take a stab at how much of this form of cheating goes on in (Cdn, British) law schools? Neither article mentions law school, I think, and I wonder if law school is just too specialized for these services (dream on, I reply to myself).

I’m interested in this paying for papers thing, rather than the simple cut and paste from google or the plagiarising yourself (submitting same work for credit multiple times) or submitting a friend’s paper which has already been submitted.  The author of the piece above is discussing the “bespoke” model, custom written papers, and it costs accordingly.

Bizarrely, I’m almost as angry about the unfairness of access to this form of cheating (only students with money can afford it – although the (is this irony?) tale of students who have to work long hours buying papers that they don’t have time to write with the money they earn in that time – argh!) as I am about the cheating itself. Almost, but not quite.
I’m also curious about the gender angle on this kind of cheating…both of these authors are men, and the main “client” in the Shadow Scholar piece is a female student who can’t write a sentence, but no one comments directly on gender.

Ah well.  This line in the first article:

I know something they don’t know; I know why students don’t understand thesis statements, argumentative writing, or proper citations.

It’s because students have never read term papers.

intrigued me a bit, since have thought before about how to introduce students to model of “what they are supposed to be doing…” and I think perhaps the author is making a point that educators need to think about.  And for a final horror, there’s this Who Is Punished for Plagiarism?, in which a Professor decides to take on cheaters, finds 20% of his class is cheating, sees his evaluation ratings plummet and loses a portion of merit pay.  There’s also a helpful section near the end where how to “make cheating impossible” is discussed as an alternative to improved detection/punishment.