BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
    You are in: UK: Education  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
 Friday, 10 January, 2003, 16:12 GMT
Net closes on essay cheats
man on computer
January is a big month for submitting course work
Thousands of students handing in coursework this month will have their work checked for cheating.

A national computer system which detects work copied from the internet is facing its biggest test, as a lot of coursework is handed in during January.

The system checks the text of students' scripts against the net - including "cheat" sites - and if there is a high cross-match, suggesting copying, the script is returned marked red.

The plagiarism detection service is funded by the UK colleges' and universities' Joint Information Systems Committee and is hosted at Northumbria University.

It is based on the turnitin.com service from the US company iParadigms.

Originality check

Once students have submitted their work, tutors can ask the service to carry out a comparison of it against a database of previously submitted material - other students' essays and assignments - more than 800 million websites and essays from "cheat" sites.

The tutor can then access the results which are in the form of a colour-coded "originality report".

This highlights text within the assignment that has been found at other sources and provides links to them.

The tutor can then make a judgement about whether plagiarism has taken place.

For example, if more than 75% of the text can be matched elsewhere then it will be highlighted in red.

If less than 10% of the material can be matched it comes back in blue.

Essays banks

The joint committee's executive secretary, Dr Malcolm Read, said: "We have seen a growing trend - we have recognised that the internet makes it technically easier for students to find resources and copy them.

"It is so simple to lift text by cutting and pasting.

"We are also concerned about the emergence of essay banks on the internet.

"We want it to be easy to spot fraudulent work."

Gill Chester ran a pilot scheme which showed among other things that students were often not cheating deliberately.

"Students often don't know about plagiarism or how to acknowledge the sources for their work. This needs to be overcome."

See also:

27 Oct 99 | Education
27 Aug 99 | Scotland
25 Aug 99 | Scotland
13 Aug 99 | Education
13 May 01 | Americas
16 Oct 00 | Education
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Education stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Education stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes