Pupils buying poor quality A-level essays online


Ofsted has ordered teachers and exam boards to crackdown on cheating by A-level students who use online ghost writing services charging up to £220 for coursework that is barely literate.

In a major report, Ofqual said pupils were attempting to buy work billed as the equivalent of an A grade from online ghost writing services in an attempt to inflate their overall grade, but which only achieved an E or even a U grade.

The report said essays were riddled with typos and misspellings, used clumsy sentences, failed to answer the question and even employed "pompous" phrases that were clearly not written by an 18-year-old.

Ofqual said some companies sold hundreds of essays each month to students.

Glenys Stacey, Ofqual's chief regulator, said: "My message to students is quite clear. These essays are poor quality. Anyone who buys them isn’t getting value for money.

"And more importantly, while there can be valid reasons for students buying these essays, such as essay practice or research, any attempt to pass this work off as the student’s own is cheating."

She added: "One of the more shocking findings was that the essays supplied by these companies are not even the grade they claim to be. For example essays that claimed to be grade A quality were purchased and when they were analysed by our experts, the majority were only a C or even a grade D."

She concluded: "Exam boards should be doing everything they can to stop these essays being submitted into the system and they have a responsibility to ensure their malpractice monitoring systems are effective."

Researchers targeted three companies: Custom Essays, UK Essays and UK Essay Writing Services.

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