It went viral, generating more than 600 reader comments (not all of them friendly). The resulting debate proved a moment of inflection.
My article illuminated the shady world of undetectable plagiarism, prompting a passionate public discourse on academic dishonesty.
Ariely's assessment of why students might employ ghostwriting services--a simple calculus that accounts for the perceived benefits, the risk of getting caught, and the level of societal acceptance for this mode of dishonesty--seems very much on point.
Unfortunately, Ariely's conclusions on the subject are entirely anecdotal and, as a result, may actually be quite misleading.
Many educators didn't just find my claims offensive, they found them impossible to believe. Not saying he couldn't have done some ghostwriting for undergrads, but writing doctoral level psych papers?
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Writing a dozen theses, including the methods sections? I even put on my third best shirt and interviewed with David Muir.In the coming months, we saw sweeping changes in the way schools teach and test.Posing as an ordinary customer, Ariely and his research team order a 12-page paper on the subject of cheating (Isn't it ironic? ) from an unspecified number of “essay mills.” When and why do people cheat?Consider the social circumstances involved in dishonesty, and provide a thoughtful response to the topic of cheating.This was, to our minds, a pretty basic and conventional request.The essay mills charged us from 0 to 6 per paper in advance.But, maybe standards have dropped that much.” The skepticism is amusing, but it's also an enormous impediment.If you don't believe ghostwriting is a problem, I can't help you.We began to prioritize enrichment over evaluation, growth over grades, deterrence over detection.The motives underlying student cheating began to erode, and with them, the emergent cottage industry of academic ghostwriting withered until there was nothing left but a few broken links, reminders of the brief moment in history when educators allowed technology to get the best of them…