The number of schools using plagiarism-detecting computer software to catch A-level students cheating in their coursework has rocketed, amid warnings that children as young as 11 need to be taught not to copy and paste from the internet.
Nearly 90 schools and more than 130 colleges now use the Turnitin database to cross-check pupils’ work with material found online – double the numbers two years ago.
Barry Calvert, of nLearning, which provides the software, said sixth-form heads believed young people needed to be tutored as early as year 7 in how to formally credit and reference sources, rather than just taking chunks of text off the internet and passing it off as their own.
The figures come at the beginning of a three-day international conference into plagiarism at Northumbria University, where experts from around the world will share ideas for catching cheats. The conference, organised by the nLearning-funded Plagiarism Advice Service, will hear how new research suggests that half of university students would be prepared to submit essays bought off the internet.