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Five Tips to Reduce Cheating

Apr 18 2012

  • Clearly articulate your expectations for the class and for EACH INDIVIDUAL ASSIGNMENT. Can students work with others on their homework assignments? Can they use old exams, lab reports, etc. as aids in the course? If they work in teams in lab, can they work together on the write-up?
  • Explicitly link assignments to the student learning outcomes of the course. Students often cheat on assignments that they see as meaningless or“busy-work.” If they understand the point of the assignment, especially how it will help them learn the material, they are more likely to push through it on their own rather than copy from someone else.
  • Reduce temptations to cheating. We cannot control student behavior, but we can at least show them that we care about the integrity of our classes by doing little things. For example, space students out during exams, provide multiple versions of the same test, require students to leave all non-essential materials at the front of the room, and have theWiFi turned off in the test room.
  • Discuss the relationship of academic integrity to professional ethics and students’ future chosen careers. Students are more likely to uphold integrity in academic assignments if they see it as holding more value, as opposed to it just being “another institutional rule.”
Report all cheating when you see it, rather than ignore it or handle it on your own. A professor can become known as someone who does not tolerate cheating or look the other way, and then the cheaters will not choose her class!
 
Many professors mistakenly assume that they can reduce cheating on their own, but it takes the entire campus. If instructors do not report cheating to the department chair and to the campus dean of students, that same student may be cheating in other courses and no one would ever know!
 
Resources:
  • Davis, S. F., Drinan, P. F. & Gallant, T. B. (2009). Cheating in School: What We Know and What We Can Do. London, Wiley-Blackwell.
 
To follow up on any of these ideas, please contact me at fglazer@nyit.edu. This Weekly Teaching Note was adapted from a contribution to the Teaching and Learning Writing Consortium sponsored by Western Kentucky University.
 
Contributor:
Barbara Millis
Teaching and Learning Center
University of Texas at San Antonio

Author: francine_glazer