In working with teachers for more than 30 years, one of the most common frustrations we hear across the board is the fact that students cheat to get ahead.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a recent problem. Academic dishonesty has been around since before anyone can remember. But why do students cheat? Do they dislike the topics? Is the pressure to get good grades too much? Are they looked down on for asking for help?
Even though this is a problem with seemingly no solution in sight, we’ve got some ideas to help you make some changes in your school.
Formative assessments evaluate how well a student is learning the material through the course.
Summative assessments measure how much a student learned during the course.
Essentially, that means formative assessments can occur at any point in time and summative assessments are performed at the end of a unit or class.
Teachers usually emphasize summative assessments like final exams or end-of-course reports when they determine final grades. In turn, that means students have more incentive to cheat on those types of assessments!
To take the pressure off and reduce the urge to cheat, try incorporating a more even balance of formative and summative assessments in how you give grades to your students.
7. Manage Access to Personal Devices
Regardless of whether your students actively cheat in the classroom, it’s a good idea to make rules about cellphones and other devices during testing.
Some teachers instruct all students to place their phones on their desks facedown so the teacher can see where they are.
Other teachers create a designated area (such as a drawer or basket) where students must place their phones when they enter the classroom.
You could even make this a benefit to your students by turning it into a “charging station” for students to plug their phones in during the day.
Even with these types of policies in place, some students will try to sneak their phone past you.
If this becomes a problem, you could may need to confiscate phones you see out during the test.
8. Check the Settings on Digital Study Tools
Sometimes, sneaky students figure out ways to turn study resources into cheating opportunities.
One of the most common culprits is account-based study resources like Quizlet. These are excellent ways to help students study and review key information.
But if you don’t review the settings for who can access the resources, you and your students could inadvertently be helping students cheat!
Your study resources may end up in Google search results, they may be passed between students in different sections of the same class, and more!
That’s why it’s smart to go through any external study tool and review all of the settings available.
Keep an eye out for either privacy settings or accessibility settings to control what students can access and when.
9. Change the Structure of Your Tests
In the era of standardized testing, millions of assessments have adopted the format of multiple choice questions.
Rather than asking these questions that rely on students memorizing information, challenge their critical thinking skills by asking open-ended questions.
Even if a student tries to peek at another person’s answers, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to copy the information down.
If they do, you’ll see two identical answers from students who sit next to each other -- a certain indicator someone was cheating!
10. Create an Atmosphere of Asking Questions
If you have a group of students who struggle to take tests but don’t like to ask for help, this is the strategy for you!
Try changing your teaching style to encourage students to ask questions at any point in time, without being reprimanded for interrupting class.
It’s also a great idea to have them think critically about what you’re discussing and give their own opinions on the topic.