Utah Tech University

Dealing With Cheating

Utah Tech University, like all universities, functions best when its members treat one another with honesty, fairness, respect, and trust. Fair assessment of student work is a critical factor in creating an optimal learning environment. When students are involved in academic dishonesty, the environment becomes less than optimal.

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty constitute a serious violation of University conduct regulations. Faculty have the responsibility to discourage students from cheating and to appropriately deal with cheating when it is detected. They are expected to instill in their students a respect for integrity and a desire to behave honestly.

Cheating is a form of lying, thus students who cheat are liars. The purpose of this website is to assist faculty members to learn ways to reduce the incidences of cheating in their courses.

Examples of Cheating at UT

Here are some examples from honest students regarding the cheating they see happening around them, as reported.

  • Students getting information from friends who have already taken a test in the testing center.
  • Take home assignments done in groups so an individual can do well with little or no knowledge.
  • Sitting next to a smart friend during an in-class exam and copying answers.
  • Finding quizzes with answers online or from former students.
  • In computer classrooms, searching for answers online while taking exams.
  • Allowing high non-attendance without a grade penalty, even when a syllabus says attendance is part of the grade.
  • Taking a test using another student’s ID – happens especially when “everyone looks alike,” as viewed from the ethnocentric perspective of someone checking IDs.
  • Fair-minded students just want a level playing field, but are cheated themselves when there are easy opportunities for others to cheat.

Recommendations that Faculty Can Do to Prevent Cheating on Campus

  • Don’t reuse the same test semester after semester.
  • Do take advantage of software tools in Canvas that allow questions and answers to be randomized, and even allow individual questions to be randomly drawn from mini-banks of similar questions.
  • For in-class exams, spread the students out; randomize seating order; use “A” and “B” versions of exams; and/or any of the other age-old techniques for making cheating difficult. Walk around the room and monitor students during an exam.
  • Don’t expect students to not use every opportunity and loophole you provide, and don’t blame them when/if they do. They are no different than students of any generation, and the world has and does promote opportunism. Make it easier to not cheat than to cheat.
  • Know your students and who is taking the tests. This includes a more careful check of picture IDs in the testing center.
  • Most cheating can be prevented through good assessment design and administration. This is within the power of all faculty.

Additional Things Faculty Members can do to Reduce Incidences of Cheating

Tips to Reduce Cheating in the College Classroom from Faculty Focus
  1. Clearly articulate your expectations for the class and EACH INDIVIDUAL ASSIGNMENT. Can students work with others on their homework assignments, for example? Can they use old exams, lab reports, etc. as aids in the course?
  2. Explicitly link assignments to learning objectives. 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.
  3. Reduce temptations to cheat. 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 the WiFi turned off in the test room.
  4. Talk to students about the relation of academic integrity to professional ethics and their future chosen career. Students are more likely to uphold integrity in academic assignments if they see it as holding more value than just being “another institutional rule.”
  5. 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! Also, many professors mistakenly assume that they can reduce cheating on their own, but it takes the entire campus. If instructors do not report cheating, that same student may be cheating in other courses and no one would ever know!

(Source: Tips for Reducing Cheating in the College Classroom)

Preventing Cheating

from the Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Advance Communication

  1. Whatever decisions you make regarding academic integrity, it is imperative that these decisions be fully communicated to students, TAs, and exam proctors.You can communicate expectations by making a clear statement on the first day of class, by including this statement in the course syllabus, and by repeating it on the class day before an exam and again as the exam begins.

Test Preparation

  1. Create a test that is fair to your students. Some students use an instructor’s reputation for giving “unfair” tests as an excuse to cheat. “Fair” means that the exam tests the material that you said it would cover, that students have enough time to complete the exam, and that there is a reasonable grade distribution.
  2. Control anxiety by discussing the test procedures and outlining the material to be included. Handing out old tests or providing sample questions also reduces anxiety.
  3. Write new tests each semester, whenever possible; at the least add new items.
  4. Prepare more than one form of the exam. You can have the same questions on each form, but (1) present questions in a different order on each form, or (2) vary the order of the response alternatives. Where calculations are involved, you can modify values within the same question on different forms so that responses are different.
  5. Pre-code answer sheets and test booklets by using a numbering system so that the number on each test booklet matches the one on each student’s answer sheet.
  6. To eliminate cheating after the exam has been returned to students, mark the answer sheets in such a way that answers cannot be altered (such as using a permanent felt-tip pen).

Test Administration

      1. Number seats and tests and then assign students to sit in the seat with the same number as the number on their test.
      2. Systematically hand out alternative forms, taking into account students sitting laterally as well as those sitting in front and in back of each other.
      3. Have sufficient proctors for the exam. Exam situations vary, but, in general, the following guidelines are advisable:
        1. Have one proctor per 40 students if the proctor does not know the students.
        2. If the proctor does know the students (i.e.., the proctor is a discussion instructor), have students sit together by section. This minimizes “ghost” exam takers by making it easier for proctors to recognize and account for their own students.
        3. Proctors should stay alert and move around the exam room. They should not be reading or involved in unnecessary chatter with other proctors.
        4. Proctors should never leave the students alone.
      4. Require students to bring their student IDs and another form of identification to each exam. To implement this requirement,
        1. Have proctors look carefully at each ID and student.
        2. Have an enrollment list or card file of names and signatures to be matched against the IDs (or signatures on exam answer sheets) that is to be checked off as students enter (or leave) the exam room.
      5. Immediately attend to any suspicious conduct by the students. If the conduct is suspicious (but not necessarily conclusive), you should move the students to other locations in the room. This is most successful when it is done immediately and with as little disturbance as possible. State ahead of time that you plan to follow this practice whenever something suspicious occurs, and that you do it as assistance to all students involved. A statement such as this frequently helps reduce the disturbance element.

(Source: Preventing Cheating)