Did you know that 64% of high school students in the U.S. have cheated on a test at least once in their lives?
Unfortunately, this isn’t a new problem. Academic dishonesty has been a popular method for students to get ahead for as long as we can remember. For many teachers, this is the number one complaint about their profession.
What’s worse, cheating in schools can become a habit. The study above says that 68% of undergraduates cheat in some form. Graduates aren’t faultless, either: 43% of them have cheated on a test or written assignment.
The good news is that teachers have plenty of options to prevent cheating from happening. Here are 10 effective ways to even the playing field.
1. Discuss Integrity
Do you have concerns about cheating in your classroom? If so, it helps to discuss integrity and honesty with your students. More specifically, you should talk about how these concepts relate to your class.
Now, this may not do much to prevent student cheating by itself. What it will do is remind your students about the importance of academic integrity. Plus, if you’re upfront about cheating, some of them may think twice before doing it.
2. Manage Phone Access
As you may know, phones and other personal devices are perfect cheating accessories. Instead of confiscating each phone you see during the test, take a proactive approach. Start by setting some ground rules.
For example, you can have your students place their phones facedown on their desks. You can also create a designated area where students will put their phones before the test. This area could even serve as a charging station!
3. Avoid Multiple Choices
In recent years, standardized testing has never been more popular. Millions of tests have adopted the multiple-choice format, making cheating even easier. One way to get around it is to stick to open-ended questions on your test.
This approach comes with two benefits. First, seeing identical answers from students who sit next to each other is a clear sign of cheating. Second, these questions are much better at challenging critical thinking skills.
4. Teach Digital Responsibility
Digital responsibility is a key part of today’s educational world. If you have digital resources in your classroom, you should discuss how to use them properly. This includes making an argument against using technology for cheating in school.
The best way to do this is to spend a class period (or two) talking about digital responsibility. Go over the importance of honesty and decision-making while using digital tools. This is another method of reinforcing classroom expectations.
5. Create a Helpful Atmosphere
Many students don’t like asking for help, even if they don’t do well on tests. In a lot of cases, you can do something to make them more comfortable. For instance, you can encourage students to ask questions without getting reprimanded.
Another thing you can do is change your teaching style a bit. When you’re discussing something, have your students give their opinions on the topic. In a digital curriculum, this means having easy access to remediation.
6. Switch Up Seating
On test day, students who sit together are more likely to plan on cheating off each other. If you suspect foul play, assign students to sit somewhere else. Place those who tend to cheat as far away from each as possible.
Of course, the key detail is to not warn your students about the seating changes. If some students don’t take the hint, they’ll try to cheat off everyone else. This increases the chance that another student tells you what’s going on.
7. Make Different Test Versions
Speaking of cheating on tests, there are a few other things you can do about it. One popular trick involves making different versions of the test. This can include rewording the questions or arranging them in a different order.
Once you have two or more test versions, it’s time to decide if you’ll tell the students about them. If you don’t, spotting cheaters should be easier. If you do, you may discourage them from trying to cheat at all.
8. Check Digital Privacy Settings
Many study resources can double up as cheating opportunities. This is particularly true about account-based resources such as Quizlet. Crafty students can exploit these tools and review key information in a blink of an eye.
To prevent any issues, review the settings on each study tool you use. Pay particular attention to privacy and accessibility settings. If you want to go a step further, consider using online proctoring services.
9. Use Both Assessment Styles
School tests can be formative or summative assessments. The former evaluate how well your students are learning through the course. The latter — such as final exams — measure how much have the students learned during the course.
When it comes to final grades, most teachers focus on summative assessments. This often creates more incentive to cheat on those types of tests. To take some of the pressure off, try incorporating both assessment styles.
10. Define Success in Other Ways
Finally, consider how you define success in your classroom. Do you tend to categorize your student body into “good” and “bad” students? If so, they’re more likely to think of cheating as a viable option to get good grades.
Instead of focusing on grades, try to help your students learn. Make a mental note to praise the effort and hard work of every student in the class. This is great for encouraging active learning, even with “bad” students.
More on Cheating in Schools
These 10 methods can do wonders for preventing cheating in schools. The question is: which ones will work for you?
To answer that, think about why your students may try to cheat in your class. Do they dislike the topics or get looked down on if they ask for help? The more you know about their reasons, the easier will it be to pick your strategy.
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