As Don McCabe and Gary Pavela state, "Prevention is a critical line of defense against academic dishonesty" (Ten Principles of Academic Integrity
). Instructors may wish to consider some of the approaches suggested below, if they are appropriate for the course.
Preventing Cheating on Tests
Helping Students Avoid Plagiarism
- Ask students to write and sign an integrity statement on each assignment ("I have neither given nor received aid on this assignment.")
- Give written or oral pop quizzes.
- Put multiple choice and true/false questions at the bottom of the page where it is harder to copy.
- Distribute different versions of the same test or quiz.
- Change exam questions often.
- Arrange the testing environment in a way that limits student access to each other.
- Give oral and written instructions explaining which materials can or cannot be used on a test.
- Do not permit programmable calculators, or require students to clear all programs before exams begin.
- Have students put away books, notes, cell phones, or other prohibited items and store them out of sight.
- Require students to remove hats and dark glasses during exams.
- Have students exchange blank bluebooks (if applicable).
- Closely monitor the testing environment.
- Prohibit talking or communication during exams.
- Do not allow bathroom breaks during a test or quiz (announce this policy ahead of time!).
- Require students to sign a pledge that they have neither given nor received aid on the test or quiz.
- Refuse credit for correct answers unless all work is shown.
- Ask students to write and sign an integrity statement on each assignment ("I have neither given nor received aid on this assignment").
- Define and clarify what constitutes plagiarism.
- Engage students in dialogue about the implications of plagiarism. Why is it wrong? How does it undermine their opportunity to learn and prepare to become effective members of society?
- Avoid highly generic or recycled assignments.
- Provide appropriate instruction on use and citation of secondary sources.
- Structure assignments to emphasize the process of writing and the investigation and analysis of sources.
- Require students to develop possible topics early in the course.
- Provide the opportunity for peer review, and/or individual/group conferences.
- Require students to submit evidence of the writing process (paper topic, outline, drafts, revisions, summary of sources) on a particular schedule.
- Address problems students may encounter in documenting sources, as well as the role of technology in the research process.
- Prohibit last-minute changes in topic.
- Have students give you an in-class writing fingerprint at the beginning of the term as a point of reference.
- Require students to give oral presentations on their papers, including responses to questions from the class.
- Distinguish between plagiarism and misuse of sources.
- If applicable, announce to students orally and in the syllabus that their work will be submitted to Turnitin.com.
- Specify penalties for plagiarism and misuse of sources in the course syllabus.
(Source: "Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism: The WPA Statement on Best Practices"