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An Educator's Guide to Cheating

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Students who cheat used to scribble crib notes on slips of paper, or on their hand, but with the rise of mobile technology, cheaters have become very savvy in their tactics. This guide developed by educators and based on real-life experiences exposes some of the new ways in which students attempt to cheat--as well as some old school techniques--that will help keep your students honest. Each cheat is followed by practical advice for how to combat the specific tactic.

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An Educator's Guide to Cheating

  1. 1. An Educator’s Guide to Cheating “I would prefer even to fail with honor than win by cheating.” -Sophocles
  2. 2. Beware the Bathroom 1 The Cheat: Students leave course materials in the bathroom as a reference for individuals or a group. BUSTED! This cheat is surprisingly prevalent and can involve mobile devices. The easiest way to bust this cheat is to limit bathroom breaks and require students to leave their mobile device with you prior to leaving the classroom.
  3. 3. Beware the Mobile Device 2 The Cheat: Students receive answers to exam questions on their mobile device (perhaps someone is texting from the bathroom!) BUSTED! Many instructors have banned devices on exam days.
  4. 4. Beware the Innocent Looking Piece of Scrap Paper 3 The Cheat: This is an oldie, but a goodie. The scrap of paper may contain answers. BUSTED! Be aware of what students have in front of them during exams. Get up and walk around as students are taking the exam. Paper is a necessary part of most exams, but if something looks fishy, investigate further, or as one instructor suggested, you provide the paper.
  5. 5. Beware the Browser 4 The Cheat: google.com BUSTED! Lock down the browser so that no other windows can be opened during the exam. Ask your IT coordinator how to do this if you are unsure about how to implement.
  6. 6. Beware the Burglar 5 The Cheat: Sneak into professor’s office and steal the exam. BUSTED! Yes, this still happens! But, a move to online exams with question pools and algorithmic questions will thwart any potential breaking and entering.
  7. 7. Beware the Chairs 6 The Cheat: Students sit next to one another to cheat, or place notes under the desk to retrieve on exam day. BUSTED! There’s a very simple solution to this tactic—assign random seats on exam day.
  8. 8. Beware the Smart Watch 7 The Cheat: the Apple Watch, or smart watch. BUSTED! No mobile devices means no mobile devices; anything that can access the internet or store cheats—including that thing on your student’s wrist—have to be left at home.
  9. 9. Beware the Calculator 8 The Cheat: Calculators can do some pretty amazing things, unfortunately they can facilitate cheating, too. BUSTED! Not allowing calculators during exams within the quantitative disciplines is not realistic, but you can ban the sharing of calculators.
  10. 10. Beware the Body Part 9 The Cheat: This one is old school; the student writes the answers on an exposed or semi-exposed body part such as the hands, the arms, the legs. BUSTED! Okay, this one is a little tricky; you don’t want to be a creep examining your student’s skin, but look for telltale signs such as sleeves that are repeatedly rolled up and down, hands that are kept under the desk, or closed fists.
  11. 11. Beware the Hat Brim 10 The Cheat: Answers are written on the underside of the hat brim. BUSTED! Require hats off and placed out of reach.
  12. 12. Random Cheats 11 The Cheat: Visible Ink - The student attempts to conceal answers within a tattoo. The Cheat: “Invisible Ink”- A student will write answers using heavy pressure upon paper with a tablet stylus. The stylus “etches” the information upon the paper. During the exam, the student uses a pencil to shade a seemingly blank page to reveal an etched answer. The Cheat: Crowdsourcing-Students who are taking an online course meet on exam day to take the test as a group.

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