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When it comes to academics, a fair assessment is crucial for a student’s learning.
Academic dishonesty or cheating during an assignment, especially tests, and exams, can cause negative long-term effects. This is one of the most frustrating situations a teacher/tutor can face while teaching.
So why do students cheat? Is the pressure to have all “As” too great?
Even though we may not be able to eliminate cheating entirely, here are some tips to prevent cheating and instil honesty in your class!
Establish Clear Expectations
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Before starting the test, communicate clear expectations to your students about what is allowed and what is not allowed.
Remind them that cheating is not acceptable and that there will be dire consequences for those who are caught cheating.
On top of that, also include encouraging statements, such as reminding them that as long as they try their best, you are proud of them.
Set Fair Yet Challenging Papers
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If you are setting the test papers or modifying exam papers from different schools for your class, ensure that they are designed in such a way that they are challenging enough to test your students’ knowledge but also fair enough that they do not feel the need to cheat.
Your students will also most likely feel overwhelmed and unmotivated to complete the test paper if the level of difficulty is too high.
Ensure that there are a variety of questions to train their cognitive abilities and different parts of their brain.
Minimise Emphasis on Tests
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A huge part of why students get so stressed and anxious about tests and exams is partly because of how much emphasis schools and the government put on the importance of them and the grades the students get.
Therefore, they may also resort to cheating due to that. Instead of making them feel so stressed about the tests and quizzes you will grade them for, you could grade them for other components as well.
For example, you could grade their daily performances and their homework. However, do note that it is best to not use numbers or scores to grade them for their daily performances but to include more feedback and encouraging comments.
This way, students will not feel that tests and the grades they have to score for are so scary and important and will not be that stressed out when it’s time for a graded test.
Don’t Allow Smartphones
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Before the test, set procedures to ensure that they have minimal to no use of smartphones during the test.
Several teachers like to instruct their students to place their smartphones in a designated area in the classroom or the house rather than just instructing them to make their smartphones face down on their tables.
This is because it minimises the chances of cheating even more as compared to the latter method.
I’d also suggest volunteering to put your smartphone with them in the designated area to show them that you are in it with them as well.
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This should be implemented even before the test and during even regular lessons. Encourage integrity in your classroom by promoting honesty and hard work from your students.
Praising students who demonstrate academic integrity will motivate them to keep doing the right thing.
You should also constantly remind them that cheating is not worth the risk, and you can even bring up a few real-life case scenarios as examples.
Build a Supportive Class Community
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Along with the tip above, this should also already be practised during regular lessons. By having a supportive class community, your students will feel bonded as a class with you and will look forward to learning new stuff more often.
Mutual trust will also be built on top of the support in the class community, which already brings the chances of cheating to almost minimal levels as your students would not feel the need or even think to cheat with the amount of trust and support.
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By implementing these tips, you can help ensure that academic integrity is maintained in your class and that your students are receiving a fair and honest evaluation of their knowledge and skills without the need for cheating.