Preventing Cheating on Tests and Exams
In designing the test or exam
- Modify your tests and exams every term. Even minor changes, such as changing the order of questions or altering numerical values will make a difference. Use a question bank to find more questions to make this task easier. If questions from previous exams are used, ensure that they reflect what is actually taught in the learning environment1, p. 50. Well-designed test questions are critical1, p. 51.
- Where possible, use long answer or essay format.
- Formulate questions in which students apply knowledge rather than memorize and reproduce answers.
- If you are administering the test or exam online, use features of a learning management system (i.e., UM Learn) to reduce cheating by randomizing the order of questions and answers, or using timed tests2.
Preparing students for the test or exam
- Provide sufficient information in the syllabus about the purpose and types of the test or exam questions that they will be required to answer. The more information that students have about the test or exam, “the more confident they will be about [it] and the less motivation they may have to cheat.”1, p. 66
- Similarly, provide students with practice questions that are similar in difficulty and form to what they will encounter on the test or exam.
- Direct students to resources that may help to prepare for completing multiple choice tests. Such tips can be found here at the University of Manitoba’s Academic Learning Centre webpage.
Exam procedure and security
- Protect test material and answer keys at all times3.
- Use various versions of the same test or exam so students seated next to each other are writing exams that vary in question order or contain questions with different numerical values or other details. Do not tell students you have used alternate exams when you have not.
- Track the number of copies made, distributed, and returned to ensure no copies are removed from the room without authorization3.
- Check student cards at the beginning of the exam. The University of Manitoba Exam Regulations stipulate “Each student shall display his or her student card and photo identification and shall sign an attendance form.” If a student is unable to produce appropriate photo identification (i.e., student card), arrange for the student to present it before you mark the exams. See also Section 4: Detection.
- Carefully invigilate your tests and exams. Be sure there are a sufficient number of invigilators for the size of the class.
- When possible, seat students with space between each of them.
- Provide scratch paper if required.
- Record the seating arrangement when possible.
- Scrutinize authorized items carefully (e.g., calculators, water bottles)3.
- Have students place all personal items (e.g., bags, coats, hats, and electronic devices) under their desks or chairs. Remind them that possessing unauthorized material (even if not used) is an offence under the University of Manitoba Exam Regulations4.
- The University of Manitoba Exam Regulations stipulate that students are not allowed to write the exam if they arrive 30 minutes late to the exam start time or after another student has finished writing the same exam and has left the room4.
- When marking the exams, draw a line though any blank spaces as to preclude students from adding material and claiming it was not marked.
After the test or exam
- Provide constructive feedback on tests and exams. Provide explanations on questions “that are missed by a substantial proportion of students.”1, p. 51