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Reducing the temptation students may feel to cheat begins before the exam and involves instructors providing students with clear guidance. But it also involves designing exams that frustrate cheating and monitoring students so they can tell instructors take honesty seriously.

Make Expectations Clear 

  • Discuss why integrity matters.
  • Explain what is or isn't acceptable during the exam. For example, students can use calculators but not cell phones.  Help students understand how exam expectations differ from homework or other assignments.
  • Give students a sense of the exam structure and types of questions ahead of time (possibly even give sample questions) so they know what to expect and may feel less stress.
  • Create a consistent policy on re-grades.

Design Exams

  • Use questions that encourage students to apply information rather than  memorize.
  • Encourage students to record their thought process about the question as evidence that they did the work themselves. You may want to give them and collect scrap paper as part of the exam.
  • Create different versions of exams (except for essay exams) so that students cannot easily cheat by looking at each others' papers.
  • Change exam questions as often as you can so that students cannot "borrow" other students' work from the previous term.
  • If you use take home exams, give students a clear set of policies to guide their work.
  • Avoid giving one or two high-stakes exams. Instead give students more frequent and lower-stakes exams throughout the semester.

Proctor Exams

  • Actively observe the room during the test.
  • Separate students from each other while they take the exam.
  • Regulate the use of electronic devices and/or have students leave their backpacks and other things at the front of the room.
  • Limit students to the use of four-function calculators only.
  • Require that students show their Penn IDs so you know who is taking the exam.
  • Announce ahead of time how many pages and problems are on the exam. Some departments even print that information on the first page of the exam.
  • Have students sign a statement affirming they have not cheated.
  • Make sure students do not have prepared answers in their bluebooks.
  • Scan or copy exams before returning them, so students do not change answers in requesting a re-grade.

Respond to Cheating in Progress

  • Interrupt the impermissible conduct and gather information: identify the student(s) involved, create a seating chart that will help you contact witnesses at a later time, if necessary.
  • Once you have stopped the impermissible conduct, permit a student to complete the exam, but note which sections were completed before you stopped the conduct and separate the suspect exam (or exams) from the rest.
  • Ask students to move apart or change seats.
  • Reiterate your examination-taking expectations/rules.