Encouraging Academic Honesty

Tips on how to encourage academic honesty in your classroom

  • Prepare your students, preferably in writing and well in advance of an exam, about your expectations for academic behavior. Let students know whether any materials will be allowed in the exam room, whether collaboration is permitted and what that includes, and whether writing in the text or notecards marking pages will be allowed.
  • If possible, use the course syllabus to inform your students about what constitutes academic misconduct in your particular course and then discuss it with your class.
  • Discuss the consequences of academic misconduct in your class.
  • Encourage students to question you if they are in doubt about the restrictions and exceptions in your class.
  • Inform students of the resources available to them if they are having difficulty with the material.
  • Take preventive steps to promote academic honesty during exams.
  • Spread students out within the classroom as far as possible. If classroom crowding is beyond your control, multiple forms of the same tests on differently colored paper may be helpful.
  • Actively proctor tests. Do not leave the classroom when a test is in progress. The instructor and any teaching assistants should be present. If possible, all outside materials should be placed in a single location within the classroom.
  • Provide scratch paper by stapling it to the answer sheets. If test booklets are allowed, collect them prior to the test and randomly distribute them to thwart any attempt to place answers in the booklet prior to the test.
  • Prearrange seating alphabetically or by using a sign-in sheet. Upon completion of the test/exam have students leave their papers at their seats face down. Collect all papers in sequence by rows thus allowing for detection of copying or sharing of answers during the test.
  • Before the test starts, announce that there will be no communication between students. Do not allow students to share calculators.
  • If you allow students to use notes or a page of formulas, consider providing that document yourself at the start of the exercise.
  • Secure the exam in a locked office and desk or file until you are ready to administer it.