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Expectations for In-Class Assessments

In-Class Assessments = High Pressure + High Stress

This leads to increased temptations for students to cheat, especially in large classes where they feel anonymous and invisible.

In addition, because our student community is diverse with varying educational backgrounds, cultural norms for examinations (e.g., no cheat sheets) may not be shared. Thus, it can be helpful to reduce opportunities for cheating and remind students of your expectations for honest, trustworthy, respectful, responsible and fair behaviors.

To remind students:

  1. State these expectations in your syllabus, on the exam itself, or on the course website/ LMS site
  2. Remind students at the end of the class before the class in which the in-class assessment will occur
  3. Remind the students the day of the exam on the exam cover sheet and/or a PowerPoint the day of the exam (on the exam cover sheet as well as on a PowerPoint or overhead).

Consider the following prevention practices and rules:

Assign Seats

To help prevent students from arranging to copy from a friend during an in-class assessment, we suggest you use assigned seats. To do this, see Prof. Glenn Tesler's site, Assigning Seats at UC San Diego using Canvas. It includes how-to videos and room spreadsheets for assigning seats in your classes using Canvas. This includes randomized seats or specific seats, and seating patterns like every other row or seat and more.

Ddownload additional classroom maps not found on Glenn Tesler’s site:

Use Multiple Exam Versions

If you cannot space out students in an exam (e.g., every other seat), we recommend that students receive different versions of the exam/test/quiz. Typically, you need at least 3 versions (so neighbors do not have the same version as each other).

For paper exams, these tools and instructions for an exam question randomizer tool comes to you courtesy of Professor Lynn Russell (SIO).

  • Step 1. Fill in Questions and Answers in the exam question randomizer sheet (Excel). Then hit "return" to randomize then sort columns B-I and save.
  • Step 2. Open Test Template For Merge (Word file), select MailMergeManager [Catalog, GetList, open doc - 50Questions&Answers.xlsx].
  • Step 3. Run MailMerge (item 6 on manager, middle icon with "run" arrow).
  • Step 4. Save this version of questions then repeat until you produce as many versions as you need.

For Canvas exams, you can randomize the quizzes so all students do not receive the same questions in the same order.

Clarify the Use of Authorized Materials

To prevent students from using aids that you would consider unauthorized or cheating, clearly specify to students what is and isn't allowed, especially if it might not otherwise be clear. For example:

  • Are students allowed to use calculators? If so, what kind?
  • Can students choose to use pen or pencil or are you specifying one or the other?
  • If it is an "open book" assessment, what do you specifically mean by "open book"? Is that just the textbook or anything, including people, available on the internet and GenAI tools?
  • If you are allowing an authorized aid, such as a formula sheet, be very clear on what is allowed in terms of number of pages, size of pages, etc. 

Also, if you are requiring the use of bluebooks or scantrons, we recommend one of two practices to avoid students coming with pre-written materials:

  1. Have students hand those in at the beginning of the quarter and you distribute them at each in-class assessment
  2. Students bring in their own bluebook and/or scantron, but swap with a neighbor

Ensure Students Put Away all Other (non-authorized) Materials Before the Assessment Begins

Students might use common devices, such as cell phones, tablets, smart watches, to cheat during exams. Because students are very attached to these devices and sometimes aren't even aware that they are using them, be explicit about their use so students can't say, "I didn't know," or "I had it on me but I wasn't using it to cheat."

Your clarity before the exam can cut down on the difficulty you experience when dealing with students who violate the rules.

State in writing that it's required that:

  • Students turn off and put away (in a backpack or purse) cell phones, headphones/ earbuds and any other electronics, before the exam begins.
  • Any student seen with an electronic device of any kind on their person or within reach will be in violation of class policy and will result in a 0 on the exam, whether it was used during the exam or not. Instructors can give a 0 for violation of a class rule. However, if the student was found to have been cheating with the device, these cases will need to be reported to the AI Office.

Be Wary of Canvas Quizzes

We do not recommend using CANVAS Quizzes for high stakes tests if you are having students complete those quizzes remotely or even in class but on their own machines. Obviously, when completing these remotely, there is little you can do to minimize cheating temptations and opportunities.

Even when you give these in class with protoring and you are using a lockdown browser, students have access to digital methods of cheating. For example, they can share their screens and use apps (like WeChat, Discord, ChatGPT) to communicate with others or employ browser extensions (like Courseology) to provide AI generated answers to exam questions.

Clearly state any other exam standards

Consider other rules you have that may not be common in high school or in other university classes. For example:

  • Can students leave the classroom, such as to the restroom, during the exam?
    • If not, state that in writing before the day of the exam.
      • For example, "Students may leave the exam at any time for any reason, but there will be no re-entry into the exam room. If you will need to leave the room for medical or psychological reasons, be sure to provide me with documentation from the Office for Students with Disabilities."
    • If students can leave the classroom, think ahead about how you will prevent possible cheating outside of the room.
      • For example, a students might talk to a confederate on the phone or in person, or access notes/ aids stashed in the bathroom before the exam. Some instructors have used the following practices:
        • Have students sign in and out of room. Note the time they left and intervene if time is extended.
        • Have students turn in all of their possessions to you and do not allow them to take anything with them.
        • Have a TA accompany the student.
  • Can students sit anywhere they want during the exam?
    • If not, you could assign seating, making it easy to check for exam proxies if you use a picture roster and check IDs. Be sure to state your rules in writing before the day of the exam:
      • Students cannot sit by anyone they know.
      • Students must sit in sections. This allows your TAs to proctor their sections easily!
  • Are you going to require identification at exams?
    • If so, remind students to bring identification with them.
    • If students forget their ID, have a computer with you or print out the picture roster so you can check the student against their university ID picture.