While teachers loathe examinations almost as much as students due to the enormous amount of paperwork involved when it comes time to correct them, they are a necessary part of assessment as are various in-class assignments and essays. Unfortunately, more and more students would rather cheat on their exams and copy their essays off friends rather than do the requisite work. This is done for several reasons: some are just too lazy, others feel under pressure due to unrealistic demands placed on them and yet more feel that they are unable to successfully complete the assignments and get a passing grade. Whatever the reason, you need to be vigilant as cheating does no one any favors.
In the old days, it was exceedingly difficult to find out whether a student was copying their essay from someone else as everything was hand written. While this is still done in some schools, you are much better off making your students write out their assignments on a computer. The reason for this is that you can then use a Plagiarism Detection Service to find out whether many hands have been making light work. Turnitin.com is just one of the many sites that catches plagiarism by showing up similarities between student’s work. They can also be used to ensure that the pupils have not plagiarized the work off famous writers.
You may notice that when it comes to final exams, all halls are watertight in terms of security. Although you cannot monitor your students in the same manner during less important tests, you can still use one or two of their devices. One of the most obvious is to ban all cellphones and other electronic equipment in the room. Force all students to hand over their phones and if anyone is caught with it during the exam, throw them out of the room and give them a big fat zero mark. Technology also enables students to use tiny headphones and listen to notes which they have recorded.
If a student is desperate enough to cheat they will find other ways to do so. With the electronic method unavailable, they will instead resort to old school ways. This includes writing notes on a variety of different objects. They can use chewing gum wrappers, the desk, even their hands! During the course of the exam you need to be on constant alert. Pace up and down between the desk aisles frequently, keeping an eye out for any suspicious behavior. Also, don’t allow a student to go to the bathroom by themselves. Notes are ridiculously easy to conceal and it would only take a few seconds to jog their memory with the aid of a sheet of paper in the toilet. Incidentally, you should also check the bathroom itself for notes, you never know!
Cheating is a blight on education but there will always be those who attempt to do it. The thing is, cheaters will always eventually get caught and they will never amount to anything because as exams get more important, security gets tighter and they won’t have the opportunity to cheat. As a teacher, you need to drum the importance of honest study into your class so that they shed any cheating habits they might have in their infancy.