Monday, September 7, 2020

How to Stop Cheating

I’m asked about this issue many times by new teachers. Now that many students are learning remotely, I’m asked about this by many teachers, even experienced ones.

The best way I think I achieve this is by moving away from tests that ask students to regurgitate what they have learned through multiple choice questions, T/F, or short or long essays. That really doesn’t show me that they have learned and understood what they have learned.

I think the best way to assess students is by having them produce something that shows they have learned something. This also can appeal to students who have different learning styles. Some students may be more creative than others, but all are expected to make something new from their learning.

Years ago my class read the novel, The Scarlet Letter. This was required reading in some English classes but my students with special needs read the graphic novel. I told them from the start that they would have to make something at the end to show they read and understood the novel. I suggested some things such as a movie poster, a skit, a song, a dance, wall graffiti (on poster board), a brochure, a clay sculpture or anything else that they could think of (if approved by me). I was so proud of my students with all the creative items they produced! One girl went to vintage stores and came up with costumes for the time period. I think her and her mother sewed some things up from scraps. Another boy who attended machine shop at the vocational school made a pillory from metal.

By creating something themselves, they took ownership in their learning. No one was able to cheat or copy anything. It also kept the students engaged during learning because they were looking closely at things that they could possible do as a final project.

I have no doubt that all of my students learned something from that novel. Their reading decoding skills improved, reading comprehension improved, and they were able to show their understanding in their own way.

Recently I saw a student who was in that class 40+ years ago, and he still remembers doing that project!

How do you prevent cheating? Please share.

Photo by Ben Mullins on Unsplash

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