Preventing Academic Misconduct: Cheating

Preventing Cheating Prior to an Exam

  • Explain how cheating harms the academic community.
  • Discuss academic honesty at the beginning of the semester as well as before examinations and assignments.
  • Demonstrate that honor, integrity and truthfulness will be important to students’ professional and academic career (i.e. professional code of ethics).
  • Discuss the Student Honor Code Policy and consequences for students who violate the policy.
  • Minimize the opportunities students have for cheating (i.e. do not use the same test each semester, create more than one version of a test, etc.).
  • Take actions that are visible to students in order to prevent academic misconduct.
  • Ensure equal access to study material.
  • Explain how you will evaluate students’ performance.
  • Develop a culture of honesty.
  • Make sure students know that a copy of the Student Honor Code Pledge must be submitted with all assignments.
  • Make students aware of campus resources (i.e. library, writing center, math lab, etc.).
  • Visit the Center for Teaching and Learning’s website (www.ctl.msstate.edu/).

Cheating During an Exam

  • Have a seating chart during exams for large classes.
  • Allow the student to complete the exam even if suspected of cheating.
  • Do not assign a grade until after adjudication: Use the notation “GDP” if alleged violation occurs at the end of the semester.
  • Allow the student to continue going to class until after adjudication.
  • Separate students who appear to be working together on an exam.
  • Ask for unauthorized material.
  • Walk around the classroom.
  • Stand where students cannot see you (i.e. standing in the back of the classroom).

Online Academic Misconduct

  • Define academic misconduct.
  • Utilize blackboard features.
    • Disallow printing
    • Disallow copying and pasting of exams
    • Utilize lock down internet browser
    • Allow review of results after testing window has been closed
    • Password Protection of Exams
  • Vary assessment strategy (discussions, papers, test, projects etc.).
  • Use plagiarism detection software like SafeAssign.
  • Require students to submit a draft, outline, or concept paper before final version.
  • Develop rapport with students.
  • Require students to obtain a proctor for their exam.
  • Communicate with students (telephone call, email, discussion board).
  • Provide students with learning outcomes and the criteria by which they will be assessed.
  • Use questions that require analysis, synthesis, or application.
  • Protect the test bank (i.e. re-wording questions, changing order of responses, not allowing exam to be printed, etc.).
  • Set strict time limits on tests, especially if using multiple choice test.
  • Utilize narrow testing windows.

Handling Alleged Violations

  • Contact the Honor Code Office to inquire about prior violations or to discuss suspicious behavior in the classroom.
  • Demonstrate that the situation is important, but show concern for the student.
  • Utilize supportive communication when meeting with the student.
  • Follow the Honor Code Process: Understand that students may beg you not to report the violation. This may have unintended consequences:
    • Unethical Behavior Continues
    • Missed Educational Opportunity

Do you suspect academic misconduct?

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Contact Us

Phone: 662.325.9151
Fax: 662.325.3699

Mailing Address
Student Honor Code Office
Mississippi State University
608 Allen Hall
P.O. Box DS
Mississippi State, MS 39762
Mail Stop 9515

Office Hours:
Monday through Friday
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

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