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Teaching Essentials

How can I plan ahead to encourage academic integrity?

Set Clear Expectations

Set very clear expectations for the test environment. This will reduce confusion for students and allow instructors to follow up on concerns that don’t meet the expectations.

  • Tell students if they are not allowed to work together.
  • Tell students that submissions with similar or identical answers will be investigated.
  • Ask students to declare before the exam if they will be in the same location as another test writer.
  • Tell students which resources they can and cannot use.
  • Connect integrity in education to integrity in your profession (e.g. expectations from professional licensing bodies, industry code of ethics etc.)

Use an Honour Statement

Ask students to make a pledge before they begin the test/exam

You can embed an honour statement at the start of your exam, describing specific actions that are allowable or not allowable. Make sure you have showed the students the statement in advance. If you have to investigate suspected academic misconduct later, you can refer to these expectations in your follow up with students.

Sample Integrity Statement

*(Adapt these sections to fit your assessment)

This test is an assessment of your learning and includes (short answer responses, multiple choice questions and long answer calculations). Students are allowed to look at (course resources, including the course LEARN site and course notes). Students are not allowed to look at (online resources outside of Red River College’s LEARN site during this test). Students are not allowed to work with any other people to complete the assessment, including classmates, family, friends, tutors or other online supports. Students who do not follow these rules will face consequences according to the Red River College S4 Academic Integrity policy.

Please answer this question as TRUE if you agree or FALSE if you disagree.

  • The answers provided in this test are my own, based on my knowledge and access to course materials only.
  • I will not look at (any online resources outside of the Red River College LEARN site during the test).
  • I will not work in groups, share information in group chats, request answers from others or provide answers to others.

TRUE / FALSE

Talk About Your Concerns

Talk to students about specific concerns you have, the reason for your concern, the risks of misconduct and the consequences. 

Set a positive tone that doesn’t expect academic misconduct, but is clear about the risks and consequences.

For example:

“I want to remind everyone that sharing answers during the exam is not allowed. Students found to be sharing answers will receive a score of “0” on all or part of the exam. I want you to be able to show your best work and earn your grade fairly. Academic misconduct includes asking classmates for answers and looking at websites for answers. In this exam, I want to use only your textbook and your own ideas to show what you know. I look forward to reviewing your exam.”

or

“I have heard that students have been using chat groups or sharing websites to find answers for tests. I would like to remind you that this is risky behaviour with serious consequences. Students found to be using websites and services to provide them exam answers, will receive a “0” on all or part of the exam, which has a serious impact on your final grade. Please be ready to show your best during the exam. If you have any questions about which resources are allowed or not allowed to support your coursework, please contact me.”

Consider using authentic restrictions

Even with traditional test styles in remote delivery, you can choose authentic restrictions that reflect the expectations of the work environment, keeping in mind the level (novice or advanced) of your students.

Authentic restrictions are often easier to monitor and enforce, plus they provide a better learning experience. Inauthentic restrictions can cause more stress and don’t necessarily help you evaluate learning.
(Phillip Dawson, https://philldawson.com/; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9SusyUJjGE)

  • For example, in the workplace, do students need to have a list of definitions that they can repeat from memory? Or do they need to be able to apply the concepts to situations that occur? Is it possible to allow students access to the definitions and ask them questions that require application of the definition?
  • As another example, will professionals in your field have access to a manual in the workplace? Is it necessary that they repeat content from the manual from memory, or is it more important to be able to use the manual to quickly find information? Is it possible to allow students access to the manual during the test?

Further Reading:
Dawson, P. (2021). Defending Assessment Security in a Digital World. London: Routledge, https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429324178