Because we know students are more likely to cheat when they are underprepared and overwhelmed, effective assessment design can help students to not feel the need to cheat in the first place. These strategies include:
- having expectations of academic integrity part of the discourse and content of the course, making students responsible for understanding these ideas in context;
- giving students formative assessments to practice the skills and content they will be evaluated on, so that they can build disciplinary confidence;
- making marking rubrics and other evaluative information explicit, and ensuring students have opportunities to clarify their understanding of assignments well in advance of deadlines; and
- ensuring assignments are authentic to the discipline, so that students don’t see assessment as a hoop to jump through but instead as skill-building toward their future career.
After assignments are submitted, consider building in the expectation that students will answer further questions about the assessment, either in a one-on-one meeting or in a small group setting, or by submitting a videoblog with their assessment. Reflective practice as a component of assessments can also underscore that it is the student’s own work the instructor is seeking, and not some mythical “right answer.” These strategies can mitigate the sense that the assignment exists in a vacuum, and allows students to see the impact of their writing on readers. It also helps to establish the kinds of relationships between instructor and learner that have a meaningful impact on community.