Cheating in the Classroom
Do You Know How to Handle It?

Most students know that cheating in the classroom (e.g. cheating on tests, plagiarism, etc.), is wrong and wouldn't think of doing it!

But you must be prepared for what YOU would do if you caught one of your students cheating while you were administering a test in your class.

At the beginning of the school year, when you are talking to your class about evaluations/assessments, you need to bring up the cheating in the classroom topic. Have a relaxed and non-threatening discussion - getting from your students the pros and cons of cheating on any type of test whether it be a spelling, math, music, etc.

Also, consequences must be set and followed to the letter, although you must use your own discretion. You know your students, personally, academically and their family life. Do what you need to do and feel is the right thing to do as long as the child know he/she has done something wrong no matter how old he/she is or what grade they're in.

Before your students write a test, go over the cons of cheating and the consequences if caught. Try to prevent a vulnerable situation by separating desks or using textbooks on students desks as barriers.

Wander around the room constantly while your students are writing the test. Have students hand in their test after they have double checked it over. Keep your eyes on them, even after they have finished at their desk. They could help someone who hasn't completed the test.

I know you feel that cheating in the classroom won't happen in my class - but then you will be just as naive as I was when I first started as an elementary school teacher. Always, always be prepared for anything!

Another type of students cheating that you may come across in the older grades is plagiarism when it comes time for them to do projects/research. I discuss what plagiarism is, why students think they can get away with it and the serious consequences especially in university/college - like the possibility of being expelled.

I also send a note home for the parents to read and sign when I assign a project. I state that the internet and books are to be used as resources and not copied verbatim.

You know how your students write and what their capabilities are. You will be able tell if they have just copied the information from their research books and the internet. Even ask your students to explain certain words or paragraphs to confirm your suspicions.

Again state the consequences beforehand to your students - even write them down on chart paper - visible to all during the weeks they are completing the project.

And remember to follow through on your consequences or your students will think and know they can get away with plagiarism. They must be accountable as well and realize that cheating in the classroom is not the answer!

Want some more tips on dealing with students who cheat? Watch my video!

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