2. Design assessments to encourage honesty
There are many strategies you can use in your curriculum and assessments that will encourage honesty while discouraging or reducing the need for plagiarism and other forms of misconduct.
Individual assessment tasks
Here are suggestions for how you can design assessment tasks to minimise opportunities for cheating:
- Use a variety of assessment types such as written and oral.
- Change assignment topics for each study period to prevent recycling of past assignments.
- Set assessments that are interesting, or allow students to choose topics that interest them, or are relevant to local issues or perspectives.
- Give a selection of tasks, topics, or case studies from which students could choose.
- Where relevant, make proper referencing one of the assessment criteria.
- Ask students to provide, along with the references, a brief summary (or copy) of each source and where they obtained it, or collect an annotated bibliography prior to the assignment due date.
- Design assignments that integrate specific classroom experiences or responses to an issue.
- Assess work done in class (with possible prior preparation).
- Avoid assignments that can be written using information readily available in succinct form on the web.
- Assess both the process and the product (Carroll, 2015). For example, ask students to:
- Describe in their own words the aim of the task and the strategy or steps taken to complete the task.
- Include evidence showing the task at various stages of development, such as essay plans, drafts of written work or computer code, images of creative works.
- Reflect on how they solved problems encountered during writing/developmental process, including outputs of ‘failed’ attempts.
- Provide written rules for assessments. The rules must be clear and unambiguous.
- Provide clear marking criteria to students prior to them commencing an assignment.
Asking students to collaborate on the submission of a group assessment task raises important questions about the nature of collusion and academic integrity. Follow the advice from the Assessment and Assessment Flexibility policy and procedure to ensure students contribute positively to group work and avoid collusion.
- Design assessment tasks that focus on the group process as well the product. This will allow you to clarify expectations and improve transparency about individual contributions.
- Provide written and unambiguous instructions about the group task and responsibilities of group members. Define clearly what is acceptable as an individual contribution and what needs to be a collaborative effort.
- Indicate how students are to report on their individual contributions to a group assignment and how they will report on the group process.
- Help students to create a group contract.
- Provide steps for identifying and resolving conflict among group members.
- Consider including peer review on the contribution of group members or a reflection on the group process as part of the assessment criteria.
- For more advice go to the Group work tutorial (the Learning Lab).
- Ask students to report orally about their paper, incorporate an interview or oral defence.
- Ask students to reflect on their research and writing process.
Practice and formative feedback with Turnitin
Students need to know that detection tools are available and how to use them to check their work prior to submission.
- Introduce students to Turnitin's OriginalityCheck early in their course, in a formative manner.
- Explain the similarity index and the Originality Report produced by Turnitin.
- Allow students to see the passages of text in their work that match other sources. Explain the impact of innocent matches on the index. Such formative approach will help make them aware that not all identified text matches are of academic consequence.
- Encourage students to use Turnitin for self or peer review of early assignment drafts.
Validate student work
- Include a declaration of originality and authorship in the submission process.
- Clearly state the requirement for students to sign or accept the declaration.
- Refer to Assessment and Assessment Flexibility policy and procedure for more information.
This is just a handful of resources and research papers from the Support and teaching resources page for you to explore.
- Assessment resources for staff (the Learning Lab)
- The Four D’s of Ghostbusting is a practical guide, written by a former ghostwriter, on how to design assessments to minimise cheating. It is part of Detecting and Deterring Ghostwritten Papers: A Guide to Best Practices.
- The Academic Integrity Standards Project includes case studies and examples of structuring assessments.