How to Identify & Prevent Cheating in the Classroom

Learn how students try to cheat, how to recognize student cheating, and find strategies to reduce cheating in your classes.

Laura Van Dyke avatar
Written by Laura Van Dyke
Updated over a week ago

When cheating occurs in class, it’s not only discouraging to you as the teacher, it’s actually harmful to your students, as well. After all, students can’t learn the knowledge and skills they need to succeed if they devote most of their energy to finding new ways to cheat.

So how do you know when students are cheating? And what are some tips for stopping it in your classes?

In this article, you’ll discover:

How Students Try to "Beat" the AES System

There are a variety of ways students try to earn false grades within the AES curriculum. While the following methods aren’t the only ways students cheat, they’re some of the most common.

Sharing Answers with Friends

One of the most common ways students cheat using AES is by sharing answers to assignments and quizzes with one another. This can take a few different forms, two of which include:

  1. Using pictures or screen captures - Where students take pictures or screen captures of AES assignments or personal notes and send them to their friends.

  2. Using a shared Google Doc - Where multiple students share a Google Doc with each other, and then begin actively typing the answers to test questions on this shared Doc while a test is in progress.

Passing a Friend's Work Off as Their Own

Another way students often cheat is by directly taking a friend’s work and passing it off as their own. This can take a few different forms, including:

  1. Editing screen captures - Where students edit the screen captures of another student’s work and add their own name, making it seem like they completed it. They will then send the screen capture to you trying to prove they’ve done the work.

  2. Signing in as other students - Where a student borrows another student’s login information, logs in as that student, and passes off this other student’s work as their own to the teacher.

Editing Web-Based Resources to Alter Grades

For tech-savvy students, this is another sneaky way to cheat by misrepresenting the actual grade they received on an assignment.

In short, students edit the web-based resources of a webpage---the “code” of the page---to change how their grade looks on the page. Usually, this involves them changing a “0%” to a “100%”.

NOTE: The student isn’t changing their actual grade on an AES assignment, but simply how their grade looks on that specific page. You can still find their true grade in your AES gradebook for the student.

Using Quizlet or Other Websites

A common way students cheat is by using websites like Quizlet, Course Hero, or Chegg to find the answers to AES assignments or quizzes.

Essentially, this cheating strategy allows students to Google the answers to questions without going through the curriculum. Then, students keep the answers up on another tab or page while they take their test or quiz.

Need information on how to stop students from cheating with Quizlet? Read this article: What To Do When Students Use Quizlet to Cheat

Handing In Assessments “By Accident”

Another sneaky cheating strategy students can use is to “accidentally” hand in an AES assessment to get a sneak peek at the questions.

Then they can go find the answers to the questions they saw, and ask to retake the assessment with these answers in mind.

How to Spot Students Cheating

Now that you know the most common ways students try to cheat on their AES assignments, let’s review how you can spot these methods and prevent them from happening.

Review Screen Captures from Students

One of the best ways to prevent students from using screen captures to misrepresent their work is to closely review the screen captures they show you. Three components to look for in a high-quality screen capture include:

  1. The student’s name - It may seem obvious, but it’s important you make sure the correct student’s name is visible on the screen capture they submit. Otherwise, consider not accepting it as proof of work.

  2. The URL - If you’re concerned about a student potentially cheating, submitting the URL of their work to the AES team can help us determine whether the work is legitimate.

  3. The Windows bar or taskbar - The taskbar will house the timestamp of when a student took their screen capture, in addition to other information that will help the AES team determine the capture’s legitimacy.

It would likely be a good idea in class to emphasize to students that they must provide a visible name, URL, and taskbar in any screen captures they submit. This will make it easier to determine who, if anyone, is cheating in class.

Have Students Refresh the Page

As noted in the above section, one of the ways students sometimes cheat is by editing the web-based resources on a webpage in order to change how their grade appears on the screen.

To counter this, simply have students refresh the page in front of you to confirm that the grade on the screen is their actual grade.

This works because when students edit the web-based resources on a page, the changes they make are only temporary, and will disappear if the page is refreshed. This is a quick way to ensure the data they show you is accurate.

Ask for Help from IT or AES

If you’re unsure whether a student is cheating or not, one of the best ways to check is to ask for help. This can either be from AES or your school’s IT department, both of which should be well-equipped to lend you a hand.

To contact AES, click on the purple chat icon in the lower right-hand corner of the AES curriculum.

You’ll connect with one of our customer success specialists right away, and they’ll work through the data with you to determine whether your students are cheating.

Check for Multiple Tabs or Browser Windows Open

During tests and quizzes, students sometimes cheat by bringing up websites like Quizlet or sharing answers with friends on Google Docs.

A surefire way to counter these cheating methods is to check whether students have multiple tabs or browser windows open. If they do, do a quick scan to ensure any other tabs they have up aren’t leading to websites that students could use to cheat.

In fact, you might be better off limiting the number of tabs students can have open during an exam. Tell your students ahead of time that they can have no more than two or three essential tabs open. This will make it easier to check their screens at a glance.

Use External Resources Like Monitoring Software

Monitoring software is a digital product you can use to detect whether students are cheating during their exams. This software can save you loads of time by handling many of these anti-cheating strategies automatically.

One piece of monitoring software we often see school districts use is GoGuardian. This software gives you several options to monitor students’ actions during exams, including notifying you if they leave the tab their exam is located on.

Strategies to Reduce Cheating in Your Classes

While the methods above were specific strategies to counter student cheating, the strategies in this section will focus on how you can encourage honesty and prevent students from cheating in the first place.

Minimize Cheating Opportunities

One of the best ways to prevent cheating is to minimize the number of opportunities students have to cheat. In the AES curriculum, this can be accomplished in a few ways:

  1. Delete the previous year’s classes - If some students are retaking your class, they might have access to last year’s class, and all of the materials, quizzes, and assignments within. By deleting last year’s class, you prevent students from taking advantage of this.

  2. Use the Open and Close features - The AES system allows you to Open and Close units and assessments to control when students have access to them.

Inform Students that You Can See Their Data

Another way to reduce cheating in the classroom is to tell students you have access to their data and can see their actions on the AES platform. This includes what time they sign in, how long it takes them to complete assessments, when they go inactive, and more.

By telling students you can view their AES activity, they are less likely to try and cheat.

Need more information on viewing student activity within AES? Check out this article: How to View Your Students’ Activity in the AES System

Use School IT Resources

Your school’s IT department can likely help you take preventative measures to stop students from cheating. There are a few services they can provide:

  1. Downloading browser-locking software - Software products like Respondius and Illuminate Education can be used to restrict students to a single browser window while they’re taking an assessment. This ensures they aren’t using other windows to cheat.

  2. Blocking website URLs - Your IT department should also be able to block specific URLs so students can’t use them to cheat. This could include sites like Quizlet or Course Hero.

Create Custom Assessments

Sometimes, students may look up the answers to specific AES assessments that they can find online. To prevent this, a solid strategy is to use the custom exam feature in the AES platform.

By creating your own custom exams, you can mix together questions from several units or modules. This will make it much harder for students to find answers online, since the materials and titles will be different than the standardized ones available within AES.

Learn about creating your own exams in this article: How to Create an Exam

Update Your Assessment Settings

Using certain assessment settings within the AES system, you can hamper a student’s ability to cheat in a few ways:

  1. Only show students their exam grades - By tweaking the assessment settings, you can make it so that students only see their exam grades, rather than the questions they got correct or incorrect. This prevents students from screen capturing the questions to later share with their friends. In addition, you can put this feature on a timer so that the questions will unlock after a certain period of time, and students can review the areas they had trouble in.

  2. Limit attempts to take assessments - You can also limit the number of attempts students have to take formative assessments within the platform. This ensures students don’t take an assessment again and again to receive a higher grade.

Need more information on how to work the assessment settings? Check out this article: Pre-Test, Test, and Quiz Controls

Join the AES Community

To discover more strategies to run your class and ensure your students are honest, join the AES Community!

This Facebook community is composed of hundreds of teachers just like you, coming together to offer advice, support, resources, and more to help you solve challenges you face every day.

Did this answer your question?