Academic Cheating: How Can We Detect and Discourage It?

Mclachlan, John Charles orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-5493-2645 and Penier, Izabella orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-1061-9029 (2022) Academic Cheating: How Can We Detect and Discourage It? In: Technologies in Biomedical and Life Sciences Education. Methods in Physiology . Springer, pp. 287-311. ISBN 978-3-030-95633-2

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We define cheating as the intentional use of prohibited materials, processes or assistance to undermine the validity of the assessment and gain an unfair advantage. We explore various ways in which cheating can occur and classify these under the three terms of the definition. Improper use of materials includes plagiarism, access to prohibited materials before the test and access to prohibited material during the test. Improper processes include denial of material to others and attempts to influence the performance of others by social means. Improper assistance includes impersonation, ghost writing and collusion. Addressing these issues involves questions of deterrence, detection and sanction. We consider technical means by which cheating can be detected, with an emphasis on electronic and online assessment. We then consider cultural, contextual, socio-demographic and personal factors which may have impact on cheating. Finally, we explore ways by which assessments can be designed to reduce the likelihood and impact of cheating. Design of a rewarding educational environment and attention to the cultural and personal factors which might promote cheating are important. We also recommend that assessments be delivered electronically where possible, to aid the detection of cheating, and that proprietary programmes which calculate various relevant statistics are used. We suggest that online solutions which permit proctoring are preferable to non-proctored approaches and that assessments are best designed as rating rather than ranking exercises.

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