Ensuring academic integrity is a concern for any educator, and as technology and Internet use continue to grow in K–12 (and higher education) classrooms, the need for online academic integrity has never been greater. Fortunately, there are a number of things teachers and administrators can do to help ensure their students are properly completing their schoolwork.
1. Establish an honor code.
One of the best ways to make sure students are honestly completing their schoolwork is to explain to them what that means. Your staff should work to establish an online academic integrity honor code, explain it to students, and enforce it. If students understand how to complete their work without plagiarizing or cheating, many of them will make sure to avoid doing both.
2. Set consequences for failing to meet the honor code.
Just as important as establishing and communicating the honor code is setting consequences for when students break it. Make sure that the consequences are appropriate for the action so students understand what could happen should they choose not to adhere to the honor code.
3. Review student work, including ungraded materials and notes.
Formative assessment is one way of checking if your students are understanding what they’re learning before test and quiz time. If you haven’t yet incorporated formative assessment into your classroom, consider checking in with students throughout the unit by asking questions, having them turn in their notes for review, filling out worksheets about the information they learned, and so on. Taking the time to check in with your students throughout the learning process can help you identify who needs more help and may be tempted to cheat on graded work.
Edgenuity® users can enable Teacher Review to be alerted when a student has reached an assessment so they can check the student’s work before unlocking graded activities. Doing this can help you identify students who are struggling or not properly completing their work before they have the chance to fail a graded assessment; it can also allow you to proctor assessments to prevent cheating.
4. Review grade weights for assessments and other activities.
If your students take quizzes or complete other graded work at home, consider weighting those activities and assessments less and weighting proctored assessments like tests and exams more. Explain to students that quizzes help prepare them for the higher-stakes assessments and cheating on quizzes robs them of that preparation. Make sure the grading weights are set up the way you want them to be and revisit the weights regularly to make sure they’re still working for your students.
5. Implement digital barriers to prevent students from completing graded work outside of school.
Removing students’ access to their online coursework outside of school is another option for educators who want to cut down on opportunities for cheating. Depending on the digital learning tools and solutions you use, there may be a number of ways to do this, including requiring teachers to unlock graded materials, shutting off access to the program from other IP addresses, and so on. Explore what options are available to you and consider what would be best for your students and educators.
Edgenuity users can implement IP Registry or the SecureLock Browser Experience to limit what students can do outside of school. IP Registry can block students from accessing assessments or Edgenuity entirely when they are away from the school building, giving educators the opportunity to both proctor graded work and be present when students are working through their courses. Schools can also implement the SecureLock Browser Experience to limit actions students can take while they work on Edgenuity at school, including opening new tabs, browsers, and programs.
Many of the same things teachers and educators have done for years to ensure academic integrity can be applied with online learning, but there are additional steps your school or district can take to go further in establishing online academic integrity. What has worked well with your students?