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How I Do It: How to Stop Cheaters?

Sit them next to each other, randomize questions, and threaten “File 13,” among other strategies.

  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

The Dreaded “File 13”
If you cheat, your paper goes in File 13. They know I am serious, and they also know it is the trash!
—Sharon F.

Protecting Your Property
I switch the focus to taking responsibility for their learning. You protect your physical property; you should protect your mental property. They own their work a little more then.
—Melissa K.

Random Sampling
For tests, randomize the order of questions but do not make it known. Each student gets a test with the same questions. They just appear in a different order.
—Katy E.

Core Idea
Let them work together, like in real life! For math, this supports the Common Core.
—Julie A.

Out with the Old…
I teach second grade. When I see children looking at others’ papers, I take their papers and have them read silently while others finish the test. Then, instead of centers or recess, they are given a fresh copy of the test and the old one is thrown away.
—Clarice H.   

Breaking the Pattern
I land hard on cheating in third grade so that it doesn’t become a pattern. I teach them that where they are academically is okay and the idea is to learn.
—Beth K.

Go Carrel-ing
With my third-grade class this year, I’ve resorted to having them put up carrels or partitions.
—Vince R.

No Cheater Pants
First graders don’t really understand “cheating.” They are just trying to get the answer when they don’t understand. I tell them that everyone is allowed to make mistakes because it’s part of learning, and that looking at someone else’s work is not a way to learn, so it is a problem. I also read Junie B., First Grader: Cheater Pants.

—Mindi S.    

Double Version
I teach seventh grade and make two versions of every assessment. I do tell them in advance, however. I’m not trying to “catch” anyone. I’m trying to prevent it from happening.
—Joann D.

Two Wrongs
I teach small groups. I remind kids it’s not worth it to look at someone’s paper because if the other person’s answers are wrong, theirs will be wrong, too.
—Kristin J.       

Two to None
Once I sat my two biggest cheaters next to each other. After about 10 minutes of trying to check each other’s paper they realized they’d have to do their own work.
—Heather R.

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