Online Exams & Academic Integrity

 By Robert Stephens, PhD | Assistant Director | Student Conduct & Academic Integrity Programs  


Overall Recommendations

  • Be familiar with the Academic Integrity process and report any suspected academic integrity violations to Student Conduct & academic Integrity Programs
  • Consider Authentic Assessment
  • In your syllabus, include an academic integrity statement or contract (examples are linked to on this page).
  • Provide clear expectations regarding online interactions, assignments, and exams, especially in regard to collaboration
  • Use formative, no-stakes quizzes throughout the term
  • Use horizontal grading for assignments and exams (the same person grading all answers to the same question; this is generally applicable for courses with multiple Teaching Assistants)
  • For writing assignments, utilize SafeAssign and be aware of “contract cheating” (having another individual completing the assignment). Signs of this include:
    • A writing level that does not match previous assignments
    • Content included that has not been covered or required in the course
    • Spelling from another country (humour instead of humor, programme instead of program)
    • A rigid formulaic structure
    • Writing that only addresses the question asked in the introduction and conclusion

Exam-Specific Recommendations

  • Include a statement on your exam the student must answer, similar to “By submitting this (paper, exam, assignment), I unequivocally state that all work is entirely my own and does not violate the University of California, Riverside’s academic misconduct policies.”
  • Be explicit about what exam supports are acceptable for use during an exam in your course, and what are not. This includes items such as books, calculators, notes, and online study guides. Consider if you allow students to use external supports requiring them to acknowledge their sources. If you allow an online study guide that students may contribute to, make it “official” and note that it will be monitored (and do have it monitored); also be explicit that any other joint online study guides are not allowed.
  • Avoid textbook questions.
  • Do your own online search with your questions ahead of time and modify them if it is easy and quick to find the answer online.
  • Do not use the same bank of test questions repeatedly. You may be able, for the same exam, to create multiple versions to be administered to students randomly.
  • Limit the time during which a student can complete an online assessment to something that is reasonable yet limits the ability for students to look up answers.
  • If possible, limit access on the test to one question at a time.
  • In smaller courses, conduct follow-up oral exams (this could be one or two questions from the test, verifying student knowledge), possibly via Zoom.