Build Walls to Prevent Cheating

Teachnet Contributors share tips for keeping students’ eyes on their own papers. These simple techniques can be your first round of preventative maintenance.

I make tents for all of my students to use when I want to make sure it is their own work. You take two file folders and overlap one side of each [and stand on edge]. They can then set these up on their desk and their paper is covered in the front and on the sides. -“waysteve”

I have my students put up “security walls” around their space. Security walls are simply manilla file folders. I have groups of 4. One folder between each student creates a pretty secure testing environment. This is for a 7th grade class and they question me if I haven’t put the folders on the tables before the test. -MrTJL3SF

A variation on this idea is also a more permanent, reusable solution. Go to your local grocer or other retail store and collect cardboard boxes. Cut pieces of corrugated cardboard to 3′ x 1′, then score (cut through one layer) and fold in approximately 8-10″ on each side, creating the same effect as the file folders mentioned above. You can then have students decorate their own boards with markers, tempera paint, wallpaper or magazine scraps, or cover the boards front and back with decorative contact paper to make them last even longer. You can then lay the boards flat for storage and just stand them up and fold in the sides to use.

I teach grades 6-8 in a 32-workstation computer lab. When I give written tests, it is very easy for them to cheat. One thing I do is make 2 different versions of the test, and I’ll run them off on 2 different colored papers. I can see at a glance if anyone has switched papers. -Elyse

One thing I do is to provide laminated cover sheets for the students to use. They can be simple and serve the same purpose [as walls], but I used a graphic that is a file stamped “CONFIDENTIAL.” Then I added my own phrase, “Protect your answers.” I copied a classroom set on colored cardstock and then laminated them. I pass them out each time we take a quiz or test. I require that the students use them to cover their answers as they work. I collect the cover sheets along with the tests. Although this method doesn’t prevent all cheating, it has certainly helped. I think using this in conjunction with some of the other ideas would certainly make cheating almost impossible. –Kim S.

Prevention is the obvious first step, but what happens when the students still find ways to cheat? Any teacher will vouch that the older kids are, the more creative they become. Students may write answers on pencils (many have great eyesight and tiny handwriting), slip a “cheat sheet” underneath their test and look through the paper for the answers, or tuck a cheat sheet into their clothing or under their desk.

I just tell them that if I catch them cheating that I will take their paper, give them a zero with no chance of a make up and call their parents. I make sure I circulate the room during tests. I have only rarely had to deal with a cheater, and then I make good on my word. -Lise

I go to my local teacher store and by science display boards. My husband cuts them in half (width-wise). They are studier than folders and last a long time. My children are in groups of four, so only two boards are needed for each group. It make a perfect space for privacy and they store easily. -Joyce Hovanec, Glassport Elementary, PA