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Deter Offences

Tips for Deterring Specific Offences

Tests & Exams

  • Enforce the rules used for Faculty examinations at all tests and quizzes in order to familiarize students with them and reduce the number of final exam offences.
  • Ensure that invigilators know what to look for and how to respond if they observe suspicious behaviour. You may find it useful to have a short meeting prior to the test to review these procedures.
  • Make announcements at the beginning of the test specifying which aids are allowed, emphasizing that cell phones are considered unauthorized aids.
  • Deter impersonation by checking student ID cards and signatures. Do a head count and a test book count. Compare these totals against the sign-in sheet to ensure all exam booklets are secure.
  • For multiple-choice tests, scramble the order of questions into two or more versions of tests or examinations.

Resubmission of Altered Tests

  • When grading, do one or more of the following:
    • draw a line through any blank space that remains;
    • make a slash mark at the end of an answer;
    • draw a circle enclosing the answer.
  • Do not hand back original Scantron forms.
  • Photocopy a random sample of tests before returning them, and let students know that copying tests before returning them is your practice.
  • Do not accept tests written in pencil for regrading


  • Educate your students about plagiarism.
  • Ask students to submit an Academic Integrity Checklist with each assignment to remind students at the point of submission that they are required to meet certain basic expectations.

Re-use or Multiple Submissions of Same Work

  • Remind your students that this is an offence, and explain why it is an offence. Many students think that because the work is their own, they are free to use it in whatever manner they please. It may not occur to them that re-using work defeats the learning process and gives them an unfair academic advantage over other students who are not taking similar “shortcuts”.

Unauthorized Collaboration

  • Educate your students about appropriate collaboration.
  • If you require individual work, ask students to submit a statement confirming that the work is theirs alone.

iClicker Offences

  • Limit iClicker use to non-graded work (e.g., as a rough measure of student engagement with your course or understanding of the material).
  • Clearly state in your course syllabus that responding with another student’s iClicker, or lending an iClicker to another student for that purpose, is strictly prohibited for any reason.

Misuse of Medical Notes/Excuses

  • Encourage students to take tests when scheduled as delaying seldom allows for the student to be better prepared, and often results in a lower grade.
  • Follow the practice of the Petitions Office and only accept as medical documentation a U of T Verification of Student Illness or Injury form, and require that it “must indicate that the doctor diagnosed and treated you when you were ill; it cannot just report that you told the doctor after-the-fact that you were ill previously.” Include a link to the form in your syllabus.
  • Require students to meet with you when submitting a note for a missed test, and give them a brief ungraded pop-quiz on the material. Even if they suffered an acute illness, they should be able to answer a few basic questions on the material. Instructors who use this strategy have reported a dramatic reduction in the number of notes received.

“Lost” Assignments

  • Have an established and required procedure for assignment submission: require that they be submitted directly to you, the TA, or the department and date-stamped at the time of receipt.
  • Do not allow students to slide work under your door, put a paper in your departmental mailbox with no verification, or leave it in an unattended pile (students have been known to take work that is not their own).
  • Require students to email assignments to you and “cc” themselves. You don’t have to print a copy, but you will both have a date-stamped copy of the assignment.
  • Return assignments directly to students. Do not leave them in a box, or allow students to collect their friends’ papers.

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