Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
This email is being sent to all members of the Baruch College faculty.
For an archive of announcements sent from the Associate Provost beginning June 2011, click here.
Following are some best practices related to final exams. Endorsed by the college’s academic integrity committee, these are advanced as suggestions. Please feel free to seek clarification from Ron Aaron or me.
- Talk about academic integrity issues in your classes (including potential penalties).
- Do not use test banks—students often are able to hack into these (this is a serious issue).
- Do not administer the final exam on a date other than the scheduled one during the exam period (December 17-23). Doing so is a serious violation of college rules.
- Announce exam policies and procedures in classes before the exam and reiterate them at the exam. (Including such information on Blackboard.)
- Ask students to use the rest room before (not during) exams.
- Create new exams (i.e., never re-cycle exams) for every administration of an exam, including different exams for different sections
- Create multiple versions of an exam (differences can be limited to the order of questions) so that students sitting next to each other have different versions; seat students apart (when possible).
- Consider using different colored paper for the different versions, allowing you to see if students next to each other have the same exam. (Alternatively, exams of the same color make it impossible for students to know who else has the version they have.)
- If you use blue books, hand out only as many as needed and be sure to collect extras. (Students have been known to take extras home and write in them as preparation for other exams.)
- Mark your blue books inconspicuously so that a student cannot turn in a blue book he or she brought to the exam.
- Never allow students to take out their phones or other electronic equipment during exams. This policy should be announced in advance.
- Carefully and consistently proctor your exams, including while some students ask questions or are turning in their exams.
- Make use of additional proctors for larger classes. Our office will pay for them (see: http://www.baruch.cuny.edu/facultyhandbook/ProctoringExams.htm), but you or your department will have to find them. Make sure all proctors know the rules and procedures.
- Create fair exams that relate well to materials covered in classes.
- Turn in grades by the WebGrade deadline (January 2).
- Report all academic integrity infractions to Ron Aaron (by phone at x4577; the online reporting form is available at www.baruch.cuny.edu/integrityreport). The primary purpose of reporting is educative; reporting also helps ensure that a student does not falsely claim never to have cheated or plagiarized before.
Other important best practices relate to plagiarism. Many colleagues make use of Turnitin.com, a commercial database that can perform checks of written material against its database to locate matches. For more information about Turnitin.com, including how to gain access, see: http://www.baruch.cuny.edu/facultyhandbook/Turnitin.htm
For some suggestions about dealing with plagiarism, see: http://www.baruch.cuny.edu/facultyhandbook/PlagiarismTutorial.htm
Additional information about the college’s academic integrity policies may be found at http://www.baruch.cuny.edu/facultyhandbook/documents/Ac_Integr_Summary_Fall_07.htm (The page was revised much more recently than the URL suggests!)
Colleagues have asked me to remind everyone to remain outside of the room in which an exam is taking place until the exam-in-progress has left. Those administering exams are asked to observe the time allotted strictly. Rarely, but occasionally, an instructor needs to begin and end an exam slightly late. All parties are asked to respect each other’s time and to interact with understanding of everyone’s needs.
Thank you for your efforts.
Associate Provost and Assistant Vice President
Baruch College, CUNY
646-660-6504 (phone); 646-660-6531 (fax)