General Contact Information
Office of the Provost & Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
One Bernard Baruch Way
New York, NY 10010-5585
135 East 22nd Street, 7th Floor
Office of the Provost and Senior 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.
As we head toward the final-exam week (December 14-20), here are some tips/best practices related to exams. These suggestions have been endorsed by the college’s academic integrity committee. Please feel free to seek clarification.
Administer your exam during the scheduled time: http://www.baruch.cuny.edu/exams/
Final exams may not take place outside of the exam period, including during the last week of class. This is true even if your students have indicated that they would prefer another day or time. Some will be intimidated into acquiescing by your request or by the opinions of their peers. Rescheduled exams can conflict with: students’ needs to be attentive and complete assignments in their other classes during the last weeks of the semester; time allocated for studying; other exams; state requirements for hours of instruction; etc. We have asked students to report to Student Affairs if their instructors have changed scheduled exam dates.
In the weeks leading up to exams…
- Talk about academic integrity issues in your classes (why academic honesty is important to you and to the college’s mission, but also about potential sanctions for dishonesty).
- Announce exam policies and procedures and follow up with emails or posts to Blackboard. (Reiterate just before the exam.) This should include policies about cell phones or other electronic equipment.
- Let students know that they should plan on using the rest room before (not during) exams. (Reiterate just before the exam.)
- Do not use test banks—students often are able to hack into these, creating a seriously uneven “playing field.”
Alternatively, give students the possible questions in advance—many more, perhaps, than will actually appear on the exam—so that they all have access to them.
- Write fair exams that relate well to materials covered in your classes.
- Never re-cycle exams: Write new exams for every administration of an exam, including different exams for different sections. Please remember that your previous exams often are available to students online or through club archives. To level the playing field and clarify your expectations, consider posting copies of your old exams.
- 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.)
- Do not administer final exams on a date other than the scheduled one. Doing so is a serious violation of college rules.
- If you use blue books, hand out only as many as needed and 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.
- Do not allow students to take out their phones or other electronic equipment during exams.
- Students should use the restrooms before the exam, but if an emergency arises, ask the student to leave his/her phone with you for safekeeping until the student returns or until the end of the exam.
- Students’ statements written on exams or assignments
- Consider asking students to write and sign statements before you administer the exam affirming that they will not cheat. Research suggests that doing so sharply reduces cheating (see, for example, Dan Ariely, The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty HarperCollins, 2012). Such statements should be brief, such as: “I will neither give nor receive unauthorized assistance on this exam.” Students can write this on the cover or first page of a bluebook.
- Carefully proctor, including while some students ask questions or are turning in their exams
- Make use of additional proctors for larger classes. Make sure all proctors know the rules and procedures.
If you suspect cheating…
- If another proctor is present, confirm the suspicion.
- If a student seems to be getting information from another’s exam, discreetly reseat the student. Note the time and circumstances of your observation(s) and the student’s location in the classroom (helpful when comparing exams).
- If a student attempts to use unauthorized materials, remove the materials as inconspicuously as possible.
- Allow the student to complete the exam—remember, your suspicions might be mistaken.
- Talk privately with the student afterward and do not conclude anything without hearing the student’s side.
- Follow these guidelines and report any incident to Associate Dean of Students, Pat Imbimbo, within seven business days by calling the office (646-312-4570), sending an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by filing the report form at: www.baruch.cuny.edu/integrityreport.
- Not reporting such incidents encourages students to repeat them in other classes. When the College is aware of multiple offenses, sanctions can be severe.
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. 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.
- Grade exams fairly and promptly.
- Submit grades by the WebGrade deadline (11:59pm on December 26).
- Report all academic integrity infractions to Pat Imbimbo by phone at x4570, by email to email@example.com, or via the online reporting form, available at www.baruch.cuny.edu/integrityreport.
Note: Few of us enjoy “policing” exams. Nevertheless, if we don’t model our concern for academic integrity—if we read the newspaper during exams or step outside to use our phones—students understand that issues of academic integrity are not important to us.
The foregoing are a few important best practices. Another—specifically for written work such as final papers, is use of Turnitin.com, a plagiarism-detection service. If you haven’t used it before, please contact Prof.Gerry Dalgish (English) for instructions on how to do so: Gerard.Dalgish@baruch.cuny.edu. Additional suggestions and links appear at http://www.baruch.cuny.edu/facultyhandbook/PlagiarismTutorial.htm.
Additional information about college 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.)
Thank you for supporting Baruch College’s academic integrity initiative.
Associate Provost and Assistant Vice President
Baruch College, CUNY
646-660-6504 (phone); 646-660-6531 (fax)