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 Provost’s Office beginning June 2011, see http://www.baruch.cuny.edu/provost/archive.htm
As we head toward the final-exam season, sending some tips/best practices related to exams seems timely. These suggestions have been endorsed by the college’s academic integrity committee. Please feel free to seek clarification from Ron Aaron or me.
In the weeks leading up to exams…
- Talk about academic integrity issues in your classes (including potential penalties).
- Announce exam policies and procedures in classes before the exam 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.)
- If your final is scheduled in the gym, at least two weeks before your exam you will receive specific protocols that need to be followed. Please share the student protocol with your students and post it on your Blackboard site.
- Do not use test banks—students often are able to hack into these (this is a serious problem).
- Create fair exams that relate well to materials covered in your classes.
- Create new exams (i.e., never re-cycle exams) for every administration of an exam, including different exams for different sections. Please remember that your previous exams often are available to students. 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 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.
- Do not allow students to take out their phones or other electronic equipment during exams.
- Carefully proctor, including while some students ask questions or are turning in their exams
- Make use of additional proctors for larger classes. The provost’s office will pay for them but you or your department will have to find them, see: http://www.baruch.cuny.edu/facultyhandbook/ProctoringExams.htm. 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 may be mistaken.
- Talk privately with the student afterward.
- Do not conclude anything without hearing the student’s side.
- Follow these guidelines and report any incident to Ron Aaron in the Office of the Dean of Students within seven business days by calling the office (646-312-4577) 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.
- Grade exams fairly and promptly.
- Submit grades by the WebGrade deadline.
- Report all academic integrity infractions to Ron Aaron by phone at x4577; the online reporting form is available at www.baruch.cuny.edu/integrityreport.
These are a few of the more important best practices. Others relate to plagiarism: an email on December 10, 2012 urged members of our faculty to use Turnitin.com; 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 your efforts.
Associate Provost and Assistant Vice President
Baruch College, CUNY
646-660-6504 (phone); 646-660-6531 (fax)