Table seating: how to ensure students don't cheat?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Caesar753, Aug 15, 2011.

  1. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Aug 15, 2011

    There is a strong possibility that next year I will have tables instead of desks. This means that I will have 3-4 students at each table. How can I ensure that they don't cheat?

    I've considered using those tri-fold privacy things that I bet we all used when we were in elementary school. My concern is that while their work may be shielded from each other, it will also be shielded from me, so I won't have any idea what's going on behind the privacy folder (cell phone, notes, etc.).

    I know that it would be great if I could design my assessments so that students were creating unique products, but that isn't going to work for me for most assessments. In the first and second levels of my subject area, the content is a lot of vocabulary, basic grammar, and other lower-level thinking. It would be next to impossible for me to design individualized assessments for each student on any sort of regular basis. I have to have a way to assess basic fact and vocab memorization.

    Any ideas for me?
     
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  3. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    I did an A/B copy of all my tests. Exactly the same questions, just in a different order. I didn't put A or B on the test either, and didn't mention it to the kids (although of course they caught on after we discussed the first test).
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I had planned on doing that for big tests, but I don't know how to make it work for my smaller, more frequent tests. In the past I've always done a weekly vocab quiz. Just ten words, projected up on the Promethean, and students write down the meaning or the word in the target language (whichever I ask for). I like that kind of quiz because it saves me paper and because it's quick to take and quick to grade, so it gives me near-immediate insight about how much they know.

    Do you think it would be better to just go ahead and do an A/B version of my small weekly quizzes?
     
  5. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Hmm. I see what you mean about the weekly quizzes. You give me something to think about, because I am also switching to tables this year. My kids have plenty of books to stack between them, but yours might not. Is writing on their laps, using a book, just too awkward?

    You could do quizzes on different days, like half the class does theirs on Thursday, the other half on Friday. But then you would have to make up 2 quizzes, and with your numbers, the non-takers might cause too much noise...

    I'll have to think some more!
     
  6. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Anyway that they could spread out for the quizzes or specify that all materials besides a pencil and piece of paper are under their desks.
     
  7. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    All materials will be off the tables, but there will be no spreading out. 4 kids around a table, possibly more, will be a tight squeeze. They'll basically be on top of each other. :(
     
  8. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Just thinking here ... do your small quizzes have to be for a grade? Could they just be for practice?
     
  9. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I'd like for them to be for a grade. Our admin wants us to get three assessment grades per week.
     
  10. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Aug 15, 2011

    I had tables last year and did the tri-fold. But I had to circulate the room for every test and quiz (even with A/B forms)... and I know you have twice as many kids in a room than I do.

    Could you have them put their phones in their backpacks and place the backpacks along a wall during a test or quiz?
     
  11. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    The circulating is basically the only thing I've come up with. I obviously do it anyways, I'll just have to really up the ante. Students can be sneaky little buggers. :lol: If there's a way to cheat, I know they'll find it, even on my very easy, very straightforward quizzes.

    Cell phones are always an issue. The rule is that they are supposed to be put away during class. I know my students well enough to know that there will always be some of them who try to skirt the rules.

    I'm considering the backpacks-along-the-wall thing, if for no other reason than to eliminate hazards in the walkways. With potentially 50+ students in every class, that gets to be a lot of backpacks wherever you put them. I don't know if I have enough wall space for all of them. :eek:
     
  12. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Aug 15, 2011

    Can you get clipboards? I know you're tight on space, but that might allow *some* students to not work right on the table, while still eliminating the "oh, I didn't realize my answers were RIGHT THERE ON TOP OF MY BINDER cheating you get if they're using those to take it on their laps.
     
  13. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Clipboards are a great idea! I even have a bunch already! I can definitely throw a couple of those into the mix.
     
  14. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    I've had the kids pile their binders between each other for a shield; I have them take out (or I provide it) a piece of paper as a cover sheet.

    Our kids are supposed to turn their phones off and leave them in their lockers when they come into school. I've already been warned that there are two cell phoners in the group I'm getting this year. The one is so sneaky he hasn't been outright caught, but the teachers from last year are sure he uses one.

    I like the clipboard idea clarnet73 had. Sometimes you can get them donated. It may be worth asking around.

    Good luck!
     
  15. mathrulz

    mathrulz Rookie

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    Aug 16, 2011

    One thing I do to help remove the cheating issue is by having a "testing seating chart" that changes for each assessment. I assign a number to each seat in the room and make a poster to put up at the front of the room. Then as the kids are entering class I hand them a numbered card that designates their seat for the test/quiz.

    I find that mixing up the seats means they cannot rely on students they are used to sitting next to and sometimes they are not sitting next to anybody depending on how the numbers turned out. Also, I normally sit a high and low student together but by mixing, the levels mix too.
     
  16. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I do tables (on purpose!) and I do a couple of things. I do have A/B versions of tests and some quizzes. It helps when I do m/c questions because students have to figure out which question goes with which answer. That takes time and they don't have a lot with quizzes. I am starting to create a separate sheet for diagrams on the tests so it doesn't help students know where their peers are. Mixing up the answer choices helps too.

    The biggest opportunity for cheating comes when I throw up a quick quiz on the overhead. I stress to my students that if I can read their answers when I walk around then their neighbors can too. We have reminders that making your work accesible to others is a form of cheating as well. I have taken quizzes that were unfinished because they were open for all to see.
     

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