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Detecting Cheating*

Most students get caught because they've been careless in their cheating. Here are some things to look for.


  • An average student hands in a sophisticated and error free paper.
  • Footnotes don't mach the cited text.
  • There isn't a single footnote or quotation mark.
  • Paper topic isn't on something you assigned.
  • Student hands in paper late or asks for an extension on the due date; is the reason valid?
  • Certain passages sound familiar (e.g. they came directly from the text - don't laugh, it's happened).
  • Type face on title page doesn't match type in body of paper (this has happened, too!)
  • Student's paper is a photocopy but the title page is typed.



  • "Ringers" can be detected by looking for unfamiliar faces at the exam.
  • Student has no ID; doesn't know his/her social security number.
  • Missing pages in a blue book may be a sign.
  • Numerous erasures on an exam returned for re-grading (grade alterers often make a habit of this on their exams).
  • Wandering eyes in an exam room; talking during exam.
  • Papers and notes on floor near desk.
  • Notes may be written under calculators.
  • Identical incorrect answers appear repeatedly on two or more exams.
  • Student leaves room during exam.


*used with permission. Navarro, J., Clark,D, and Halley, D. An Instructor's Guide to Academic Dishonesty at UCSB. Office of the Dean of Students. University of California, Santa Barbara 1989.

consultation contacts

George Michaelsexecutive director2130 Kerr Hall
lisa berrysenior instructional consultant1130 Kerr Hall
mindy colininstructional consultant1130 Kerr Hall
Mary Lou Ramos database and ESCI administrator1130 Kerr Hall
Aisha Wedlaw ESCI assistant1124 Kerr Hall
Breana Barakoffice manager 1130 Kerr Hall
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