40: How to Prevent Cheating On NGSS Assessments

October 12, 2020

This week, Nicole and Erin answer another listener question. Listener Marissa asks advice on preventing students from cheating on her NGSS assessments. Nicole and Erin discuss practical strategies and the intent behind the NGSS.

Why Cheating is a Hot Topic Right Now

Many teachers are working remotely. So, it’s impossible to say what resources students have in front of them when they are taking a test. Consequently, many teachers are concerned about increased cheating in a remote setting.

Prevent cheating with non-traditional assessments.

Traditional assessments are easy to cheat on. Often, the questions on these traditional assessments are content based. Therefore, it is easy to find the answers with a simple Google™ search.

However, when we look at non-traditional assessments the answers are harder to find. These assessments are harder for students to find answers for. So, non-traditional assessments are more likely to provide a realistic picture of your students understanding of the material.

Consider the purpose of your assessment.

When writing an NGSS aligned assessment, it is important to consider the purpose of the assessment. For example, many teachers are writing assessments based solely on content knowledge. As a result, they feel they need to have a questions to assess each aspect of that content knowledge.

However, like the NGSS, the assessments should be three dimensional. Students should be showing their understanding of content. But also, they should be demonstrating their understanding of the Science and Engineering Practices and Crosscutting Concepts.

Formative assessment should also be considered.

Your summative assessment doesn’t have to cover every aspect of the content that was taught. Formative assessments can provide a more complete picture of your student’s understanding of the material.

This probably means that you are writing shorter assessments.

Since you don’t have to write questions for each piece of content knowledge, you assessments will likely be much shorter. Tests will likely be composed of a few questions related to a given scenario or a given task.

Creating Assessments that Aren’t Google™-able

It’s true. Your students will have access to technology and an array of search engines. So, now it’s more important to create assessments that can’t be answered through a simple search.

Using the Tools They Have Available

In reality, it might not be the worst thing if students are able to find information through a search engine. This is a resource that they always have available. When applicable, it should be utilized.

However, students should be gaining the skills necessary to tell when the information they are using is beneficial to their task. Also, they should be able to identify when those searches aren’t enough to complete their task.

For example, assessment questions should include application of content knowledge rather than just content knowledge by itself.

Phenomena-Based Assessments

Make sure students are applying their content knowledge by adding phenomena to your assessments.

Other Resources to help prevent cheating on NGSS Assessments