Top 10 (or so) “I have to go to the washroom” exam strategies.

bathroom break It never fails; there’s always a student that raises their hand during an exam and says “I have to go to the washroom.” Your initial reaction may be “too bad, wait” but you can’t do that. So, here are some tips to ‘flush’ any student attempts for cheating on an exam.

 

  • Understand your college policy for such circumstances and send the policy to your students the day before the exam date.
  • Before the exam starts, tell students that now is the time to go to the washroom, not during the exam. It will give the impression that there is no option, even though you know that you can’t prevent them from going.
  • Write the time they left and the time they return on the front page of their exam.
  • Make note how many eraser marks there are and where they are on the existing answers that they have, up to the point when they went to the washroom. For example, if they have answered 25 out of 50 multiple choice questions with no eraser marks before they went to the washroom, make note of it. Upon final review of their final exam, if you see some of those 25 answers were changed after they used  the washroom, then I would be very suspicious. You can try this with short answer and True or False questions as well. Also, let the students know that you will be doing this if they have to leave to use the washroom during the exam.
  • Make sure they don’t have their cell phones on them when they leave. Don’t search them, you’re not a police officer.
  • If you are in a larger room and have the assistance of exam invigilators/supervisors, have one of them accompany the student and wait outside the washroom. You should have a male and female supervisor to cover your bases. The only thing that escorting them will do is to make sure they don’t talk to anyone to and from the washroom. By the way, don’t stand outside the stall; that’s ridiculous and unnecessary.
  • Lighten up, yet hint before they leave that you are aware that using the washroom during an exam has been used as a method for cheating, “you didn’t write all the answers on the toilet roll in the stall before the exam did you?”
  • Limit washroom visits to one student at a time.
  • Reiterate the consequences of academic dishonesty and the short term and long term implications.
  • Keep an eye on the length of your exam. If it’s a 3 hour exam, what do you think will happen?
  • Don’t say, “…and make it quick!” Really?

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Chalk Stick Cartoon ‘Graduation Day’!

 

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The Graduate Reunion.

Graduate Reunion

Can you hear the ‘D’?

It’s always great when a former student drops in to say “hi”, years after they have graduated. As I was thinking about the recent grad ceremonies, I vaguely recall a ‘Graduate Reunion’ that occurred several years ago (‘vaguely’, because I went to a lot of rock concerts in the 70’s – remember sneaking in those wine skins full of ‘Baby Duck’?). As you read to the end of this post, this particular reunion may bring a smile to your face, as I’m pretty sure we’ve all done or seen a similar thing, especially for anyone that has ever worked [Read more…]

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