Cover Sheets on Tests

When students take tests or quizzes, I sometimes create more than one kind of test (form A and form B) to discourage students from cheating.  Sometimes I put “form A” and “form B” at the top even though they’re the same quiz, and other times I’ve been too busy that week to even think about creating a second test, so it’s just one quiz.  Whatever I do, I always require students to use cover-sheets (or cover-items–I’ll let them use their notebooks or textbooks as long as they don’t open them), and this is the talk I give them at the beginning of the year explaining why they should use cover-sheets:

“So why should we use cover-sheets?  Well, we all can accidentally glance around while taking a test or quiz–it takes a lot of concentration to look at just your sheet, so if I see that you are glancing around accidentally, and your neighbor has their cover-sheet covering their answers, then ‘no harm, no foul’ I say.  However, if you are glancing around accidentally and your neighbor doesn’t have their answers covered, then I am forced to assume the worst.  So for your neighbor’s sake, please use a cover sheet!!”

This gives students reason to prevent one another from not cheating while not making them look/feel stingy or overly protective of their work.  It makes protecting your work almost altruistic!  It also fosters the kind of cooperative thinking and feeling that I want them to have when we’re doing group work, for example.

It also allows me to have discussions with students when I see them looking around: “You know, even though I know you weren’t cheating and weren’t trying to cheat, it looks awfully suspicious when your eyes are staring at your neighbor’s sheet, so please try to keep your eyes on your own paper so I’m not forced to assume the worst.”  This puts the students on my side, while letting them know that I can see when they are in the act of (possibly) cheating.

Just some thoughts that might help other teachers!

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3 Comments

Filed under Teaching

3 responses to “Cover Sheets on Tests

  1. I always ask kids to take out 2 sheets of paper on quiz day, one for showing work (if not enough room on test) and one as “cover” sheet. I tell them, “Nobody wants to see your wrong answers, so please cover them up!” :))

  2. Last year I started using a class set of manila folders, upright, as “privacy folders”, but half way through the year they were being vandalized. I had many, many folders so I decided to just give each person one folder to keep in their backpack all of the time. They had to put their name on it (in case they left it in class) and they could decorate it however they wished (nothing inappropriate). Some kids glued on pictures of their favorite things, or drew pictures, or wrote “keep your eyes off my paper!”

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