Center for Continuing Studies - Innovative Leadership for Lifelong Learning

Center for Continuing Studies - Innovative Leadership for Lifelong Learning - St. Cloud State University

SCSU Online Testing Center


Academic Misconduct and Dishonesty during Proctored Exams

Even though these tools- in addition to the fact that our staff periodically walk about the Testing Center to observe students while they complete their exams- help us to monitor test-taking behavior and may deter some forms of deceptive student behavior, they are not remedies and can never guarantee that a truly motivated student will not engage in (or get away with despite our best efforts) academic misconduct.  Cheating is a reality in higher education, whether the student is enrolled in an online course or a traditional course that physically meets on campus.  A common misconception among the higher education community is that students taking online courses are more likely to cheat.  There are, however, studies that show that incidences of cheating occur at lower frequencies among online students than among students enrolled in traditional, on ground courses.

Regardless, our proctor staff is trained to follow a specific process in instances when they have observed what could be deemed as questionable academic conduct.  The most common form of questionable conduct our staff encounters involves the use of supplementary material not approved in advance by the course instructor.  This includes the use of websites and search engines beyond D2L (Google, Bing, etc), textbooks, cheat sheets, cell phones and smartphones, and other materials.

Our staff will do the following when they encounter questionable student conduct during an exam:

  • If the student is taking a computer-based exam, staff will (if possible) take a screenshot of the monitor image(s) the student was viewing.
  • Confiscate any materials (scratch sheets, index cards, etc.) the student has that have not been approved in advance by the course instructor.  All materials will be forwarded to the course instructor for review.
  • Exercise discretion (consulting the Administrative Specialist or Associate Director as necessary) in determining whether the student should be permitted to continue their exam past the point that questionable conduct was observed and approached.
  • Immediately communicate their observations to the Administrative Specialist and/or Associate Director for Distributed Learning.

The GA staff serving as proctors is trained to communicate any and all instances of questionable conduct to their supervisor.  The Administrative Specialist or Associate Director for Distributed Learning will then contact the course instructor to relay the observations.  At no point is a Graduate Assistant proctor to accuse a student of cheating; they are to tell the student that such a determination is a matter for the course instructor to review and decide.


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