Google Classroom is a great way to set and track homework, assign Google Docs, monitor student progress, and give feedback. But can it catch cheaters? If teachers feel like their students are cheating on an assignment or test, they have to rely on their own observations or trust that students are being honest. If Google Classroom can’t detect cheaters, what options do you have?
When you’re assigning work in Google Classroom, there are several ways you can reduce the likelihood of cheating. You might not be able to catch every piece of sneaky behavior at home or in the classroom, but you can use these tips to make it more difficult for your students to succeed through dishonesty.
Set due dates and times
Before students start an assignment, set the due date and time. This will make it easier to catch cheaters who submit work early. If a student finishes an assignment two hours before the due date, he or she might be tempted to send it in. If you’re keeping track of when each assignment was turned in and how long each student took to complete it, you can easily tell if a student cheated by submitting early.
There are two ways you can set due dates in Google Classroom:
- First, you can set the due date manually when you create the assignment. The other way is to click “Edit Info” when you’re looking at the assignment.
- Another trick is to set a due date for the assignment and then change it to the next day after students have already turned it in.
If you don’t set the due date for an assignment, Google Classroom uses the date you create the assignment as its due date. So, if you assign an assignment and don’t set a due date, it will be due on the day you create the assignment. If you create an assignment on Monday and don’t set a due date, it will be due on Monday, the following week.
Use the “Mark As Correct” feature
If your students are taking an assessment on Google Classroom, the “Mark As Correct” feature can help catch cheaters. When grading an assignment, click “Mark As Correct” to indicate that the student has completed that portion of the assignment. Next, click “Grade and Feedback” to view a list of all the grades you’ve awarded in the past seven days.
You can sort the grades by date, name, or the number of the assignment. If a student grades a single question, but doesn’t answer the other questions, you can click “Mark As Correct” for that question but not for the other questions. If a student is cheating, he or she might click “Mark As Correct” for every question because he or she is aware that you’ll see the grades for the whole assignment.
Don’t Announce Which Questions are Wrong
If you’re grading an assignment and you want to make it more difficult for students to cheat, don’t announce which questions are wrong. If you’re using the “Mark As Correct” feature, the only students who would know which questions you’ve marked are the ones who are taking the assessment. You can also hold back on sharing the list of questions with students.
If you don’t announce which questions are wrong, students can’t adjust their grades if they submit their work early. If you want to make it even more difficult to cheat, you can use a grading grid in Google Sheets. This grading grid will conceal the answers but also hide the questions themselves. If a student submits an answer for a question you haven’t graded yet, the grading grid will hide the question so you can’t see it.
Divide Long Assignments Into Smaller Pieces
If you have an assignment with several questions, the first step to making it more difficult for students to cheat is to divide the assignment into smaller pieces. For example, if you have an essay question, break the question into five or six smaller questions. If you have multiple short questions, students might be tempted to copy and paste the same answer for all of them.
Another option is to use an assignment as a single question. For example, you can use Google Draw or Google Drawing to make a single question.
Another option is to create a poll that uses real-time responses. You can also make it more difficult for students to cheat by breaking the assignment down into different stages. For example, if you’re grading a research paper, break the assignment into five or six parts. Students will have to finish each part and submit it before they can move on to the next part.
Require Students to Use Their Own Emails
When you create an assignment in Google Classroom, you have the option of requiring students to submit the assignment using their own email addresses. If you make this a requirement, students can only submit their work using the email address associated with their Google account. If you use this feature, you won’t be able to see the email addresses of your students. You won’t be able to see who submitted the assignment and you won’t be able to see who didn’t submit the assignment.
However, if a student submits an assignment but uses a different email address, you’ll know that the assignment didn’t come from that student. If you don’t require students to submit assignments using their own email addresses, you’ll be able to see who submitted the assignment. If you know who submitted the assignment, you’ll know who didn’t. You can also use this information to encourage students who didn’t submit the assignment to do so.
Check Assignments for Similar Words and Phrases
Another way to make it more difficult for students to cheat is to check assignments for similar words and phrases. The easiest way to do this is to use the “Similarity” feature inside Google Classroom. Click “Grade and Feedback” and then look at the “Similarity” link under the “Assignments” column. You can sort the assignments by date or by name. Select the two assignments you want to compare and Google Classroom will show you the number of words and phrases that are the same in both assignments.
If a student submits the same assignment again, you’ll know because you’ll see that a lot of words and phrases are the same. You can also check assignments for similar words and phrases using Google Sheets. First, make a list of the assignments you’re grading. Then, make a second column for the words you want to check. You can use a formula like
“IF(OR([Column 1] = [Column 2], [Column 1] = [Column 3], [Column 1] = [Column 4]), ROW()-1, “,”)”.
Offer Punishments for Cheating and Dishonesty
Dishonesty can happen in many forms. Cheating is just a way students can be dishonest. Thankfully, Google Classroom makes it easier to catch cheaters and other forms of dishonesty. Using Google Classroom, you can see which assignments each student completed and how many points they earned on each assignment. You can also see which assignments each student turned in and which assignments each student failed to turn in.
Can Google Classroom Detect Switching Tabs?
If you’re using G Suite in the Cloud, you can use Google’s classifiers to determine which questions students should be answering. Google’s classifiers are algorithms that are trained to recognize certain patterns. If you’re using Google Forms, you can use conditional formatting to highlight which questions students should be answering. You can also drag and drop questions to a different order if you want to change the difficulty level.
Another way to prevent students from cheating by switching tabs is to use the “Pop-Up Bubble.” First, click “Edit Info” when you’re looking at the assignment. On the “General” tab, click “Pop-Up Bubble” and select which question you want to display in the pop-up bubble. This will make it more difficult for students to cheat by switching to another tab.
Can Google Classroom Detect Copy Paste?
Unfortunately, Google Classroom does not have a copy-paste detection feature. However, it does have plagiarism detection. It can search for copied content and alert you if it has found it. This might not be as helpful as copy-paste detection, but it can be helpful if you are not sure if something is plagiarized or not. Plagiarism detection usually works best with shorter pieces. If you are submitting a lengthy essay, it may not be able to detect it. When using plagiarism detection, make sure to cite your sources! Google Classroom can’t tell if something has been copied if it doesn’t have a citation.
Even though there’s no software that can 100% detect if a student is cheating, using the tips provided above could help you curb or reduce the rate at which students cheat on your Google classroom assessments. You should also note that these tips aren’t foolproof, but can go a long way in helping out.
About The Author
Williams Alfred Onen
Williams Alfred Onen is a degree-holding computer science software engineer with a passion for technology and extensive knowledge in the tech field. With a history of providing innovative solutions to complex tech problems, Williams stays ahead of the curve by continuously seeking new knowledge and skills. He shares his insights on technology through his blog and is dedicated to helping others bring their tech visions to life.